Last night I went along to We Are Social’s Moorgate offices to attend their FMCG Social Summit. I’ve never actually been to one of these before and was amazed by the turn out of keen creatives looking to get some insight to some of the social strategies cooked up by household brands. If you didn’t have a chance to go, you can still catch the presentations on the We Are Social Periscope, alternatively, I’ve rounded up a few key messages for your information.

On arrival, we were greeted with pizza, wine, brownies and a little box of Emojios (aka popcorn) which I unfortunately didn’t have a chance to grab but the box design included helpful stats about our social media behaviour.

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First of was an insightful talk from We Are Social’s own Charlie Cottrell (Head of Editorial) who explained that consumers today are unreasonable:

They’re Vocal – willing to shout out and brag about their experiences whether it’s been good or bad

They’re Time-Poor – always on the go and strive for efficiency

They Desire to be in control and track data

They’re Impatient – They use instant messaging with friends and colleagues and expect this from brands also. How can brands offer more choice and faster?

They’re Lazy – Speaking on the phone to customer service is too much of a feat nowadays. Digital interaction with as little to think about as possible is what they need! People are biologically programmed to want it easy.

They’re Socially Aware – They’re on many platforms and easily reachable by their friends

They’re Willing to Pay – Cheapest price doesn’t always win as the unreasonable consumer will pay premium as they are… wait for it

Emotionally Driven – Keen on how a brand makes them feel and how it makes them look in terms of status or desire.

They’re Tech Savvy – Constantly on the internet, constantly connected and constantly engaged by their smartphones

They’re disloyal – They love trends and will not think twice about bouncing from brand to brand if they have been emotionally targeted.

Charlie continued to say that brands now have to stand for emotion or stand for service in order to stay innovative. She stated that “People have got used to celeb-style service and they’re not going back. We have to move forward to service this ever-demanding consumer.”

Next up was a Keynote from Keith Weed, CMO at Unilever. He focused on Social with Scale and shocked us all with the fact that Unilever serves 2 billion people in 190 countries! Keith went on to elaborate on “how does a soup and soap company connect at scale in social?” He also highlighted how fast paced this industry is by describing that twitter didn’t merit a meeting 6 years ago and his Facebook playbook from 3 years ago is now worthy of being in a museum!

Main takeaways from Keith were:

Connect with Authenticity – People have great bullshit filters. Nowadays brands have to earn people’s connection

Engage with Relevance – When the wrong ad is served to you at the wrong time, it can be fatal to a brand.

Innovate with Talkability – Brands need to experiment. Failure is where you learn the best lessons

A couple of tweets from attendees questioned Keith’s examples of video used on social platforms. Although these were powerful, they struggled to see the social aspect to them. Keith had a lot of questions at the end so these queries unfortunately didn’t get answered but would love to know others’ thoughts?

Next up was Claire Jerrold, Digital and Social Media Manager from Heineken who quickly shocked the room by claiming that alcohol consumption is declining (WHAT?!) A few other insights told us that simply starting to serve cider with a glass of ice completely revolutionised the market by opening it to new consumers.

She also spoke of an interesting model where they take 5% from all brands budgets and use it for innovation. This becomes a dragons den style slush fund that brands can pitch for to test new ideas.

Claire finished with a nice little nugget, “Put the consumer at the heart of everything”.

Next up was Jerry Daykin, Global Digital Partner at Carat who had a great talk on the real strengths of social in the context of marketing. We had some great snippets from him including “Content is not King, it’s an elected president: you need to make it look good and a lot of money to back it up” He also explained that new social algorithms concentrate on content quality which is why your rubbish “read me” content is at the bottom!

He finished on this amazing stat which highlights why it’s important to remember the passive unengaging consumer.

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Kassy Dignan, Digital Marketing Specialist at Britvic then took to the stand to discuss the lessons learned from the latest sugar tax scandal. Interestingly, although the brand has tried to address sugar intake in the past, they found that their customers did not appreciate being told what to drink. Britvic has suffered fallout from the latest government announcements however in hindsight the brand recognises that they should’ve done more on social media to prepare customers.

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Finally, Dan Burdett, Global Brand VP at Mars took the stage to remind us that the most important thing about marketing is sales. He had a great analogy of the digital rat race that highlighted how a brand’s story has to be distinctive of its campaign. A stark reminder that all socially aware brands have to be real, relative and fun.

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