Chevrolet recently debuted a hashtag-driven campaign, #THENEW, encouraging Chevy owners to share their definitions of concepts like love, community, success and family via social media. The accompanying 60-second ad, debuting during the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, highlights those updated definitions, featuring a diverse range of people with their families and friends.

Chevy’s Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney believes the series of spots help “break new ground.” And for Chevy, it does; but this shift is a result of social media revealing the presence and power of diverse audiences. By using digital personas, engaging audiences both on- and offline and crafting targeted content distribution plans, brands can expand their customer bases and appeal to new audiences.

Follow the money

Chad Pollitt’s October post “Embrace Digital Personas Now Before It’s Too Late” details how technology has helped outlier personas become more visible to media and brands. Traditional marketing has long targeted the “normal middle,” using a set of ostensibly common values to advertise to the general public. But the rise of inbound marketing has compelled brands to concentrate less on the narrowing middle and more on increasingly visible demographics and groups that demand more personalized advertising. 

What do those groups look like? Like the people in Chevy’s commercials: young and old, black and white, gay and straight and everything in between. And those groups can generate sales for both big and small brands. The buying power of millennials, for instance, continues to rise and stands at $200 billion; the LGBT community represents $800 billion in buying power; and the Hispanic market represents more than a trillion dollars annually. And by focusing on other types of demographics—lifestyles, hobbies, geographic regions and household configurations—both marketing agencies and brands can economize efforts and resources by pinpointing their desired audiences.

Tailoring content distribution

As the search marketing industry moves toward personalized and targeted content as a legitimate advertising tool, the ability to create and shape a variety of content distribution and promotion plans is becoming important. The ability to do this well depends on how committed a brand or agency is to research and audience engagement.

When it comes to research, all the data a brand needs is readily available through social media. Tools like Cision, Followerwonk and Buzzsumo can help brands uncover online conversations, the people having those conversations and the influencers who drive them.

Data is just one part of the equation when it comes to engaging current and potential customers: Chevy’s social media campaign depends, in no small part, on the participation of its drivers. Brands that ask their audiences to create and share content related to their products and services can help marketing departments save money and resources; they can also create powerful brand advocates.  And creating more than one content distribution plan can allow brands to appeal to a wider range of audiences.

Chevy’s latest campaign is more than just a reflection of the current advertising landscape; it also shows how marketing is evolving to accommodate customer needs. As the normal middle becomes less normal, consumers will want to see themselves in the products and services they use. Savvy brands will take advantage of this evolution and embrace diversity.