Why do we keep saying “consumers”? Consumption is only a part of what consumers do! Now, they don’t only consume but they create, participate, curate. So I would prefer saying “people” or even “human” instead.
What we all know about new marketing landscape is people took over the control. And everybody is talking about the content and contribution which consumers create: User Generated Content. My question is; for an average user, what is the motivation to create a brand relevant content?
Lately I read the book “Advertising Transformed” of Fons Van Dyck, also the founder of Think BBDO. He mentioned a research which identifies the 4 main drives of UGC. They are;
Co-creation: This is more about feeling attached to the brand so you want to be a part of it via your contribution. It states all situations where consumers collaborate with company or brand. They are interested in because consumers regard themselves as a valuable and integral part of the brand.
Empowerment: Now consumers are in charge! Many consumers no longer want to be influenced by marketing and advertising, preferring instead to take control of decision making process. They use the internet and their own content as weapons to put pressure on the marketer and advertisers to take account of their wishes.
Community: This is more about belonging and socializing. UGC offers consumers the possibility to express themselves through sharing idea and experiences with the other community members.
Self-concept: People try to express themselves and distinguish themselves from others by the choice of brands they make. As Fons Van Dyck states in his book, “Self-concept builds a bridge between the imperfect ‘me’ of the present and the perfect ‘me’ of the future.”
Since marketers and advertisers run after UGC, it is important to analyze and build a road map to generate a positive process from consumer’s creative contributions and energy. It is great for a brand to team up with their consumers while creating engaging brand stuff. However it is also a ticking bomb which the brand has no control ever.
Brief should be brief.
A good brief is the key factor to get a good creative. Everybody agree with that, right? However a few really gives that importance in brands and agencies. What I often see is, briefs are written just for being written. Some people see it a boring procedure, or just a paperwork to fill in the blanks. Sorry for that.
Normally, a brief is a thought exercise. A reflection of the business problem, insights and understanding of the necessity. It requires a strong strategic approach and inputs for right communication path. Brief should be inspiring! Strong brands know this process and puts huge amount of energy to create the right brief together with their agencies. And they get the great creative accordingly, not a surprise.
Each brand and agency has its own brief formats, more or less the same. But approach is more important than the formats. Because formats don’t inspire great communication. Formats don’t inspire great briefs too. At the end of the day you need more or less these basics with insightful inputs;
- Key fact
- Business/Marketing Problem
- Key Benefit
However, this shouldn’t be an information overload. Brief should contain insight rather than lots of unnecessary information. Information should be filtered carefully. So distinguish the difference between orientation and brief! Most of time a paperwork comes as a brief, which is actually a detailed orientation to the brand with lack of simplicity, insights and direction.
A brief should really be brief. It is all about the famous saying; “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.”
This is the golden rule of creative process.
For conclusion I also listed some of basic questions from different brief approach of agencies, just to give an idea;
- What key business challenge dose the brand face?
- Describe the audience
- Why aren’t they doing what we want them to do?
- Why should they?
- Describe the brand character that we want?
- What must the solutions include?
- What is the question we need to answer to complete this assignment?
- What is the most relevant & differentiating idea that will surprise consumers or challenge their current thinking of the brand?
“Topicality” means up-to-dateness. Listening, realizing and adapting your communication accordingly. This requires a dynamic process and more flexible way of doing business, which is absolutely a big challenge for offline agencies where there is often long term plans, slower strategies and proven tactics. However clients, more than that brands, need agility and adaptiveness in new super fast media landscape.
So the offline models had to acquire digital skill sets to have “topicality”. But it is not enough. They need to shift the way they produce creative. I mean the creative process also needs to evolve to meet the new needs. It should be faster, flexible, out of box and always on.
People engage with people, not brands. They engage around particular mostly current topics. The internet has its own agenda. What brands should do is being a part of the conversation. That is why brands need to be “topical”. This is the only way to create an organic interaction with users.
Another important note, topical is currently of interest, the quality of being topical. So it is contemporary. But it is not a long-term reaction or positioning. Brands still need comprehensive, long-term and strategic communication paths. Topicality should be a reflex to be part of the ongoing conversation in line with the long-term positioning.
This year there are 41 different sub-categories under digital in Cannes Lions. Only this by itself, is a great evidence of how digital landscape is diversed and extended. As I always mention, creativity comes in many different forms and shapes in today’s advertising world. Be it an illustration, a motion graphic, a social platform, an integrated campaing, storytelling, use of video or a branded game. There are countless oppurtunities and connections. Below you can see the Cyber sub-categories.
Cannes Lions 2014 is over. My main interest is Cyber Lions of course :) This year there are about 41 different sub-categories under 9 different Cyber main categories. The most-crowded categories are Craft and Social, as you may guess.
I will share the outstanding projects of this year briefly, here we go:
Pharrell Williams – 24 Hours of Happy collected many Cyber Lions in different sub-categories such as user experience, interface & navigation, use of video, microsite, interactive video and overall aesthetic design. It deserved anyway.
The Scarecrow, digital campaign of Chipotle Mexican Grill, was another star of this year in Cannes Lions. The overall campaign got Cybers in Integrated multi-platform campaign, storytelling, animation & motion graphics and use of video. This campaign really showed again, how different moving parts a big idea can have, mainly digital components.
Live Test Series from Volvo Trucks of course was another hit of this year. The epic split, one of the series, quickly became an internet phenomenon. Te campaign got Cyber Lions in engagement platform, webisodes/series, integrated multi-platform campaign.
Check them out here: http://winners.canneslions.com/2014/interactive/index.cfm?award=1
A couple of my other favorite award winner projects are;
If We Made It from Heineken,
Speaking Exchange from CNA,
Melbourne Remote Control Tourist from Tourism Victoria,
Sweetie from International Childs Aid Organization.
Check all the winners;
In complex digital era, each type of creative agency needs “whole-brained” account people. It means they have to be talented both strategically and logistically. This is obviously a challenge but these 2 skill sets are vital for any client’s satisfaction, especially in emerging digital landscape.
Logistic skills are to necessary to build a great coordination among clients and resources. It is important to ensure a quality service, day to day operations and being the main client-facing function in the agency. This is more or less similar in lots of agency types for decades. Managing budgets, allocation resources, daily communications and reportings.. These of course have huge importance, but the fundamentals of this position.
The second skill set I believe, is the most differentiating part of an account person: Strategic skills. In complex digital media landscape, the account person should be competent of the new advertising dynamics. They should be a well equipped advisors for clients in the first place. Account person have to interpret clint’s briefs, with a deep understanding of client’s each marketing initiative. They are also the people who has to ensure the projects are done according to the client specification and on brief. Lastly, account managers of new era must definitely have a creative edge.
In digital creative agencies, another challenge of account people is to handle the complexity of digital assignments. That is where project managers are taking to the stage. However, account people still have to be accountable in project objectives, coordination, performance and effectiveness.
Since account management is a vital function of a creative agency, account management people have to raise the bar to be the best in such dynamic business.
We are huge video consumers. That’s why brands need liquid video contents to engage with audiences. But that doesn’t mean each branded video is viral!
First of all, each highly viewed video content is not viral video. Today with organized and well planned media investment, you reach pretty good results in video scores. Especially with the introduction of Youtube ad models, favoritely pre-rolls, and cost-effective pricing, you can have a particular display with your video. That is totally OK by the way, as long as the brand & agency are aware of that, and purpose of the video content. I mean each video hasn’t necessarily to be viral anyway.
But each video has a “Virality Effect”. Brands need to decide the expected virality effect of video in the briefing session. And it is more important to observe the organic wins on top of the media scores. But what are those organic figures? Here I list the major ones;
-The views gathered apart from media coverage
-Conversations in social space about your video content and reach
-Content curations from users, like spoofs, caps, re-posts, etc.
-Any type of interaction in brand’s social media assets
Keep in mind :)
Joseph Campbell’s iconic work Hero’s Journey is a master piece for storytelling. And it always work. Hero’s journey light the path of stories in Holywood and film-making industry. Today, with digitally empowered audiences, brands had to craft compelling stories too. But how?
Hero’s Journey is still the answer for marketers and creatives. Brands create stories. And their communications are like chapters. There is always a moral of story which storyteller wants to share. The moral of story is value of the brand.
The story begins with the HERO. Who is the hero in a brand story? Your brand? No! It is your audience. You only empower them to live their adventure and participate to your story.
What about the brand? The brand is not a hero, but the MENTOR. The mentor guides and inspires the hero to reach his potential and succeed. The mentor does not talk about himself, but tells how great the hero is. The mentor makes the hero believe and take action. Just as a brand does in an engaging creative campaign today.
The mentor also gives a GIFT to hero to help him/her in his journey. In communication that is actually the BRAND GIFT, what the brand will deliver.
To sum up, Hero’s Journey is still a beautiful guide to marketing people who needs good stories. And the foundations of storytelling is the right path to success in digital landscape.
Storytelling is the new “buzzword” among creative industry. But why? Let me give a quick wrap-up about that. Since the beginning of history people spread ideas through stories in an oral tradition. Ideas used to spread, change, evolve among people for years. Up until golden advertising age of 1950s where messages drived by broadcasting. In broadcasting era, people became consumers of ideas, there was only one-way dialogue, no oral tradition.
With digital revolution broadcasting era use over. Audiences again get the charge of ideas through spreading, sharing, curating them all over the world. It is the “digitally empowered version of oral tradition” In this new landscape what kind of ideas can survive, of course STORIES!
In my next post I will give some tips for good storytelling based on Joseph Campbell’s iconic work Hero’s Journey. The video above also covers the fundamentals.