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What subjects drive consumer conversations?

Now more than ever, authentic grass-root conversations are becoming increasingly important in our socially conscious consumeristic age. Just look at the viral debate the other month, wheels vs doors. Pointless in substance, yet powerful in demonstrating how stories can start from a simple conversation amongst friends and yet still infiltrate mainstream and online media globally. The development of conversations like this prove that the art of conversation has not died, but instead evolved - blurring the lines between traditional channels and information flows.

Studying conversations

To help unveil consumers attitudes towards brands, and the characteristics of conversation that make a brand more shareable, memorable and trustworthy we surveyed 1,000 nationally representative consumers to inform M&C Saatchi TALK’s latest report - The Art of Conversation. These findings, combined with expert opinion from senior marketeers and audience thought leaders, allowed us to identify the subjects driving audience conversations, how these develop, and where they’re taking place.

It revealed that in a new era of communication, conversations have never been more important. In order to meet audience expectations and connect with a new generation of consumers, brands need to engage with people on the platforms and channels where they spend their time, and in the right way. Especially as our research revealed that 40% of consumers are more likely to buy from the brands that speak on issues that matter to them.

Key findings

With 82% of 16-24-year-olds saying their attitudes towards brands have changed since March 2020 and as a digital culture develops further, the size and scope of conversations are staggering. For example, in a single day, 720,000 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube, more than 500 million tweets are shared, and 200 million consumers will visit a brand’s Instagram page.

With this in mind, it’s important that brands have a comprehensive understanding of the digital landscape to effectively engage with consumers. By staying up to date with the latest trends and conversations, they can position themselves to effectively comment on them and have these grass root style conversations.

Stay true

Topicality is important for brands and consumers must be invested in the topics and issues being discussed - it’s about substance, authenticity, and relevancy. Whether it’s comical or serious, brands must remember the need to focus on issues that matter to their target market in order to engage with them effectively.

This is also applicable to the mediums of communication brands use for this engagement. The wheels vs. doors debate was able to permeate all forms of media, traditional and digital, creating relevant conversations globally, but sometimes a more targeted approach is required. Knowing where your audiences spend their time is critical. For example, Gen Z are six times more likely to use TikTok than those aged over 44.

Evolving discussions

By understanding the ways in which people communicate and have their authentic conversations, brands can ensure they are engaging on the right platforms and channels to ensure they build a stronger connection with their audiences.

By using the momentum of grass-root conversations, brands can show they are relevant, utilising the platforms where they spend the most time. The art of conversation is far from dead, it’s evolving to account for an increasingly digitalised world, and brands must adapt in order to meet the needs of an increasingly vocal generation.

Written by Sophie Newman, creative strategist at M&C Saatchi TALK

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