Meet Adam Ferrier. A consumer psychologist and a founding partner of Naked Communications in Australia.
A blogger (check out his work at theconsumerpsych.com) and a regular contributor to Australian TV and radio shows such as The Gruen Transfer, 10 News and ABC Sunday Nights. A man with a James Joyce “stream of consciousness” approach, who describes himself as completely disorganised. A former West Australian State Under 12 Chess Champion who fills his life up with things he enjoys doing and people he likes working with.
@adamferrier has just shy of 4000 followers on Twitter and recently posed the following question on the micro-blogging site, “Do brands need to stop trying to be famous and try making their consumers famous instead?”
Ferrier is a strong believer that previous one-way communication channels available to marketers have played a large part in the reason many brands put more focus on their own 15 minutes of fame, than that of their customers.
“The problem with brands obsessed with their own fame, is that they take their eye off the consumer and don’t understand who the master is. So if you forget who the master is and you focus on yourself internally and you don’t focus on what the consumer wants, then you risk becoming obsolete. I think Kodak might be a good example of that,” continues Ferrier.
While many brands are dipping their toes into social media and other forms of two-way communication in an attempt to try and shine the spotlight on their customers, Ferrier still feels there is a distinct lack of brands that are doing a good job of it.
As he says, “I think lots of brands are trying to stumble across it from time to time, and so when they do a promotion certain people who win those promotions might make those consumers famous for a little bit, you know in a relatively small sense, or when they offer something new those consumers might get a little bit of kudos the first time, but I think there are very few brands who are consistently doing it well and who consistently have that as a focus.”
According to Ferrier interactivity is a key component of a communication piece really resonating with consumers beyond the subliminal level, as he says, “I think interactivity is the key for successful campaigns … I think ideas that are interesting enough to make the consumer want to interact at some level work much more effectively than just passive one-way style communications that force themselves into the consumer’s head.”
Advancements in technologies such as Near Field Communications (NFC), QR codes, augmented reality, mobile integration and Bluetooth are having a huge impact on the way Out-of-Home media is consumed around the globe, which Ferrier sees as a great advantage for the sector.
“There is a massive opportunity for Outdoor media to be fully interactive, fully entertaining and give consumers experiences on a day-to-day level that they otherwise might not have. I think through the use of social media or smartphones, all Outdoor media is interactive and is capable of so much more than just being a static image in consumers’ lives,” says Ferrier.
“So if you have a piece of Outdoor that encourages interaction and for whatever reason the consumer decides to pick up their smartphone and interact with that message, that message or that idea is going to be much more engaging and is going to create much more affinity with the consumer rather than just a passive piece of Outdoor that the customer might decide to ignore,” he continues.
And with a public profile that is increasingly on the rise in Australia’s media and advertising sphere, when it comes to managing his own brand, Ferrier seems appalled and at the same time realistic about the concept saying, “I think the idea of self-branding is disgusting and really cringe-worthy. However, I think we’re all doing it to a greater or lesser degree without calling it that, because if we call it that we’ll all cringe so much and then we might not like ourselves [laughs]. But I think it’s becoming more and more of a necessity to stand out, but if you don’t have substance underneath that then you’ll crumble.”
Follow Adam: @adamferrier