In this guest post, Atomic 212’s chief executive Jason Dooris (pictured below) says, with all this new tech now available to brands, it’s taking the CX/customer engagement thing to a whole new level and it’s the marketers who need to keep up…
Do you remember those 3D images you used to get in magazines from the newsagents? You know the ones – you’d have to put on a set of flimsy glasses and suddenly the image was alive?
I used to be obsessed with them. Morning and night, I’d be looking for new magazines and new images to bring to life with my magic glasses. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the reason I loved them was probably because they increased my level of engagement with the product. They took a static image on a page and brought it to life.
Well, things have come a long way since then. The world of digital has brought engagement and interactivity to a whole new level. But here’s the kicker – as marketers and agencies become more and more savvy with technology and digital tools, the whole world is awash with interactive and engaging marketing messages. Clutter is rife. In such an environment, creativity becomes more important than ever. In fact, as my 3D glasses example shows, creativity and engagement were bedfellows long before digital technology entered the equation.
In an always-on digital landscape, brands don’t necessarily need to constantly be creating the world’s next breakthrough; of course, constantly having that mindset is the best way to achieve revolutionary ideas. But they do need to be constantly thinking creatively about how to engage their consumer and how to add value rather than simply ramming a marketing message down their throats.
An example might be the nifty ‘Makeup Genius’ mobile app from L’Oreal that shows you how you might look with different makeup styles. Or it could be an interactive tool on your website, like the RateCity ‘Election Calculator’ which helps you see which political parties will most affect your wallet. Or the Mazda ‘Build Your Own Car’ tool that let’s you (you guessed it) build your own car from scratch on their site. These are all tools which add a bit of value to the consumer’s life, and the consumer will therefore be more likely to invite the brand in.
In a world of digital-first campaigns and social media, the Holy Grail is engagement. If people are spending time positively with your brand, if they are immersed in your brand, then your brand remains top of mind. It’s obvious. But they have to be engaging positively. An engaging experience, which leaves a consumer with a sour taste, can be hugely damaging. This is where creative thinking comes to the fore. Although having some cool technology to go with it surely doesn’t hurt.
It seems like every month we’re bombarded with new tech that blows us away, until some other cool new tech comes along just a few weeks later. We are seeing 3D video on YouTube going from strength to strength (I just love Samsung’s interactive 3D surfing video), while augmented reality and virtual reality are moving out of the world of fantasy and into our living rooms. We have robots like Pepper the Robot, which can learn and interact, cars that can drive themselves, and artificial intelligence that is becoming increasingly humanlike.
Once upon a time, media was very much a one-way activity. Then, as people could increasingly interact with emerging channels, we saw two-way communication emerge. But now it has developed to a whole new level – social media is proof that consumers don’t just want to engage with brands, they want brands to engage back. New digital technologies are impressive not because people can interact with them, but because these platforms can learn and adapt and talk back. Ads are served based on preference and behaviour; cars can sense when you’re tired and make you take a break from driving; and Siri can tell you jokes.
The world is a very different place, and the 3D magazine picture may not cut it anymore. But even as technology improves and opportunities to engage with consumers increase, we need to remember that a strong, creative idea is always the starting point. Technology is merely the vessel.