Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Mumbrella Retail Marketing Summit which brought together a collection of Australia's greatest marketing minds from some of the most successful brands.

One session in particular that stood out to me was The Content Connection: How to Leverage Disruption and Consumer Needs in FMCG and Retail by Matt Allison, Managing Director, Ubiquity and let me tell you why.

He posits that 'yelling' (advertising) breeds apathy and distrust in a brand, and I'd have to agree. In fact, when I found out that 69% of people don't trust advertising, I honestly wasn't surprised.

Herein lies the problem in question. How do brands create meaningful relationships with customers and then monetise them?

Brands often think of their products as the endpoint. But what they should be doing is thinking of them as the entry point for storytelling. After all, customers don't care about products, they care about their needs and if a brand doesn't meet those needs then they're irrelevant.

In fact, 74% of people wouldn't care if a brand disappeared from their life

So how are brands remembered?

People are social beings—tribal by nature. It's in our DNA to cling to the things we care most strongly about. So when a brand takes a stand for something their customers truly believe in, the brand is remembered, not for its products or services, but by its purpose.

Brands need to also ask the question: what role do we play in customer experiences? Matt spoke about the outdoor clothing brand Patagonia for an example. Patagonia's whole brand is built around their mission statement, "We're in business to save the planet," which you can read in full here.

Patagonia will always be remembered as a company that stood out for its purpose, not it's clothing. 

Brands need to position themselves at the nexus between customer, purpose, and experience. But it's connecting these three things together that poses the challenge. So, how are brands like Patagonia doing this so well?

Once a brand finds its purpose, it needs to fuel it with a content strategy that connects with its customers. This is where utilising owned media platforms and integrating experiences across all channels can ensure the brand is connecting with its customers—or audience. (I mean, at this point, we really should be referring to them as an audience.)

Using content as a conduit between brand purpose and audience is the key to staying relevant and in the minds of customers. Digital disruption is no longer disruptive, but disruptive thinking in how brands connect with customers is.

Don't focus on selling products, focus on telling a story.