Brands across the globe are leaping at the opportunity to make use of new technology and mediums to showcase their products and services.
Augmented and virtual reality, gamification, animation and high-end 3D content allow consumers and clients to immerse themselves and connect with brands in ways never thought possible. More importantly, content and experiential marketing campaigns allow the brand narrative to be turned into measurable calls to action.
Despite the opportunity, branding and marketing professionals are completely missing the boat when it comes to delivery. And, as a result, are left with a skewed idea of just how useful these campaigns can be, if executed properly.
Lay the foundations
Far too many companies think that they should be creating individual content for specific channels. Whether it’s high-end 2D or 3D content, animation or video, you must start off with high quality content. The base of your campaign has to be in place with the proper creative output. Once this is done, you can pick and choose your channels, be it VR, a TV commercial, a clip for YouTube, or a brand illustration for a print magazine. Once you have beautiful content, you can add the innovation to it. With solid planning and good processes, you can produce excellent content, even with budget constraints, and you can re-package it through multiple channels, extending your reach and efficiencies. It’s just good business practice.
Don’t underestimate the tech
We’ve worked on a few really big events where the content was perfect, but when it came to the day, the technical delivery wasn’t aligned with the content and ended up impacting the experience and the objectives.
There have been instances where high-end VR campaigns fell short because too few headsets were available and where 3D experiences did not have the correct hardware support. It’s vital the delivery of your campaign is supported by appropriate technology.
Find an agency or studio that understands tech and content
It’s important that companies looking to use newer technology work with a studio that understands both the content production and how to execute the technology. Working through multitudes of suppliers, each performing in their niched fields, can lead to mistakes. Working with agencies and studios who, themselves, have an experienced collective means you are guaranteed a great execution, without having to vet each supplier yourself.
You can count on the fact that the technology is only going to get more complex. We’ve spent some time speaking with the phone and headset manufacturers and they are focusing heavily on the ability to handle reactive content. When it comes to mixed realities and gamification, this will add a new dimension of complexity, from content production all the way through to technical execution.
Set up your lines of communication
If you are going to go the route of multiple suppliers, make sure that each supplier is fully appraised of the objectives of the campaign from start to finish. This includes the budget breakdown. Getting your teams around a table at the beginning of the process means you will pick up potential challenges and you will have a chance to recalibrate the process before costly mistakes are made. We have also noticed that some agencies load their teams with creative specialists and spend far too little effort ensuring the technical expertise is on board. Balancing your team strengths means each part of the campaign will get sufficient input. Every campaign needs to start with the creative, but it’s about delivering to your business objectives, not just winning awards.
Managing time helps with managing costs and efficiencies
We have been on the receiving end of last-minute requests far too often. Either because the previous agency was not able to deliver on the brief, or because the time required to gamify or set up mixed reality campaigns was simply not factored into the delivery.
No matter how far we have come in tech advances, our industry is still skills-based and requires human intervention. If we are given a job which should take two months to complete in two weeks, one of two things will happen: your costs will shoot up because we will need to assign dedicated teams to complete the job; or you will end up with a sub-par product as we try deliver on time and in budget. We have walked away from work with poor time and creative constraints. Sub-par work doesn’t just damage our studio, it damages the industry as a whole.
Working with partners who understand the entire lifecycle of production, from the creation of exceptional content, to the delivery of a high-quality end product, will set your company up to truly experience the business benefits of the vast array of new technology out there.
Werner Uys is head of Lucan Visuals, a Cape Town-based studio focusing on animation, design and live action for traditional and experiential channels.
Image: Lucan Visuals instagram