Digital strategist Kevin Ndinguri asks ‘How do clients and brands reach consumers among the clutter?’ This is the one question that we as a media industry get asked year in and year out. I do believe, though, that there are a few critical elements media peeps need to take cognisance of to get to the bottom of this question.
It is said that the average person is exposed to between 3 000 and 5 000 ads per day. These range from TV ads, radio commercials, billboards, signage, logos, mobile, desktop, social. The list goes on and on. In all this chaos of over-communication it is no wonder consumers have become harder to reach, engage with and convert.
Having said that, we are also in an era of media that has changed over the years and we find ourselves talking to consumers where those consumers are, right? It’s called engagement and though this may seem easy enough, specific targeting can be achieved. But even in niched environments we find we have flooded their senses with all manner of ads. I think this is where we have gone wrong as an industry.
Really, these days consumers are looking for more from brands across the board. Experiences are critical to getting a consumer to truly sit up and take notice of products or services. Additionally, experiences have become synonymous with the numerous articles detailing how to talk to a millennial audience. But, at the same time, millennials are now becoming older and the new Gen Z, as they are termed, are those that will form part of client briefs for the next few years. So today’s hot buttons may have to change, and soon.
However it’s not about Gen X, Y, Z and whatever will come next. No matter the audience, creating experiences for consumers has to form the key objective for media strategies. As agencies we need to develop strategies that look to immerse our given target markets into an experience of, and with, our brands. In this way we give consumers something to talk about, to share, and to remember.
These are the critical objectives for any communication campaign. Currently, most of this has been entrusted to experiential agencies to execute as a separate brief. Often it is unrelated to the bulk of the client’s media and advertising efforts. Now, I am not referring only to activations here. I’m talking about truly integrating platforms into one credible communication effort.
For example, Smirnoff Vodka partnered with Live Nation Entertainment (a live events company) to sponsor 26 of the biggest music festivals around the world. Result? The brand can now build stories (read content) about itself and about the artists, rather than just going and getting a famous musician and putting him in a 30 second ad.
While this specific execution was less targeted at consumers than it was celebrities and invited guests, it was a critical part of the bank’s launch campaign that was based on creating a ‘real life’ experience for those who may not have experienced what conditions others are faced with and how the blankets donated can make a difference.
Overall the key message here is that as brands and agencies, we need to start thinking beyond advertising in its traditional sense (and here I refer to online media as part of that mix, as this is no longer a ‘new’ communication channel) and more around how we can create experiences for consumers that we/they can share, talk about and remember. So build, create, innovate, explore, test, fail and learn!!
Have a look at this video :
I believe this example shows how brands are now required to engage in environments that are key to their target markets in really authentic ways. This may not achieve the same amount of reach they would get from a 30 second TV ad, but it is about being part of an experience that will live long in consumer’s minds; and no doubt spread through social media when it is documented by those taking part.
Bringing it closer to home, I was intrigued by an execution done by Nedbank for the launch of their 2014 winter campaign. The event, which was held at Melrose Arch, had an ice bed installation/sculpture which was used to simulate the type of conditions many of the less fortunate in our society endure during the winter months. The execution was also linked to social media with celebrities urged to get on the bed. They could only get off the bed once their fans and followers had tweeted #Warmerwinter. It was an idea that had all the right elements – entertainment, involvement, and engagement.
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