Rather than simply looking for ways to sell products, modern marketers push the boundaries of traditional advertising by emphasizing products' overall social relevance.

The change in consumer perceptions in advertising along with the rising importance of digital platforms continues to push the boundaries of the traditional advertising industry outside of its comfort zone.

No one can deny the advertising and media landscape has experienced significant upheaval over the last decade. Currently, consumers are more considered when making purchase decisions, and advertising strategies are no longer as effective as they used to be. In turn, brands are begging to standout as they respond to consumers who are looking for products with points of differentiation.

Today's brands are expected to take a role beyond just selling products. Consumers are looking for something meaningful that can be connected to fundamental human values. They invest in brands that are able to offer something good - not just to the individual, but to the community too. Attractive brands are those that appear to benefit humankind.

In short - today's consumers want relevancy. Brands can fulfill this demand by delivering products that are able to serve the greater good, and the sentiments of these advertisements should mirror this ideology. 

Here are two examples of brands that have achieved this.

Three Papas (China)

Chinese air purifier brand, Three Papas, was created by three fathers concerned about the health of their children, as air pollution is of particular concern to Chinese parents.

The product was initially launched on the crowd-funding arm of China's second largest business-to-consumer (B2C) online retailer, JD.com, in September 2014. Three Papas used key opinion leaders (KOL) to share the message on Chinese social media – specifically for endorsements on Weibo and WeChat, China's most popular closed communication app, to strengthen brand (Read more...). In one month, Three Papas raised more than RMB10 million (U.S. $1.6 million).  


This suggests that marketers need to dive deeper for real consumer insights, as this can lead to brighter communication ideas that can resonate with consumers. Advertisers can no longer expect smart consumers to just follow a brand on an outdated consumer journey.

Volvo Life Paint

Volvo's much applauded Life Paint campaign is another good example of advertising that surpasses traditional expectations. The project is aimed to make night cycling safer with a message disseminated through digital platforms, including video content on YouTube. 

The Life Paint reflective spray can be applied to metal, plastic, or fabric surfaces, and glows brightly when illuminated at night in vehicle headlights. This idea is an extension of Volvo’s brand values around safety, but takes it a step further by moving away from a conventional focus on the safety of in-car passengers only.

In conclusion, marketers need to evolve beyond the mindset of advertising for the sake of selling products - advertising must sell relevance. This concept, also known as non-advertising, means marketers need to know their consumers, understand their culture, and be in tune with the right mediums or channels for communicating non-advertising ideas.

When it comes to creating winning advertising campaigns for the current digital market, marketers need to step out from the outdated path-to-purchase journeys and walk in their customers' shoes. 

*Homepage image courtesy of Three Papas website.

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