The Digital Consumer-Brand Gap

Digital media has opened up endless possibilities for involving consumers through new channels. Brands can touch consumers wherever they are, whenever they’re online.The challenge lies in leveraging these media to create a mutually involved consumer-brand relationship. Too often, brands distribute traditionally formatted messages through digital media. This creates a disconnect between how brands use social media and how users consume information on digital media.  This can explain the current irrelevance of most brands in the digital world.

A study released by 360i highlights how most brands are speaking in a language foreign to the digital sphere. Although expansive possibilities for consumer-brand conversations exist, most brands still talk at people.

Don't shout!

They take a traditional media approach by simply passing along information, instead of connecting with consumers in a meaningful way.  A dissection of consumer-brand interactions on Twitter reveals how irrelevant most brands truly are:

  • 43% of consumer tweets are conversational (@replies to other users)
  • Only 12% of all marketer tweets show active dialogue with consumers
  • Only 1% of consumer tweets that mention a brand are part of a conversation with that brand

In the words of Nigel Carr, “the measure of communication lies with consumers; they are the ones who will notice or not, become involved or not.” Messages in the digital realm don’t need to be more informative, persuasive or believable. Instead, they need to be more noticeable, more relevant, more involving and more effective (Goldman, 1995).

Conversation is remarkable!As advertisers, it is our responsibility to utilize digital channels in ways that are cognizant of consumers’ usage habits. We must understand how consumers use digital channels, how they consume information and what content is most relevant in a digital format.  My next series of posts will examine how advertisers can better develop remarkable digital messages, as well as how brands must evolve to maintain relevance on digital media.

360i. (2010). Twitter & the Consumer-Marketer Dynamic [White paper]. Retrieved from

Goldman, Debra. (1995, April 10). The Species. ADWEEK, 31-21.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s