New research from processing and packaging solutions firm Tetra Pak offers insights into a newly-defined digital community of early adopters and brand amplifiers called Super Leaders—and examines how brands can focus their digital strategies on engaging this new generation of influencers.
Through cultivating these relationships, brands can turn their industry’s most influential Super Leaders into brand advocates to spread messages, shape opinions and help build trust in products.
The report shows that third-party, user-generated content is becoming increasingly important, often more powerful than direct communications from brands. Super Leaders, who represent just 7 percent of the online population, pride themselves on creating this content. More than half (57 percent) of them write brand and/or product reviews every week, and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say they are more likely to do so after a positive experience. In addition, more than three-quarters (78 percent) expect brands to reply to their reviews and ratings, saying that interacting with brands on social media improves their opinion of that brand (79 percent).
The importance of engaging Super Leaders is reflective of not only our increasingly digital world, but also the changing consumer journey from a relatively linear process to a complex network of multiple touchpoints.
Consumers today search for product information before, during and after buying. They refer to at least four information sources pre-purchase, many of which are beyond the control of brands —all the more reason for companies to engage Super Leaders.
“Using new ways to reach connected consumers is especially important when you think of Generation Z,” said Alexandre Carvalho, director marketing services at Tetra Pak, in a news release. “They have been brought up in a digital-first world, and expect brands to communicate on their channels of choice. The age of passive, one-way communication is over. Brands need to adjust their communications and create more channel-specific, authentic and engaging content.”
In addition, the research demonstrates that packaging has an important role to play in consumer engagement. For example, digital codes printed on packages can improve transparency of traceability, allowing consumers to access information about the product right down to the source.
The package can also be transformed into a conduit for two-way communication where brands can capture specific, valuable data about their consumers as well as share more information about the product itself. The report includes case studies from food and beverage brands who engage Super Leaders and reach wider audiences.
“The digital package gives brand owners a direct link to the consumer through an important communication channel—the product itself,” Carvalho continued. “To make the most of this fully owned channel, Tetra Pak is piloting the use of augmented reality and other digital technology in our packaging to help our customers stay ahead.”