Content Marketing

Allison+Partners releases first Social Discovery Survival Guide

New approach reframes how brands interact with customers in response to the rise of social and visual discovery

Allison+Partners today released its first Social Discovery Survival Guide created by the agency’s newly formed Social Discovery Squad, a group of subject matter experts from across the agency spanning social strategy, content marketing, influencer, platform and search expertise.

The trends report is based on surprising data that revealed approximately 40 percent of Gen Z shoppers now use social platforms like TikTok and Instagram to discover new brands and products, rather than typing keywords into a traditional search engine. All social and search platforms are now experimenting with new experiences in response to this shift.

The Social Discovery Squad is philosophically aligned, platform agnostic, and considers this shift in search behavior and how it impacts the entire customer journey in its recommendations. Experts from the squad can be deployed across any account based on client needs. “We are preparing for a future when the first, and perhaps the only, time a consumer visits an owned channel being at conversion. Or not at all,” said Cathy Planchard, global partner and president of Allison+Partners’ Marketing Innovation Team. “Social and visual discovery offers a more engaging experience, and often bypasses brand channels. If a consumer’s perception of a brand, and its products, can be entirely user generated, our clients need cross-disciplinary thinking to shape this disruption to their advantage.”

For brands seeking to engage customers at every moment in their journey, this trend means reconsidering and reprioritizing existing social listening, community management, paid media, influencer marketing, earned and social media, content marketing and measurement programs.

“Our 2023 client planning process led to many questions and eye-opening insights,” said Todd Sommers, managing director of Integrated Marketing. “Brands that had previously decided not to join a social platform realized even though they did not claim their handle on platform X, the brand is still on platform X. They just are not controlling, seeing or influencing the conversation about their brand. The visuals and volume are impossible to ignore.”

Today’s release of the Social Discovery Survival Guide outlines questions for brands to consider as consumers shift towards social and visual discovery. The guide is designed to prompt brands to evaluate business impact and MarCom program readiness.

The squad’s approach will continue to evolve as consumers across demographic groups increase adoption of visual discovery and each of the major platforms introduce new features. For more information and updates from the squad, contact or visit our microsite.

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