Most brands have today a wealth of “tools” at hand with which they can captivate consumers – stories, games, humor, movies, apps, or educational materials, all showcased as alluringly as possible. Brands are beginning to understand that real friendships mean first coming forward and only then waiting for consumers to act. Before the internet, getting publications into people’s homes employed a lot of talent, a highly performing press corps and a delivery truck; success was measured in the number of sold copies and letters to the editor, and the target audience was segmented only in terms of age, education, and income.

Nowadays, publications use talent to find and create stories, and then publish them through their own content platforms on social networks, and track results by digital analytics. Today brands no longer only seek to “reach” as many consumers as possible, through an approach of the “let’s-make-the-introductions-now-and-see-what-happens-later” sort; instead, brands are choosing to build closer, long-lasting relationships and trust, by better understanding their customers and making sure they receive some degree of… personal satisfaction. At a time when people spend on average 417 minutes a day in front of a screen and 80% of smartphone users turn on their devices to get news updates within the first 15 minutes from waking up, they should be given something to make them stop, think, and better understand what makes them happy, what keeps them balanced or what helps them complete their inner self.

In 2015, the brands that want consumers to be happy and engaged will consider the customers’ time, provide them with the means to quickly obtain products and services when needed and will not waste a minute on mundane or easily accessible information. Moreover, capitalizing on their previous experiences and access to lots of information (some of it intimate) on consumers, brands will be able to anticipate their needs more accurately, and will fulfill their most diverse desires. In their turn, consumers will continue to expect brands to have a “soul”, to contribute to changes in people’s lives and society, and they will choose those brands that will best represent their own values and desires for change.

How will brands manage to make long-lasting friendships? By offering themselves, first of all, a true, open, sincere  friendship. By understanding what they and their consumers have in common, by keeping promises, by unwavering support, and… eventually by becoming irreplaceable.