Choosing where to shout about your brand is becoming an ever increasing struggle. Brands are simply finding it tough keeping up with our ever changing social landscape. The way we interact is constantly changing and evolving, meaning new media channels are born everyday, each more innovative than the last. Modern consumers or ‘Millennials’ are always seeking instant gratification. We have no time anymore it seems as we want things now, I mean then, I mean yesterday!
So how do brands tap into the modern user who has around 5 different devices and multiple messaging Apps? How do you exist in their head, if only for a moment, amongst all the other daily clutter? Well the answer isn’t straight forward, but we can break it down into 3 key factors that should help you determine a successful media channel for your brand.
So how do we know if the platform we’re using will still be ‘cool’ in 5 years and in any case why does it matter? The answer to both those questions is ‘YES’, yes we can and yes it does.
It’s quite simple, there are certain technologies that the big brands like Facebook and Google acquire for relatively large sums of money. If you follow Tech Crunch, Huffington Post or Time magazine then you’ll be aware of some of the truly ground-breaking tech that’s about to hit us and some may argue enhance our lives. It’s like predicting that it will rain in the UK during April. These tech giants pretty much dictate what’s going to be cool on the internet and they have the means to advertise and distribute it to anyone. So keep your ear to the ground in terms of what the big players are investing in is rule number one!
Rule number two; Longevity does matter for a media channel. Brands can become famous for using a platform to the best of it’s ability. Take Instagram for example… Most of us know the best brands on Instagram, and it didn’t happen over night. They achieved notoriety over time, building and creating great content specifically designed to entice the users on that channel. These brands didn’t take advantage of Instagram, they simply used it in the best way possible.
Now for me the Virtual Reality world is a great example of a platform that will truly change our lives on so many levels, and it’s a world we’re living in now, although in it’s infancy. So that of Oculus, Vive and PS4’s VR. These channels open up a whole new way to experience brands and create ‘uplifting’ content. Developers are being smart too as they want to use VR to improve the real life alternative; so you can actually have a better-than-real-life experience. TopShop demonstrated this at the London fashion week when two lucky competition winners got to tap into London fashion week via VR and be virtually sat next to the likes of Kate Moss, but without the star struck awkwardness. Not only that but if they turned their heads around they wouldn’t just see Z-listers they would be transported behind the scenes. This just shows that VR is a movement challenging real life experiences, which I think is truly provocative and rather genius.
So knowing whether technology will stand the test of time is one of the most important points. We live in an age where products and gadgets come and go in the blink of an eyelid. That being said it’s not always bad to harness trending technology, especially for tactical ads that come and go. But if we’re looking for the hottest place to exist as a brand for the foreseeable future, we need to know if the platform will still be cool in 5 years. This gives brands the time to dominate the platform if they get in early.
There are a multitude of different platforms out there, which makes it so hard to decide which one to dedicate time, effort and ultimately money to. From mobile Apps to Social Media to OOH (Out of Home) digital displays. Each platform has it’s own USP, some are more obvious than others. This is why it’s so important to find a platform that is made for your brand, it’s the toast to your jam, it’s the Ken to your Barbie… well you get the picture.
Take Pinterest, Instagram, Vimeo and Dribbble, for example. They’re each slightly different in their function, however they all appeal to visual brands and users. They make it easy to find and rate great looking content. Whereas Twitter, Buzzfeed and Facebook are perhaps more for spreading news and articles full of rich content, both written and visual. Then the other end of the Social spectrum, Linkedin - a platform that targets professionals and b2b markets.
Brands need to simply decide which platform is most relevant to their needs, and most likely this will be the needs of their users. If they hit the sweet spot then they will get their exposure.
This is a question brands should always be asking. And by smart I mean that, more often than not, users are served irrelevant ads based on simple algorithms. This leads to unsatisfied users and poor conversion. With a ‘smart’ platform you would expect content to be targeted to specific users and adapt based on their personal interests, but at the same time offer new suggestions of content they might yet enjoy. This means that your brand would only be showing up on the screens of those who might already be interested.
Verifone Media are an interesting company as they allow brands to serve targeted ads to the digital displays on top of taxis, as well the the screens inside and on chip ‘n‘ pin machines. As a result they can offer location and weather based ads to their clients, which means they’re be far more relevant, at least to their environment.
Relevance is key. Websites also need to evolve, they need to change organically and display content intuitively. Shopify is making big moves in this arena to ensure we’re shifting in the right direction, with features and plug-ins that allow sites to display targeted content and monitor the conversion.
With a bit of searching there are some great tools that allow you to make your App or website responsive and adapt intelligently depending on the user. This means they’ll likely track your cookies but it also means they can create an online profile of you based on your buying habits and behaviour. Revolv is a brilliant example as they enable users to simply paste a bit of code into their site to make it completely responsive based on rules that they can customise. So they would decide they want to display certain images to women who have already been on their site before. Revo.lv allows you to do this.
Another great example is a secure payment App that monitors how you use you phone over time. So if your phone falls into the wrong hands it will detect this by the way the user uses the phone and subsequently block it. This truly is incredible. I wonder if it could act like the sword in Blade (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it)?