As consumers eagerly gravitate to try the shiny, new toy (virtual reality, chatbots, livestreaming, etc.), marketers naturally attempt to use these digital tools to connect to their target audiences. While this has worked for some brands in the past, it isn’t a guarantee for future success.
While it’s impossible to say what types of platforms will sweep consumers’ imaginations five, 10, or 20 years from now, there is no question that the most successful digital campaigns will follow these best practices, regardless of the underlying technology.
Start With The Story
Every successful campaign starts from a single idea or “napkin sketch.” You cannot create an engaging and compelling campaign without a strong story.
As marketers, it’s our job to ensure the story aligns with a brand truth, a consumer truth, and a cultural truth. At that intersection, you’ll find a story that focuses on the humanity and individuality of the audience—and one that your brand is qualified to tell.
Be Aware Of—But Not Obsessive About—The Newest Technologies
Once you have the story, then you can pinpoint the right technology platform to bring it to life, one that will be true to the point-of-view and emotional resonance needed to connect with people.
Historically, advertisers were all competing to master storytelling via the TV commercial. Today, so many more mediums share their messages. This is both a blessing and a curse. Marketers have more options as far as when, where, and how they tell their stories. But because of the sophistication and complexity tied to understanding the mechanics of so many digital platforms, it can be overwhelming and easy to get caught up in the “cool factor” of the platform du jour.
Consider virtual reality. VR is unlocking some truly amazing experiences for people to escape into worlds beyond their imaginations. As designers and marketers, it can be easy to get lost in the possibilities and determine that your next campaign will contain VR elements.
However, becoming overly interested in one particular platform could enable “tech tunnel vision,” which causes a marketer to emphasize the platform instead of the story. It’s important to be aware of the new and emerging technologies and understand how they could apply to a potential brand campaign, but it’s not wise to become overly enthusiastic about any particular platform.
Technology will never stop evolving; a new platform will always be around the corner. In short, the science should serve the art.
Bring In Your Partners Early In The Process
As technology platforms continue to become more complex, it’s important for marketers to bring in designers, engineers, developers, and other partners early in the process. Having the right mix of brand experts, storytellers, and technologists will ensure that you explore all angles of the “big idea,” including creating a story that will resonate, positioning for your brand perfectly, and providing a detailed understanding of how the technology platform can be maximized to bring the story to life. Getting the entire team together early will also ensure the project comes in on time and on budget.
No matter how quickly you want to jump straight into tactics, in an ever-competitive and changing business environment, it’s important to follow a logical order.
It’s never a good idea to start counting your eggs before they hatch. Be wary of the laundry list of technologies and first find the story. Keep your goals at the forefront and then explore the possibilities for engaging your audiences in a unique experience. A good story and foundation will drive the success of your marketing campaign down the line.