Connected marketing still needs the media (but in a different way)
Today I discovered Bank Run, an interactive action movie that you can play online (the first part) and then continue on your iPhone by purchasing the application on the Apple Store. The game itself is pretty good, it is quite amusing and difficult enough to become addictive. But the smartest thing about the project is the ability to engage first and then connect with the players/consumers landing on their personal mobile devices.
Mix the platforms, establish a first contact on the Web and then continue the relationship on a mobile device. It’s not a rule that the order should be this, but the principle to follow is quite straightforward: if you want to win consumers’ attention in today’s world, you need to be able to “connect” with them and their daily life. Which means, to deliver meaningful experiences (useful/entertaining) without necessarily requiring the consumer to visit our (corporate, brand, boring) website.
For a brand to “connect” might mean to create iPhone/mobile applications (or games) that people enjoy downloading and most of all keeping on a device which is part of their lives at least 12 hours a day. To connect might mean to engage and deliver value to fans on a Facebook fan page. To share news and new products but first of all to deliver valuable information worth interacting with in a flood of updates from tons of friends (and people you barely know).
An advertising campaign is still the fuse to light the relationship with consumers. But, you know, advertising is no longer enough (and I’m probably just repeating this after a million other people). However, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying advertising is dead. I speak out of personal experience, and I confess that I believed for sometime that Facebook would have been enough to activate consumers. But I proved wrong. A strong relationship in the virtual world doesn’t necessarily translate into a strong relationship in real life. And, in the same way, producing an entertaining advergame is not enough, developing a good branded application is not enough to activate wide audiences, to ask them for commitment and participation or simply, to spread the word about the game/app you provided them for free. Word of mouth is a myth, viral effects are tougher than ever to obtain. We still need a “little” help from our media friends. Because media (especially print and TV) give us credibility and have the ability to last and possibly become a reference (especially OOH and print). In the virtual world, and especially on Facebook, trust is difficult to gain. There are just too many fakes, and just too many messages out there for people to believe everything they read, even if it comes from their favorite brand.
So we, the brands, still need our friends, the media. But times have change. And media should understand that “connect” is the key word also in our relationship. It is not just about buying media space. It is about building together projects that prove useful and meaningful to consumers. Because advertising, on traditional media, might prove boring and end up unnoticed. I quote Elvis Presley’s who used to say “do something worth remembering”. And this is so damn true for marketers as well, both in short and long term. And to do something worth remembering, means to go back to the first lines of this post, it means to connect.
Pardon this unusually long post. I just wanted to share some thoughts that come out my recent experiences and stimulate a bit of discussion. I look forward to hear your comments.