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The Psychology Behind Why People Dislike Ads (And How to Make Better Ones)

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Global advertising spending reached more than $330 billion in 2019. And while companies continue to pump money into their ad campaigns, there’s still a daunting obstacle blocking its path toward success: people’s distaste for ads that are irrelevant to them and their interests.

According to HubSpot Research, 91% of people believe ads are more intrusive now compared to two or three years ago, and 79% believe they’re being tracked by retargeted ads. So, it’s not hard to imagine why people are pretty ad-averse these days. No one likes to feel like they’re just another part of some secret algorithm, another cog in the advertising wheel.

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Here at Wistia, however, we actually don’t think advertising itself is the problem. It’s not that all ads stink — it’s just that the types of ads many businesses are running make people, well, cringe. We’re not suggesting you give up on ads altogether, but we are suggesting businesses rethink the kinds of ads they’re making, and ultimately, what they hope to achieve by running them.

Think about the last time you researched a product you were considering buying online. Maybe you were on the hunt for the perfect pair of rain boots and ended up spending some time checking out a nice, sleek pair on L.L. Bean’s website. Next thing you know, you’re distracted by a notification on your phone. You open up the Instagram app, scroll the feed a bit, and then see an ad pop up from who else? L.L. Bean. The boots you were just checking out only a few minutes prior are now hanging out amongst photos of your friends and cute puppies.

Chances are you’re either creeped out and annoyed by the ad or pleased to be reminded to go back and buy those beautiful boots. If we had to venture to guess, we’d say most folks fall into that first bucket.

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Being followed around by a pair of shoes on the Internet for a few days is just one of the gripes people have with ads these days, but as it turns out, our aversion to ads has a lot more to do with psychology and our brain’s chemistry than one might think. As a marketer, understanding what turns people away can help you make better ads that actually engage and delight your audience in new ways. Let’s dig into the psychology behind why people hate ads so we can understand ourselves as humans a bit better!

“As a marketer, understanding what turns people away can help you make better ads that actually engage and delight your audience in new ways.”

As we just mentioned, retargeting can feel downright creepy and can easily rub people the wrong way when not done with care. The truth is, as humans, we don’t like to feel like our behavior is being tracked and analyzed, even if it is common practice these days thanks to digital marketing. When it comes down to it, advertising can sometimes feel like an invasion of privacy, or in other words, an infringement on our personal space.

In fact, two neurologists at the University of Caltech discovered there’s actually a structure in our brain that’s responsible for telling us where the limits of our personal space lie, and that’s the amygdala. The more time we spend online, the more the concept of personal space is translated from the physical to the digital. People want control over their own personal boundaries in their daily lives, and these days, that includes their online presence as well.

What you can do instead:

When ads feel way too personal, they can sometimes put people off from your product or service as a whole. Save retargeting for ads that promote your best, most valuable resources instead of hoping to just get your name out there with generic display ads. Once people give you an indicator that they want to hear more from you, whether they subscribe for a newsletter or watch a few videos on your site, you can feel more confident engaging with them again in the form of an ad that speaks to something they may be interested in learning more about (which isn’t necessarily specifics surrounding your product or features).

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Fast-loading websites and apps have conditioned us to crave instant gratification. We expect to get what we want and when we want it (which is usually, right now!). However, when surfing the web, digital ads get in the way of that goal, triggering feelings of frustration.

Can you recall a time where you were half-way through watching a video on YouTube or Facebook when a mid-roll ad pops up to just completely disrupt your experience? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Nothing’s worse than ruining an emotional moment between you and a video of a dog being reunited with his owner than an advertisement.

What you can do instead:

Don’t put your audience in an immediate state of distaste for your brand with a random advertisement that adds nothing to viewers’ lives (and actually, takes away from it). Instead of slamming people with ads about your product, we recommend businesses try to build trust and good-will instead with engaging, creatively-driven content. How can you go about doing that with ads? Well, here at Wistia we think that adopting a Brand Affinity Marketing strategy is the best way to not only get people to know about your business, but to get them to actually like your brand.

What is Brand Affinity Marketing?

In a nutshell, this is an approach to marketing where businesses create and distribute binge-worthy content with the goal of positively impacting the overall sentiment, perception, and value of its brand. By creating and advertising entertaining, truly valuable content to niche audiences, businesses can create an enduring relationship with consumers. But, there’s a lot more to Brand Affinity Marketing than that, so be sure to check out our four-step playbook for the full run-down.

Many brands have caught onto the fact that these days, people make purchasing decisions based on the connections they have with the businesses themselves through the stories they tell and the values they uphold. What do companies like Rothys, Avocado, Warby Parker, Patagonia, and Everlane all have in common? They’re devoted to their social missions, either as a core tenant of their business or just because it’s the right thing to do, and they showcase those values through compelling storytelling online.

“Many brands have caught onto the fact that these days, people make purchasing decisions based on the connections they have with the businesses themselves through the stories they tell and the values they uphold.”

Appealing to a niche audience and creating a positive emotional connection with them through storytelling is a far better use of those precious advertising dollars. Research shows that “ … positive emotions toward a brand have a far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.” Old-school display ads that encourage people to “Hurry up and buy now before it’s too late!” don’t make people feel the warm-and-fuzzies. In fact, ads that are bereft of any value, whether that’s in the form of entertainment or education, are a huge turn-off for folks who really care about the moral or ethical compass of the businesses they support.

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What you can do instead:

We think businesses should lean into creative methods of storytelling through content and ads that actually create a strong emotional connection with viewers. And lucky for us marketers, creating a strong connection with your target audience (remember those Dove ads that left people in tears?) can result in tangible business benefits.

We experienced this firsthand here at Wistia with our original series, One, Ten, One Hundred. This was a docu-series we created that showcased the impact that constraints can have on creativity, and while we received a ton of qualitative love for the series, we also saw some quantitative indicators of success as well. While the average click-through rate for display ads is just 0.05%, 1.7% of the people who weren’t already in our database and watched our video series created a free Wistia account. It just goes to show that with the right creative, you can make a connection with your audience and even turn them into customers (without making them angry).

Every day, more and more people experience banner blindness, which is a psychological phenomenon that essentially makes certain digital ads “invisible” to web users. This isn’t a new finding by any stretch of the imagination — it’s been well documented for over 30 years — and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Ads these days tend to look and feel the same — remember how long the Tasty-style overhead shot was a novel concept? Not very long. The ads themselves are old and uninspired, and thanks to the abundance of best practices out there, they all look eerily similar. These ads are pretty boring, and it turns out us novelty-seeking human beings aren’t fans of more of the same. Novelty makes us happy, and brain research has shown that a rush of dopamine accompanies fresh experiences of any kind, so just imagine what’s happening in the brains of your audience when they see a banner ad from your competitor that looks just like yours? That’s right … not much.

“Ads these days tend to look and feel the same. The ads themselves are old and uninspired, and thanks to the abundance of best practices out there, they all look eerily similar.”

What you can do instead

According to research conducted by HubSpot, “A majority of our respondents agree that most online ads today don’t look professional and are insulting to their intelligence.” Pretty intense, right? Respondents in this survey not only think that most ads today don’t look professional, but they also feel that obnoxious ads give people a poor opinion of the brands behind the ads themselves and the websites that allow them to be there in the first place. The moral of the story is that if you’re going to run a bunch of ad campaigns, you might want to be sure to put some real effort into actually making them look and feel high-quality.

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As marketers, the way we market our products and services through digital advertising has to change if we want to see success. Beyond that, the way we think about what our audience actually wants from us also needs to evolve with the times. When you combine the negative perception of ads held by most with a cluttered web, the downfall of digital advertising becomes all too clear. Now that you know the psychology behind why people don’t like ads, hopefully, you can set fourth down a new path that’s more beneficial for all — one that aims to provide value to viewers and treats audiences like the humans they are.

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2020 Video Trends & Usage: Consumption is up 120% During COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has completely shifted the way the world works — including how businesses function and how employees do their jobs. Here at Wistia, we immediately noticed an uptick in content creation and video engagement this March when the pandemic began to sweep the nation.

Now, several months into this “new normal,” we’re ready to pull back the curtain and share some data and trends from our platform in true Wistia fashion. After all, we do have a track record of being super transparent with our business decisions, successes, and even the occasional flop.

Below, we’ve outlined the top three trends related to video engagement that we’ve seen during the pandemic and tips for how to use this information to implement a more strategic video plan this year. All data referenced is compared to Wistia data pulled from the prior year, 2019. Let’s dive in!

Video consumption is more ubiquitous than ever — and our data clearly supports this trend.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw an 18% increase in hours watched per week from 2019 to 2020. Hours watched represents the average number of hours of video content consumed per week across all of our customers.

We started 2019 with an average of 2.2M hours watched per week. This increased to an average of 2.6M hours at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March of 2020, we’ve seen a year over year increase of 120%. The average weekly hours watched increased drastically from 2.6M to 4.6M — peaking at 5.7M during the week of April 27th.

This increase means that people are watching more video content on our platform than ever before.

Additionally, before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 31% increase in weekly video plays from 2019 to 2020. This represents the number of times a video was played in a given week.

The number of average weekly video plays was 1.6M at the beginning of 2019, which increased to 2.1M at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, that number has increased by 65% compared to the same time last year. This means that viewers are actively engaging with video content at a much higher rate than they were before the pandemic.

This increase in engagement has created a huge opportunity for SMBs to connect with consumers through well-marketed content. How can you engage your audience with video? From video voicemails for personalized sales outreach to teaser videos on social media — the options are only limited to your imagination. If you’re looking for where to get started, check out these 15 business video examples for inspiration.

Many organizations and industries have pivoted to relying heavily on video for communication and other essential business functions, which has leveled the playing field for SMBs.

Quarantine and work-from-home mandates have forced marketers and non-marketers alike to become creators and embrace constraints to produce great work — and many have realized that you don’t need a professional set up to produce high-quality video and audio content. Just look at Saturday Night Live — a highly planned and produced comedy show that pivoted to creating the entire weekly show from home.

Businesses have embraced these challenges with video content from home, conveying a level of authenticity that’s been quite welcomed. This trend of making video more accessible has led to an increase in the total volume of video uploaded to Wistia.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 42% increase in weekly video uploads from 2019 to 2020. This number averaged 121K at the beginning of 2019 and increased to 172K at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, the year over year increase has jumped to 120%. We’re now seeing an average of 280K videos uploaded to Wistia each week.

If you’ve been considering dipping your toes into the video waters, there’s no time like the present. Check out our free Beginner’s Guide to Video Production series to get started.

Small business leaders are some of the savviest and most resourceful leaders out there. When an opportunity comes knocking, they answer the door.

Before March of 2020, Wistia saw a 17% increase in weekly account creations from 2019 to 2020. This number averaged 2.9K at the beginning of 2019 and increased to 3.4K at the beginning of 2020.

Since early March, the year over year increase has jumped to 85%. We’re now seeing an average of 5K Wistia accounts created each week.

When signing up for Wistia’s services, a majority of small business leaders have noted they have more of a need to store and share videos since the pandemic began. These types of customers tend to be starting their video marketing program from scratch, recognizing that every business moving forward will have some aspect of digital engagement.

For example, SMBs can now host well-produced virtual events that are much more affordable and easy to execute compared to a live, in-person event. From small-scale webinars to large-scale conferences, we’ve seen the full spectrum of virtual events.

In addition to events, many companies are getting creative with how they reach their audiences. We’ve seen an uptick in sales teams using video as an outreach and communications tool versus in-person meetings. We’ve also seen creators of all kinds — school teachers, exercise instructors, entertainers, and more adopt a video-first strategy.

Creativity doesn’t stop just because marketers are working from home. As we create a new future, brands are in a position to reach their audiences in new and authentic ways.

Our data confirms that marketers are working harder than ever to create content that is appealing to their consumers–meeting them where they are through well-executed video content.

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How to Promote Your Podcast With Email

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When it comes to growing an audience for your brand’s new podcast, tapping into your email and marketing experience is the best place to start. If you’re building a new list from scratch, you can grow your email subscriber list by utilizing your existing marketing channels to spread the word.

On the other hand, if you already have an existing database of people who love the content you create, you can hit existing relevant lists while also growing a dedicated inventory for your show!

In this post, we’ll share how you can leverage your audiences differently and give you best practices for promoting your podcast via email. Let’s start getting your podcast in front of the right folks!

Your show’s subscribers are the folks you’ll email regularly about teasers, new episode releases, exclusive content, and more. These people are highly qualified because they have opted-in to receive news about your show! We’ll cover how you can grow this type of list where your podcast lives, on your actual podcast with a call to action, and across your social media channels.

Ask people to subscribe wherever your podcast lives

If your podcast is on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Overcast, you should include extra information about your show to help build a direct relationship with listeners. Profiles about the show hosts and guests, show episode notes, and full episode transcripts are just the beginning!

Including information on your website about your podcast doesn’t hurt either. Get creative and think of different ways to provide value, like with a show “starter kit” for new listeners or by including other content formats, like related videos and blogs, on the same page.

Be sure to focus on the value your show will provide your audience, and include an email collector for listeners to subscribe to stay in the loop about future releases, show news, and exclusive content.

Include a CTA on your show

Another great place to remind listeners to subscribe to your podcast? During your actual show! If you include a call to action at the end of your podcast, you’ll catch listeners who made it all the way to the end of your show — folks who are already super engaged and the most likely to want more. For listeners who found you on streaming sites instead of your website, suggesting the next step during your show might be the only opportunity you have to get them to subscribe directly.

For example, at the end of our new original podcast, Talking Too Loud, we say, “Listen to Talking Too Loud wherever you listen to podcasts. And hey, rate and review us wherever you listen. And check out more content from Wistia Studios at Wistia.com.”

Another example of a podcast including CTAs on their show includes How I Built This with Guy Raz. At the end of his show Guy says, “To see our full interview you can go to facebook.com/howibuiltthis. And if you want to see all of our past live interviews you can find them there or at youtube.com/npr.”

To sum it up, your CTA could be any next steps you’d like your listeners to take. Both of these examples don’t outright tell folks to subscribe, but lead people to places where they can discover more about your brand (and where they can take the leap to subscribe for more content).

Spread the word on social media

You should also use your existing social media channels to promote your podcast and find listeners who could lead to new subscribers. Use clips and content teasers to give people a taste of what your podcast is about — pique their interest! Social media is a great way to drive people to where your podcast lives and entice them to subscribe to your show.

Here’s an example of a Twitter post on Wistia’s account promoting Talking Too Loud:

Some social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn, even offer direct integrations with email marketing and CRM providers. These connections make it easy to build and nurture your lists without manually exporting and uploading contacts across platforms.

What should you send these folks?

Remember, email subscribers for your show are different from folks you include in your general marketing sends — it’s important to differentiate these sends and be hyper-targeted about your content. For the podcast email subscribers, focus primarily on promoting your show. To sweeten the pot, include exclusive content like behind-the-scenes clips and additional show content to this show subscriber list.


While you’re building a dedicated list of raving show fans, keeping your existing database informed is also important. Whether these marketing lists exist for product updates or blog content, folks in these audiences might also be interested in your podcast’s unique content.

Your marketing automation and onboarding sequences can be a great place to start plugging your podcast — just make sure you’re not promoting your show right off the bat. Showcasing your podcast too early or too often in your email campaign could distract and take away from someone’s learning experience with your product.

Here’s an example of a callout we used in one of our blog content email newsletters for The Brandwagon Interviews podcast. Since this was a more broad list, we kept this section short and sweet and allowed the creative to steal the spotlight and drive traffic to our podcast page.


So, now you’ve got a solid plan in place to promote your podcast via email. But what does a great podcast email look like? And what types of emails should you be sending for your show? Check out a few examples of emails we’ve sent to support our very own shows!

New Show Announcement

Build excitement and anticipation for your new podcast by sending out an announcement email. This is a great place to leverage your existing email lists — either by sending a dedicated email or by including the announcement in a newsletter-style send.

Alternatively, you could get ahead of the curve by collecting emails before launch and then send an announcement to your dedicated show list.

Here’s an example of an email we sent to announce Talking Too Loud:

New Episode Announcement

Keep your listeners in the loop on an ongoing basis by sending out emails for new episodes. These emails can be short and sweet. It’s also important to send these emails consistently to your audience. The email cadence for announcements should follow your show cadence. Showcase your show guest (if you have one), craft a compelling preview for the episode, and drive folks to listen.

Here’s an example of what we typically send for Talking Too Loud:


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5 Brand-Building Lessons from The First Audio Conference for Marketers, “Built to Last”

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What does it take to build a brand that stands the test of time? How do you make someone fall in love with your brand? Is it possible to build lifelong audiences and advocates for your business? There’s a good reason these questions still remain at the forefront of marketer’s minds today. And that’s because, in 2020, your brand has never mattered more.

That’s why we teamed up with Buffer to bring you Built to Last, the first-ever audio conference for brand builders. Throughout the event, attendees received exclusive access to a private podcast feed where we released six episodes over the two-day conference. Each episode featured lessons and key insights that can be applied when crafting memorable content and campaigns that build engaged audiences.

We heard from marketers and creatives behind some of the world’s most-loved brands and learned a ton of valuable lessons when it comes to building brands that thrive. In this post, we’re sharing our top five takeaways from the event. But we’re curious — what lessons did you learn? Be sure to share them with us in the comments!

Did you miss out on Built to Last but still want to hear what all the fuss is about? Good news: You can still sign up to access the podcast episodes on-demand right here.

Throughout Built to Last, one theme that consistently rang true for our speakers was the power of focus. From picking very specific target customers and understanding exactly how your business fits into their lives to prioritizing building a community and crafting super-specific content — when it comes to building lasting brands, focus is key.

Emily Heyward, Co-Founder of Red Antler and author of the book Obsessed — Building a Brand People Love from Day One, pointed out how important it is to consider the context of the world we live in today when it comes to getting people to care about your brand.

“Consumers have more choice, more information, and therefore more power than ever before. Think about how what we used to buy was controlled by gatekeepers. We were only able to buy whatever was available at the drugstore or the grocery store. We only learned about brands through national TV campaigns. Now we learn about brands through Instagram. We can Google exactly what we’re looking for and access niche brands that have millions of consumer reviews and are being written about on forums that contain people who are similar to us and have similar needs.”


Emily Heyward

Co-Founder, Red Antler

Emily recommended that brands come forward with a simple, clear offering right out the gate so they can spend more time focusing on what they stand for and what it matters, rather than getting bogged down by every detail of their product offering. This can help businesses more clearly articulate the value they bring to the table, rather than having to explain away a ton of complex features of variations of their product.

Ben Witte, Founder of Recess, a consumer wellness brand in the beverage industry, touched on a similar concept throughout his episode. He noted the importance of staying focused when it comes to attracting the right audience.

“I think you want to identify who you’re speaking to very early on. I think [Recess] is relevant to all age demographics and psychographics. But your content strategy has to be very specifically defined. And if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.”


Benjamin Witte

Founder and CEO, Recess

Another, perhaps, not-so-surprising thread that was woven throughout the conference? The marketing evolution from focusing on brand awareness to actually cultivating brand affinity. Businesses are doing this today by investing in high-quality, narrative-driven content like video series and podcasts (just like Built to Last).

Wistia’s very own CEO and Co-Founder, Chris Savage, spoke to this concept throughout his talk and explained how Wistia ended up on the journey towards creating this type of binge-worthy content with the goal of building brand affinity.

“We started to ask ourselves the question — we’ve been trying to go wider and get more awareness, but what if we go deeper? What if we go above and beyond for our customers and our audience members who are still engaging with us? What if we try to use the audience we have to grow an existing audience? How do we do that? And what we settled in on was we would go bigger on the scale of the content. We would try not just a blog post, we would try something much larger and more impactful and see how that would work.”


Chris Savage

Co-Founder and CEO, Wistia

As brands continue to build niche audiences of people who love their content and the experiences they provide, these people are more likely to recommend that business and share that content with the people they already know and trust. This creates an incredibly powerful organic growth for your brand, which Helena Hambrecht, Co-Founder, and Co-CEO of Haus, a modern aperitif brand, spoke to throughout her episode as well.

“Our theory was if we put 100% … 200%, everything we have into the product and the customer experience upfront, the customer will be delighted enough to share that experience and share it with their friends. Put everything that we can into the experience up front, and we will grow the word of mouth. Those were the bets that we made, and it worked. All of our growth — we grew a ton in the first six months — was 100% organic.”


Helena Hambrecht

Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Haus

“My biggest advice to our founders creating consumer brands is that your brand better have something to say.” Ben Witte shared some words of wisdom for brands during his talk that seemed to ring true for many other brand-builders throughout the conference as well, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise. After all, consumers these days are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on what a brand says, how it acts, and what it stands for.

Certainly, the pressure is on for brand-builders — why does your business even exist? What are its purpose and mission? Your values and what your brand cares about can play a huge role in shaping how your brand is perceived and the direction your business takes in the long run.

Madison Uttendhal, Founder of Utendahl Creative, a branding, content, and social media storytelling agency, highlighted why she believes it’s so important for brands to take a stand.

“In order to have returning customers and ones that are loyal to you, that have genuine brand affinity, it means that they really have to believe in you because they stand with your values. For me personally, as an African-American woman, brands that have taken stances on Black Lives Matter, on supporting marginalized groups, I’m going to continue to purchase from them. And I’m going to go out of my way to make sure I am purchasing from them rather than purchasing from a brand that isn’t saying anything at all.”


Madison Utendahlt

Founder, Utendahl Creative

Joel Gascoigne, Buffer’s Co-Founder, and CEO, also shared his thoughts on the importance of authenticity when it comes to building brands that stand the test of time.

“I do believe that modern consumers expect more transparency and authenticity from brands. I would say, in a lot of ways, they’re even demanding it. I think that they’re demanding that companies take a stance and become an aim to be a net positive for society.”


Joel Gascoigne

Co-Founder and CEO, Buffer

And last but not least, Helena shared some pretty telling insights around her modern aperitif brand, Haus, and some of the data they’ve uncovered around purchasing behavior. “I encountered a treasure trove of Nielsen data and consumer trends around millennial and Gen Z consumers and how they’re looking for something that alcohol wasn’t providing. They’re concerned about their health and their image, and they care deeply about authenticity, transparency, convenience, and quality. And you see proof of that in other industries that have been disrupted by more millennial-leaning brands that represent their values.”

Another trend that came up across several episodes was the idea that content is one of the best ways to showcase your brand. We’re not just talking about any old content though — a one-off blog post or Instagram Story won’t do. For brands to last, they need to understand their audience to the core and then create entertaining content that speaks directly to them.

Ben Witte called out brands like Red Bull, Gatorade, and Monster Energy, commenting on the fact that they are effectively media companies that monetize through “selling cans.” He also noted that the era of being able to launch a brand through ads alone on Instagram is over, and that “You should use paid as an accelerant, not to establish yourself.”

Chris Savage also spoke to this idea of creating and promoting content like a media company, just like Red Bull does with their extreme(ly dangerous) looking content. “With Brand Affinity Marketing — making podcasts, making video shows, and longer-form content — you’re making content that you are marketing like a product and treating like a product. And so just like when you’re doing product development, someone goes and asks customers, ’What do you like about this and what don’t you like?’ You just have to do the same thing with your content.”

Other speakers commented on the importance of solidifying your story and the content you are going to use to share that story, rather than focusing all your energy on racking up empty impressions. In other words, getting your messaging down and establishing what your brand is and what it stands for before you start hunting down exponential growth.

Madison also puts a finer point on the age-old quality vs. quantity debate. “I believe that quality wins over quantity any day. It is more impactful to have three posts a week that are beautifully done — thoughtful, intentional, informative than it is to have seven posts in a week that look half-hazard and a mess. Taking the time to create beautiful content and letting that project marinate so that it can be the best it can be is really important.”

Finally, and this one is sneaky because it might seem super obvious, but businesses need to remember that their audiences are made up of real people, just like them. An endless sea of demographic information, tracking pixels, and retargeting campaigns have made marketers forget just how important each individual in their audience really is. For brands to make it for the long-haul, they need to get back to the basics and remember what businesses are built on — people.

“In order for brands to make it for the long-haul, they need to get back to the basics and remember what businesses are built on — people.”

“I think that people like to forget that humans work in businesses,” says Chris Savage. “I think it’s kind of that simple. We talk about people’s job titles and we’re like, ’I’m trying to market to the VP of Marketing, I’m trying to market to the Director of Customer Growth and Acquisition.’ As opposed to, ’I’m trying to market to Kelly, I’m trying to market to Chris, I’m trying to market to Kristen.’ And they’re a person, and they watch Netflix, and they watch YouTube, and they have all these interests and all this richness. And their job is part of their life, and their career is part of their life, but they’re a human being. It’s just that simple.”

Thinking about your audience in this way can also help you unlock some of the core tenants of your brand. For Joel, Buffer’s brand evolved over time thanks to how they approached sharing the story of their journey as a business. “We always wanted to focus on sharing our journey, gaining insights by sharing a lot of the details of things we’re trying, things that are working, things that are not working. And so all of those things formed our approach and formed the brand.”

Madison spoke to the importance of building a strong community when growing a business and shaping a brand as well. She noted that businesses can’t lose sight of the fact that there are people behind every single dollar that goes into your bank accounts. “Ultimately, if a founder has the ability and balance to reach out directly to top purchasers, it’s a beautiful, incredible, and impactful way to build community and makes people feel that you see them and you value them for their loyal service.”

We heard from so many great speakers throughout Built to Last and took away a ton of learnings about everything from how to increase the lifetime value of a customer to unique tactics for creating thumb-stopping content on social media. But, believe it or not, there’s still so much we didn’t cover in this post.

If you missed this first-ever audio conference while the episodes were dropping live, don’t sweat it. You can still sign up to get access to all of this amazing content on-demand, right here.

And like we said before, we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below and let us know what jumped out to you throughout Built to Last. What new strategies are you going to employ at your business so you can build a brand that stands the test of time? We can’t wait to see what you come up with.



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