Telling brand stories through technology

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Telling brand stories through technology

  1. 1. 1Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com Telling brand stories using technology September 2012 The world of technological advancement, especially in the sphere of the internet, is creating seismic shifts in the way we all conduct our lives. But the big question is how do we, as marketers, not only find but also embrace the right approaches? How can we ensure that we don’t end up investing time and money in the wrong media channels? Technology the art of the possible The word ‘technology’ stems from the Greek ‘technologia’, meaning the study of art, skill and craft. And in a sense, this is what technology is really all about. As the world’s greatest enabler, technology allows us to be more creative, more inventive and more adventurous. “ ” Or put another way, how do you execute strategies to make the most of these potentially exciting technologies that are unfolding before our very eyes? This article will take a look at sound ways to navigate these fast flowing waters of technology without taking undue risks. They say a week is a long time in politics, but a minute is a very long time in cyberspace. To prove the point, Intel recently published these astonishing findings: In as little as one internet minute, Amazon clocks up $83,000 in sales; 20 million photos are viewed and uploaded on Flickr; over 204 million emails are sent worldwide; no fewer than 6 million pages are viewed on Facebook; more than 61,000 hours of music are played on Pandora; and in excess of 1.3 million video clips are watched on YouTube. And if that doesn’t impress, consider this: an astonishing 640,000 GB of global data is transferred in this very same minute. According to IBM, 90% of the world’s data created since the beginning of civilization has been created in the last two years alone. If history teaches us one thing it’s this: the onward march of technology never slows. The world of business is changing at an astonishing rate. Insurgent companies are taking advantage of thousands of new innovations and millions of new consumers to generate billions in revenue within a matter of years. David Cameron
  2. 2. 2Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com Any brand worth its salt should certainly sit up and pay attention to the simple and effective approach set out in 2007 by Forrester. This effectively breaks down into four core elements comprising: • People • Objectives • Strategy • Technology It’s a useful model for any brand to adhere to when developing technological based marketing initiatives. So let’s just take a closer look at each of the four components. “ ” The late Steve Jobs understood this better than anyone when he uttered those immortal words on the launch of the original iPad: It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that makes our hearts sing. People People use technology in any number of ways that will obviously vary massively. But we can safely categorise their specific usages in the following ways: • Informing - news, maps, providing information, teaching something new • Facilitating - booking a restaurant, booking holidays, making a payment • Providing utility - apps, dropbox, Cloud • Entertaining - e book readers, ipods • Enhancing - Facebook, Twitter • Developing relationships - Facetime, Skype Objectives Once you have established the technological profile of your audience, the next step is to consider how to achieve the goals of your brand through the relevant use of technology. These categorisations allow us to understand people’s digital behaviour and see where technology can act as an enabler for the brand. There are a number of free or virtually free resources well worth taking a look at including www.comscore.com or www.econsultancy.com Forrester also offers an aggregated but useful view of different behaviours in their technographics. (http://empowered. forrester.com/tool_consumer.html) These categorise people according to their online and social behaviour. “ ” As an agency, our approach is based on ‘discipline in digital’. In other words we place a great deal of emphasis on the brand objective. Because there is a very real danger when facing the multiple possibilities presented by digital technology to lose sight of your original objectives. So it’s really important to spend some time establishing exactly what you want to achieve and the technology you want to utilise to achieve it. If you don’t have a goal, how can you know when you have arrived? Old Indian proverb •  People – consider your audience and their technology profile – for adoption, usage and type of interaction •  Objectives – what are the goals? is the tech designed to listen to customers, talk to them, support them, collaborate or to energise towards advocacy •  Strategy – How do you change your relationship with customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? Which direction do you want to take and what is the underlying proposition? •  Technology – what technology should you use? apps, social networks, blogs, influencer outreach…… A sensible approach •  People – consider your audience and their technology profile – for adoption, usage and type of interaction •  Objectives – what are the goals? is the tech designed to listen to customers, talk to them, support them, collaborate or to energise towards advocacy •  Strategy – How do you change your relationship with customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? Which direction do you want to take and what is the underlying proposition? •  Technology – what technology should you use? apps, social networks, blogs, influencer outreach…… In short, we need to see technology not as an end in itself but as the means to the end. As marketers when we harness technology cleverly and creatively in a wholly relevant fashion, we can achieve brilliant results. But conversely, when we do so badly for all the wrong reasons, we can fail dismally. •  People – consider your audience and their technology profile – for adoption, usage and type of interaction •  Objectives – what are the goals? is the tech designed to listen to customers, talk to them, support them, collaborate or to energise towards advocacy •  Strategy – How do you change your relationship with customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? Which direction do you want to take and what is the underlying proposition? •  Technology – what technology should you use? apps, social networks, blogs, influencer outreach…… •  People – consider your audience and their technology profile – for adoption, usage and type of interaction •  Objectives – what are the goals? is the tech designed to listen to customers, talk to them, support them, collaborate or to energise towards advocacy •  Strategy – How do you change your relationship with customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? Which direction do you want to take and what is the underlying proposition? •  Technology – what technology should you use? apps, social networks, blogs, influencer outreach……
  3. 3. 3Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com Strategy In the words of Lexicon: ‘A brand name is more than a word. It is the beginning of a conversation.’ If this is the case, how then do we effectively harness technology and enter into a rewarding dialogue with consumers? One that will ultimately result in a competitive advantage and long term brand loyalty. Technology Once you have established the digital behaviour of your audience, set your objectives and developed a strategy, your final consideration is the technology itself. We firmly believe that you can achieve this by following a strategy built on four key principles. Follow these and you will succeed in bringing your brands to life through technology: • The brand story: Everything hinges on the brand story or idea behind your offering. At one time this was called the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) invented by J Walter Thompson. Technology is an invaluable tool that will effectively disseminate your brand story. But without one, the vehicles you have at your disposal to spread it become pointless and redundant. • Matching medium to message: Marshall McLuhan famously said that “the medium is the message”. He was right then and remains right today. If you want to bring your brand to life and make it resonate with your audience, don’t be somewhere for the sake of it, be somewhere that makes sense and supports your brand story. • Marry utility and delight: Don’t get hung up on conveying ‘delight’ at the expense of ‘utility’. After all, the best brand stories are both emotional and behavioural. So by communicating the emotional and rational benefits of your brand you’ll be establishing that all-important value exchange with your consumer.. • Evolve and learn: The beauty of the vast majority of technology based solutions is that they are always alive and evolving. So when launching a piece of communication, don’t abandon it; re-visit it, enhance it and let it evolve. You have a veritable armoury of options to select from. Everything from mobile and video, to measurement and analytics, to blogs and ecommerce – to name just a few. As we have said, the technology landscape is a moving feast. So while it would take a brave individual to predict the next big thing, there are, in our view, five global consumer trends happening right now: • Mobile – Near Field Communications, QR, augmented reality • Entertainment – Pictures, video, gaming, music, TV • Social Networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest • Utility – Recommendation, life enhancers, influencers • Measurement – Social media management software, ‘Big Data’ The following pages present a selection of some of the most exciting examples that’ll hopefully inspire you to investigate the opportunities awaiting your brands.
  4. 4. 4Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com Mobile Smartphone penetration in Europe now stands at over 44% with mobiles now being used for everything from browsing products (42%), reading online reviews (32%) or actually purchasing products (23%).* Mobile marketing is now too big for savvy businesses to ignore. *Source: Comscore. Figures compiled in the last 30 days. QR codes – Mercedes Benz QR codes are becoming more and more prevalent. It’s hardly surprising – they can enhance brand experiences in different locations, deliver more detailed information, and elicit purchase and adoption. This said, they can be a two-edged sword, as brand experiences for consumers can often be poor, resulting in no repeat usage. Of the QR codes out there that have been creatively employed, this one from Mercedes is a particularly good example (http://bit.ly/S7ppAa). While car manufacturers like to keep their upcoming car models under wraps, Mercedes decided to use the launch of a new car to drive consumer hype before the new model was launched. We think this does an excellent job by creating intrigue and encouraging action in an entertaining and rewarding fashion. Augmented Reality - GUINNESS There are a number of other image recognition tools out there. Aurasma, for instance recently announced a partnership with Heat magazine http://bit.ly/aurasmaheat And Blippar created a Xmas game for Guinness entitled ‘Decorate Your Pint.’ http://bit.ly/blipparguinness By downloading the Blippar, app users were encouraged to take a picture of their pint of Guinness and then add Christmas decorations like a Santa hat, baubles and even falling snow. The image could then be shared with friends and followers via email, Facebook or Twitter, with the message ‘What I really want for Christmas.’ All of which is an engaging way to get your audience to interact with your brand while encouraging others to do likewise. In addition, there are a multitude of other Mobile opportunities coming to the fore – from a virtual Tesco store created at Gatwick airport http://bit.ly/tescogatwick allowing travellers to scan images of up to 80 products and have them delivered to their homes, to the adoption of M-commerce solutions like Square and Google Wallet and the exciting potential of Near Field Communication (NFC). Watch this space for future developments in the mobile arena.
  5. 5. 5Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com Entertainment By entertaining customers, technology can pay dividends, particularly if the entertainment revolves around your brand. Interactive Video - IKEA By showcasing their kitchens from the point of view of different characters, Ikea was able to create a hugely enjoyable interactive video http://bit.ly/ikeainteractivevideo Here the viewer can see the world from numerous viewpoints including a dogs’. And while enjoying the video you can interact with any of the products by clicking on them and bringing up information. In just three months, 540,000 kitchen solutions were looked at. Online timelines - Storify Rated by Time Magazine as one of the 50 best websites of 2011, Storify http://storify.com is a really interesting example of a site that approaches story telling differently. Users can search multiple social networks from one place, and then drag individual elements into a collection of related stories. Elements can be reordered and text can be added to give context. Not surprisingly, the media has latched onto Storify to cover ongoing news stories. CBC News for instance, used Storify to cover the 2011 London riots, and Al Jazeera has a show called ‘The Stream’ that collects perspectives on news stories using Storify. The use of entertainment is a hotbed for brands, whether it’s Ford’s use of Hulu http://bit.ly/fordhulu for branded entertainment, or tech companies such as Shazam http://www.shazam.com working with brands to help them deliver valuable rewards and incentives for consumers. As we recently highlighted in our report from SXSW: “ ” With over 70% of today’s core TV audience going online whilst they are watching, and a large number using 3 screens, the blurring of the internet and real world is encroaching upon us all - making ‘Social viewing’ an increasingly important consideration for every advertiser.
  6. 6. 6Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com Social networks In the wake of Facebook’s recent multibillion dollar IPO, it’s safe to say that the interest in social networking isn’t going to wane. This month both Facebook and Twitter have announced the roll out of new services and guidelines to boost their appeal to advertisers, which could arguably come at the cost of alienating their users. So brands must consider carefully how they take advantage of these massive audiences. Facebook Apps – Olmeca Tequilla The rise in native apps is far outgrowing web based interactions - and with the launch of the social app store, this can only increase. Night Tag http://bit.ly/Olmeca is an iPhone App designed for Olmeca tequila that acts as a ‘digital wingman’ for party boys and girls, guiding them through the best music and nightlife their cities have to offer by contextualising photos taken on a night out with the location where they were shot and the music that was playing at the time. These condensed stories can then be shared within Facebook’s timeline and include the integration of listings, guides and a radio streaming service: Selecta. Interactive advertising – Heineken Interactive advertising is a big development at the moment. Great examples include LG’s recent text to billboard in Times Square http://bit.ly/LGtimessq and a recent British campaign to raise awareness of the ways in which people can intervene to help put a stop to domestic violence. It utilises a series of interactive billboards installed at Euston Station http://bit.ly/eustonstation. We particularly liked this example from Heineken in Singapore in which a festive landmark is powered by social media. http://bit.ly/heinekenxmas 11metres high and featuring 48 LED screens, the tree broadcasted Xmas greetings exchanged on Facebook in a public space. Via the Facebook app, users could send their friends a festive message by tagging them on a customised virtual tree, and once sent this would come to life as a digital visual showcase on the actual tree. A video recording of the broadcast would subsequently be sent out to the sender to share on Facebook. Brilliant. Pinterest – Uniqlo A picture, as they say, paints a thousand words. In fact, it can go further and tell a compelling story. It’s why Pinterest has grown to become the 3rd most popular social network site for hits and is now rapidly catching up the number 2 – Twitter. With over 20 million users, what makes the Pinterest referrals so interesting is the fact that they spend 70% more money than visitors from non social channels and are 10% more likely to shop than any other social network. Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo was the first to use Pinterest to promote a brand and its products this way, through their ‘Uniqlo Dry Mesh Project,’ http://bit.ly/uniqlopin The aim here was to cut through ‘scrolling slumber’ with a simultaneous pinning event using over 100 account that animated the images in real time to catch users’ attention with giant blocks of images that coalesce into a larger, branded mosaic across multiple categories including Men’s and Woman’s Apparel, Geek, Fitness and Sports. With new entrants like Instagram growing at a breath-taking pace and aggregation services like Twylah http://www.twylah.com being borne from Twitter, as well as the omnipresent Google+ and the pretenders to the throne like Tumblr – the potential for technological innovation is boundless.
  7. 7. 7Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com Utility The majority of technological developments of the last decade have been driven primarily by the desire to make people’s lives easier. Some have also been devised to make a brand manager’s job easier. Two in particular are worth looking at: Influence - Hunch You will no doubt be familiar with tools on the likes of ebay and Amazon that state: “if you like that then you will also like this.”Hunch http://hunch.com takes this a whole step further by taking users’ likes and interests to make informed suggestions about what a given user will like. As users give Hunch more feedback, it becomes smarter about those users’ preferences. Besides being useful for consumers, brands can use it too, especially as it enables integration of Facebook and Twitter groups. So you can get an idea of what your followers and fans like via a ‘Taste Graph’. Online influence – Klout, Kred We are increasingly relying on online recommendations to make our choices. And this, in turn, has led to the rise to fame of the Influencer. This is not only helpful for consumers but also presents opportunities for brands to convey their message vicariously. There are several Influence measurement tools (including Klout, PI, Kred, PROSKore, Identified and Twitalyzer). All of which are becoming increasingly sophisticated as they respond to various challenges and requirements. Essentially, there are two invaluable benefits to be had here: a) To reach influencers – find out who they are and engage with them to tell brand stories. b) To identify influencers among current consumers, followers and likers. And to find out who to talk to and what to talk about. In essence, you’ll be discovering your unpaid sales army. Many brands are developing ideas focused on making their customers’ lives easier. A good example of this is provided here by British Gas http://bit.ly/gasmeter With their new app, it’s now possible for customers to submit meter readings, view their balance, keep an eye on energy usage, book an engineer visit and track the status of an appointment. It even comes with a handy torch to help them read the meter.
  8. 8. 8Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com Measurement Although not strictly a technological development, one area that has been enhanced by technology is measurement. From aggregation of current data feeds into accessible outputs to integration of the multitude of new measurement services, technology is helping make measurement easier, faster, richer and most importantly ‘real time’. Dashboarding What gets measured gets managed and with the importance of social media to a brand’s reputation and the associated marketing spend, investing in technology to enhance measurement is a prerequisite for any brand. In most organizations there aren’t standardized ways to report social media, so reporting often focuses on whichever metrics look best in a particular campaign. Getting metrics on one page not only makes it easier to look at best practice and campaign success, but also where to invest. We have been working with a partner agency based in the US to develop dashboards that show changes from one reporting period to the next. The example here is based on native Facebook insights showing aggregate likes, comments, shares, views and clicks. This can, however, be developed with any inputs.
  9. 9. 9Gravity Thinking, 185 Park Street, London SE1 9DY. T 0207 654 7693 E info@gravitythinking.com W gravitythinking.com “ ” Developing a roadmap An understanding of the full potential of technology and its application is now essential for any marketer. This said, the constant evolution means it is an impossible task to keep up with every development. We have only shared a small selection of the exciting opportunities out there. As we have already indicated, there are basic principles that you can follow to embrace these developments. By doing so you will be able to turn them to your advantage and achieve your goals. The key here is to adopt a systematic approach to planning the use of technology. This means not starting with the technology but rather the digital behaviour of consumers and considering how best to incorporate it into campaign planning. Only then can the right technology be assessed and chosen. Archibald Putt once said: Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. You don’t have to be an expert but if you can make sure you are not the latter, the opportunities are boundless. If you would like to discuss any of the elements in this article or how you can take advantage of the opportunities the advancement of technology presents for your company or brand then please contact; Andrew Roberts Managing Partner E andrew@gravitythinking.com T 020 7654 7693 M 07775 612 853 Alternatively if you would like to access more information, news and comment on social media you can; Like facebook.com/gravitymarketing Follow twitter.com/gravitythinking Connect linkedin.com/in/andrewjroberts See gravitythinking.com

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