Thursday, January 15, 2009

Taking the long view on brand entertainment

Recently, there’s been a lot of interesting discussion around the dichotomy between the short and long; between one off campaigns and an ongoing conversation.

I don’t agree that there isn’t room for social media marketing initiatives like the Whopper Sacrifice (233,000 odd people defriended at last count), but I’m definitely an advocate of longer term thinking espoused by people like Peter Kim, Mack Collier and Gavin Heaton. The kind that puts people, communication and social enterprise at the heart of business and builds value over time. Rather than the sort that relies on making a bit of noise every time a new flavour is released.

When it comes to brands creating entertainment, there are similar advantages in taking the longer term view.

The highlight of any marketer’s calendar is without a doubt, shooting the new TVC. There’s only one thing that’s sexier these days - making your own content.

This (along with staff turnover) is why marketing managers often want to launch a new campaign platform every year. It’s not because of ‘wear out’, or negative feedback from the trade, but because it’s the best damn part of the job. Compared to doing a sales roadshow, it’s a heap of fun and if it’s good, you can look smug at barbeques for weeks.

Obviously that’s not reason enough.

Marketers need to take the long view and build content platforms and entertainment assets that can evolve and grow over time.

This allows for innovation, experimentation and evolution; for fusion of content and product. It speaks to the reality that few get it right first time; that problems are rarely solved overnight; that learning is a constant and that big, bold ideas need time to sprout wings. For the beancounters, it can mean serious cost efficiencies.

Critically, it helps locate the asset at the core of business rather than quarantining it as a marketing plan output. And if done well, it can excite, engage and unite people across a business in a common goal.

Importantly, it enables the involvement of other people in story creation. This might be the contribution of the customer service team to the sales story, or the audience's involvement in the journey of a character.

Everyone wants to be known for something. So what do you want your brand to be known for? What asset might support that vision, lend it interest, connect people or maybe even do something nice for the world?

1 comment:

Mack Collier said...

Kate good post, thanks for the link! I think the long-term approach in any type of branding/marketing effort is tough to sell. Especially right now in this economy and in an increasingly 'show me instant ROI' business world. I think this is also why some companies are reluctant to experiment with social media.