Marketing today has the opportunity to reach a higher level than ever before. Technologies are cropping up all the time that let brands connect with consumers, something Google calls “moments that matter.”
“It is sometimes tempting to think that the technology is enough. We sometimes get so excited about the shiny new thing that we forget about the actual big marketing idea needed to take advantage of the shiny new thing,” wrote Tom Fishburne of Marketoon Studios. “Today I want to talk about marketing worth sharing. The big marketing idea matters more than the available technology. Technology can’t save a boring idea. But technology can amplify a remarkable idea.”
Word of mouth is and always will be the strongest form of advertising because it is genuine. People have to want to spread a message because it is social.
“Many of the brands we work on were born in the Mad Men era of the 1950s and 60s. Much of our marketing mindset comes from that era,” detailed Fishburne. “One of the first brands I worked on was Green Giant. In my turnover, I received a brand brief literally written by a young Leo Burnett before he started his own agency. In that era, men like Don Draper or Leo Burnett would tell us what our brands stood for, and then he’d tell consumers. There were captive audiences with three television networks, so brands were defined by these Mad Men.”
No longer will consumers be dictated to from on high. There are literally thousands of touchpoints that users can and will experience with a brand and the consumer has to own those moments.
“Here’s an example from a few weeks ago. The London Olympics wanted to protect official sponsors, so they orchestrated an historic ban on ambush marketing. Parliament made ambush marketing illegal with stiff penalties. A bakery was prevented from having buns shaped like the Olympic rings. Olympic cafe had to change it’s name. Athletes faced a Twitter ban,” Fishburne noted. “But along comes Beats by Dr. Dre, a headphones brand. They’re not an Olympic sponsor. But they were everywhere in the Olympics. Every time you tuned in, athletes were wearing them. Every time you looked online, people were talking about Beats.”
It wasn’t about headphones, it was about consumer expression. “Everybody has something that makes them one-of-a-kind #showusyourcolor.”
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing,” he said. “The new mindset we need as marketers is to create marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing. We need to create stories that are inherently worth sharing. We need to create experiences that consumers can make their own.”
It’s worth noting that technology alone is not enough, it must be used correctly. If advertisements are just as boring accessed through a QR code as a website address, then everyone is wasting their time.
It’s also important to remember its not about the brand, something Nike realized when they didn’t use Chalkbot to put their brand everywhere. “Instead they sent Chalkbot to the Tour de France and programmed it to draw messages of cancer support provided by consumers in social media,” he added. “Chalkbot would then photograph the message on the road and send the picture back to the consumer who left it, along with GPS coordinates of where this physical artifact was on the Tour de France route.”
Sailor Jerry also let users “own” the brand by getting tattoos in the style of the famous tattoo artist for which the brand was named. Many participated, and not just people who already had tattoos.
Continuity is important as well, not just attempting to go viral with one video. Finally, it’s important to emphasize that consumers make a brand awesome, not the other way around.
Betabrand is a small clothing brand that describes itself as 1 percent fashion, 99 percent fiction. They encourage users to post videos and pictures of themselves with their clothes, even offering them a discount.
“My main point for today is that all of our brands have the capacity to make our consumers more awesome. These are the moments that really matter. I want to leave you with the image of this guy skydiving into Burning Man, an accomplishment made even more awesome by his disco ball pants. There has never been more powerful technology at our disposal to make these moments happen. So the opportunity for you is to ink about how this technology can help make these types of moments happen for your brands and your consumers,” concluded Fishburne.