Community, Content, Conversations, Movements, Social, Curation, Story-telling. Our obsession with these buzzwords means they increasingly sneak into objectives, when in reality they are part of executing a broader strategy writes Leo Burnett’s TC Miles.
The advertising world doesn’t need another bandwagon to jump on to sell additional services to increasingly suspicious clients .
It needs expertise in how to create campaigns that might include some of these elements to meet the marketing or commercial objectives.
The best digital or social media ‘strategies’ are by-products of bigger initiatives built to solve marketing or commercial problems, be it Canon inspiring people to trade up to DSLRs or creating loyalty to 7-Eleven through Slurpee. It’s why we have channel and media specialists in house as part of the process, not external to it.
As it is the pursuit and implementation of intra-channel strategies as an after-thought are fraught with difficulty, especially when the dreaded phrase ‘best-practice’ is rolled out. It means trying to emulate an award winner without focusing on your marketing challenge or opportunity.
So let’s talk process.
Think generalists, not specialists.
Campaigns are their own eco-system that is a combination of creating demand and/or fulfilling demand. They have to be planned in their entirety. This should be the responsibility of a single agency. Begin with external specialists (digital, social etc.) and you have already pre-determined the output.
Think beyond the objective to define the problem you’re trying to solve. Which audience is key to your business objective, what do we want them to do and what’s stopping them? We always treat this as a collaborative process to ensure consensus.
Why is someone going to want to give you any attention at all? Why is your brand useful? If you’re already trying to sell a social strategy here, you’re probably thinking it’s something like ‘to spread a bit joy’ and you’re already thinking pictures of kittens. Easy tiger.
Don’t ask for social ideas or a movement. Solve the output in the strategy before creative. Think how the strategy solves the problem. Map the journey we have to move people through to achieve our objective. Do we need to educate or inspire, if so is that a role for content? Do we want people to find out more information? If it’s high involvement, maybe a phone number does the job…. This is the channel you execute the idea in.
Idea & Touchpoints
Evaluate the idea around its ability to solve the problem, match your purpose and its ability to be executed in the specified channels.
You know how your idea is supposed to work. Measure and track to optimise. If there are gaps, then maybe, just maybe you need a specific channel strategy.
In summary, if you’re wrestling with how to build a content strategy, embed story-telling, or create a community, relax. Resist the buzzwords. Just go back to the problem and define your channels with the strategy. Execute accordingly.