Why brands need to stand out, not fit in, on social

In the battle for attention, brands who choose to entertain audiences rather than mimic the production values of socially native content will ultimately win, says head of We Are Social Studios Dan Keefe

Not too long ago, in the days of TV dominated advertising, brands would produce professionally made 30-second films explaining why people should choose them over their competitors. They may have differed in style, function and effectiveness, but they more or less all shared the feeling of a corporation speaking to its potential customers. Everyone knew where they stood.

With the passing of each new dominant social media platform, this dynamic has gradually dissolved. Brands now present as people, using chummy language, sharing memes and sending jibes to their competitors. The increasingly splintered content landscape gives them a direct line into culture and consumers, who in turn present themselves as brands. Authenticity has become currency in the battle for relevance.

For the most part, this works well. It’s the reason that influencers, creators and user generated content are particularly popular. They enable brands to deliver their message authentically, with the safety in distance that’s created by the involvement of a third party. It only takes a quick scroll before you come across an ad filtered through the lens of influence. The content itself can reflect the visual language of users too; Apple know that audiences will engage more with images that were #ShotOniPhone than content they shoot themselves.