What does active listening mean for brands…and why does it matter?
We’ve all been there. We are immersed in our brands and rightly so!  But that means we wrap ourselves up in the narrative we create, and get caught up in our very own echo chamber. We hear what we think… what we believe. And, it becomes second nature to assume everyone else is on the same page. But here’s the reality check – just because we’re familiar with our message, doesn’t mean our audience is. And if we find our creative vibe growing a bit tired, it doesn’t necessarily mean our audience feels the same. Listening to our echo chamber,  it seems, is a trap that’s all too easy to fall into. We’re so entwined with our brands, it’s simple to think everyone else is too. But our audience? They don’t see it quite the same way.

The assumption that our intended audience is as involved as we are? That’s an assumption that is dangerous.

So, how can we stop ourselves from assuming?

The long and short of it all is simply stated. We need to engage in active listening. And there are lots of tools to do just that.  In order to actively listen we need to have a genuine understanding what our audience wants. Actively listening provides us with all the answers…we just need to be open and engaged to act on the information that is given to us, by them… for the brand! I know I say this over and over,  but can you say research?!

More importantly, we need to assess the brand’s message and how we, as marketers serve it up to audiences. Is it crafted into messages the brand’s audience wants to hear? Is the brand message delivered in such a way that resonates with the audience through stories and authenticity that they will find compelling?

Talk to them by simply listening.

Audiences in the year 2024 are diverse, and that’s putting it mildly. A broad spectrum of people with varying interests and preferences means we can’t rely on a single, catch-all message. What’s required is a deeper understanding and an approach that speaks to the different segments of our audience. Active listening and tailored messaging are fundamental for success.

With all the tech tools we’ve got these days at our fingertips, we’re far from supposing… or assuming.  It goes without saying that social media, analytics, big data – they’re more than just industry jargon; they’re our roadmap to the minds of our audience. The key to harvesting this goldmine of data and information is to make decisions for the brand that speaks meaningfully to its intended audience. To keep it human. That is a must. Audiences (your consumers)  aren’t interested in your brand, or any brand. They want what speaks to truthfully to them, in a way that makes them feel good and that means brands that are transparent, genuine, and have a heartbeat.

Speak to them about what they value.

How do we build those connections? Well, here’s that word of the year 2023: authenticity.  People aren’t interested in the brand’s market share or profitability. As a matter of fact, I would say that the contrary happens. Audiences don’t value those types of brands. Today’s audiences want brands that stand for real values.

As brand marketers it really isn’t about only making the first impression right. It’ about continuing to always getting it right. We’re talking less shouting from the rooftops and more heart-to-hearts. Less assuming we know our audience’s perspective and more getting to really know the people we’re talking to. Suffice to say, we need to engage and make room at the table for a two-way conversation where both the brand and the consumer feel seen and heard. That’s how you build brands…by building communities.

So let’s quit the marketing echo chamber and embrace all the marketing platforms that are available to us out there. Making the most of the tech tools that are available, and keeping it real, is the only true way to market a brand. It will make sure that your brand doesn’t just talk, but speaks volumes.  Putting our audiences first is the only path to success that will allow us to build bonds and communities that stick around for the long haul.

Have you been a victim of your own echo chamber?