All posts in media

  • why does good digital have meaning?

    I recently saw a very interesting TED talk about the meaning of work.  Dan Ariely spoke at TEDx in Rio about why human beings need and desire meaning in what they do to do their best work and ultimately innovate and inspire change.  If you haven’t seen the video yet (you still should watch the entire talk) he runs several experiments centered around having individuals complete tasks and showing them different reactions after the work is completed.  It turned out that the groups where someone reviewing the project after completion showed some sort of acknowledgement or care, were far more wiling do more work.

    I believe that in addition to seeing meaning in our work, there is a close connection here with empathy.  If as an employer or boss you can’t empathize with the work that you are assigning to someone, then it is very likely that the person will not have the drive to do it well (because they won’t find much meaning in what they are doing).  Obviously there are going to be tasks that simply need to get done and carry little meaning, but even on those tasks it is very important to acknowledge completion and compliment (or judge) the work.  By actually looking at results, or the completed task, you portray importance, which certainly helps someone create meaning in what they are doing.

    In the digital world, I think it is very important to look at overall campaign and brand meaning to establish a successful message or story.  As good advertisers we often sound like a broken record in saying that the story or the message is the most important aspect of the communication piece (whether digital or traditional or even non-traditional), but it is very true.  The story is what creates meaning with the customer and creates a connection that otherwise wouldn’t have taken place.

    With digital you have even less time than ever before to create meaning because there are so many crappy digital advertisements.  If you can create relevance through a combination of excellent creative and specific targeting then you have an opportunity to create an excellent campaign.  At AZDS we have been working with Chango (a search remarketing company) on a campaign for a couple of our clients.  The philosophy is quite simple, but the tactics and strategy are fare more complicated.  We are combining search remarketing (customer acquisition), with traditional remarkerting, with FBX (Facebook Exchange Network).  We are using specific search history to target relevant users with elegantly designed creative.  New customers (that previously haven’t interacted with the brand/visited the website) are being targeted and acquired based on their Google search history, and then repeat customers or customers that have interacted with the brand in some way, are being remarketed to based on their interests and level of connection with the brand.  This sort of specificity and detail is what adds value and creates a level of meaning with a growing audience.

    A similar strategy  is even more powerful if you can establish different creative based on purchase stage (where an individual is within the purchase funnel) and or create connections with personalized creative taking interests and other personal information into account.

  • the relevant content game

    As marketers we always have a buzz word.  Right now that word is clearly content, and I don’t foresee it going anywhere for a long time.  And frankly, it shouldn’t.  I’m not going to be directly talking about the methods of content marketing in this post, because you can read more of what I have written regarding content creation in the past here and here.  Good content that is relevant, accessible and representative of the brand is key to selling an experience or a product.  People relate to stories, and therefore if you can share stories with them that relate to experiences they have had, then you can create connection, which is obviously an age old method of marketing and advertising. And I suppose that it all comes back to empathy (for your customer), which I will blog about separately soon.

    We are creating a content delivery portal for one of our luxury hotel clients.  We need to create content delivery that is dynamic, sexy, insightful, and drives users to the content they are looking while still guiding them into “what they should be interested in” from a business perspective (converting someone into a customer).  We also want to ensure that the site is always new and interesting.  The challenge with a project like this is that the content creation cost can be quite high.  In the print days people were more forgiving.  For example if an article was a month old, it was fine because the content was printed and therefore could become dated.  With digital delivery, an article that is even a week old can be unacceptable.  People demand relavent content, on demand, that is new on the point of delivery.

    Good content doesn’t have to be expensive, but I certainly understand the challenges that go along with creating good content.  Even if you have a writer or copywriter on staff, it spreads your resources even thinner.  Because of this, I think the best strategy is allowing for guest writers, and contributed content within the sector.  For example with luxury hospitality there are many great bloggers that would love to write guest columns and contribute content to other relavent sources (especially if that work is for a sophisticated brand).  There are some resources like Blogger Link Up, which can put you in touch with bloggers and vice versa.  It is also powerful to use brand ambassadors to contribute content and relavent topics within the sector.  For luxury hotels this could be luxury clothing, cars, real estate, wine, food, jewelry, etc.  One important key is that you don’t want to veer too far away from the purpose of the content.  Was the platform created for guest acquisition or for purely branding.  It is fine to have overlap, but it is key to understand the mission and purpose of the content that you are delivering.

    I think Standard Culture (below) does a great job of delivering relevant, interesting content that inspires reaction.

    Standard Culture

    What I love about Standard Culture is that it isn’t just a blog, but rather an entire content hub.  It communicates the Standard brand so well within interesting stories, interviews, and media.

    Our goal for the content delivery platform that we are building is to create an interactive portal that communicates experiences, memories, and communicates what it is like to be a part of this luxury hotel brand (and the lifestyle that it represents).  If we can create a mix of published content, happenings, and relevant brands (and sew it all together in a superb interactive experience), then I believe we will have created something extraordinarily valuable.

  • carrying out brand communication

    From a digital perspective, carrying out a brand’s vision is very different than doing so with traditional media.  The attributes and message of the brand are very much the same, however with an interactive outreach people expect content to be as current as possible, and also more importantly personalized to their tastes/interests/relevance.  Therefore carrying out the vision and goal of the brand must be done in far more detail in the interactive experience vs. traditional promotional materials.  I think a great recent example of this is the re-branding campaign for American Airlines.  When I arrive at the new American home page I am immediately impressed with the overall user experience, use of negative space, bright and vivid colors on top of the clean white background, and most importantly the personalization effort.  I am greeted with my local airport in the departure box (nicely personalized) with simple login abilities and just a very intuitive overall UI/UX.

    I am also impressed by the HTML5 slider that describes the revitalization of the brand (see below).

    When you dig further, the video content is decent (a bit too long in my opinion) and there is significant rich media with social integration.  I’m not sure that the social integration is going to spur viral interaction, but I think it was well planned and executed very well.  The social attributes again are personalization of the brand, which are exclusive to the interactive experience.  The tablet and mobile experiences are also well executed and provide relevant content that isn’t overwhelming (adaptive content).

    I think if you look at traditional brand redevelopment you would see media that represents the new brand and how the brand/agency wants you to interpret it.  The real difference here with interactive content, and what I feel is most critical, is that the brand can sculpt its image, yet it allows the user to communicate with the brand based on a personal relationship.

  • can social media sell soap

    If you missed it, there was an exceptional editorial in the NY Times on January 5th.  It was entitled, “Can Social Media Sell Soap?”

    The article engages us in a number of interesting paradigms that are currently prominent within the marketing world.  Social media as a channel allows marketers to communicate directly with their customers on a very personal level.  Because of social, people are now expecting the messages delivered to them to be very personal.  My belief is that our future will involve purely customized and personalized advertising that is specific to our interests and wants.

    If you think about it, this has been happening for years.  When you shop at a grocery store and provide them with your club card it is noting and filing all of the products that you purchase on each particular visit.  Their coupon database generally then creates offers that are relevant to your tastes (in fact if you usually buy Philadelphia Cream Cheese for example, they might try a coupon for a store brand cream cheese to get your business).  They provide coupons for very similar products.  This is strictly personal marketing.

    With TV and outdoor advertising everything is already becoming more and more personalized with the ability to “Shazam”  certain advertisements to provide the user with a personalized digital experience to go along with the story or message from the TV commercial.  This Super Bowl should be a great example of personalized TV advertising.

    If people are tired of advertising, it is because they are bombarded with generalized, over communicated, over commercialized, non-relevant messages.  Advertising that is personal, based on our tastes, interests, and desires is the type of advertising that isn’t invasive.

    Another important note regarding the topic is that metrics or measurement that goes along with advertising is changing immensely   We currently measure effectiveness of advertising with a yard stick from the past (because that is the only way we know how to measure the effectiveness of a particular advertisement).  But with social this simply doesn’t make sense.  Social media is creating an environment where we are changing perception gradually and interacting with customers on a very personal level.  Why do we need to measure engagement or direct ROI for something that is “speaking” with our customers at a very personal level?  We aren’t advertising anymore.  Rather, we are conversing.  If the conversing is done correctly, and in that I mean “social in nature” it will boost revenue, sales, and brand awareness/sentiment.