In this guest post, Garth Williamson, Country Manager of Shutterstock ANZ shares his insights on the topic of ‘why relinquishing creative control can benefit a brand campaign’ from an Aussie perspective…
The pandemic this year has arguably caused the most drastic transformation in history for brands and marketers alike. As a result, brands need to be more nimble and agile than ever before – even if that means relinquishing creative control over their marketing campaigns.
But why? There’s often a mindset that creative control should fall squarely in the marketing team’s remit, yet, this shouldn’t have to be the mindset we take. Some of the most successful campaigns are ones where brands passed on the baton when it comes to creative control, for more authentic outcomes.
The pandemic has shaken up the way we communicate, and we’ve seen an increase in consumers using social media to stay connected and engage with brands. We’ve also seen a rise in influencer marketing and user-generated content (UGC) to better engage with consumers. So what can marketers learn from COVID-19 and why will overly polished campaigns soon be overshadowed by authentic and personalised campaigns?
Be nimble or risk losing falling behind
Brands need to act fast and remain nimble, especially in the current climate – from business strategies, to marketing and communications efforts. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to communicate quickly in order to bolster relationships in a post-COVID-19 world.
To stay current and connected, it’s okay to do away with the polish when it comes to content. In fact, you don’t always have to film or produce it yourself. We all know that photoshoots, video and music production can be expensive, yet without relevant visual assets, brand campaigns can be dull, non-relevant and fail to connect with the audience.
When news drops, most brands don’t have the time to carefully curate all the assets to go along with it. In order to remain nimble, it’s important to lean on the technology and tools that can help keep the wheels spinning. In fact, it’s okay to outsource or even lean on stock.
Unpolished content is more relatable
A recent study found that 96% of consumers don’t trust ads, perceiving them as opportunistic and out of touch. This attitude has been cultivated following years of clickbaity slogans and heavy-handed photoshopping, which only widened the gap between the product advertised and the consumer experience.
In an era of open communication between brands and consumers, it has never been more critical to offer authentic and personalised campaigns to connect and build relationships quickly. As a result, brands of all sizes are letting go the reins and leveraging UGC content — often created by the consumer for the consumer — to tell their stories in a more relatable way.
Take Qantas’ 2020 ‘I still call Australia home’ campaign as an example. This is an iconic ad that most Aussies would know, revisited in the COVID era through UGC videos of children in their own homes. While the concept is not new, it works because it is relatable in a year like 2020. If Qantas had introduced a new reiteration of the ad that was extremely polished and about travelling (in a year where travelling is off the cards for many Australians), the outcome would not have resonated as much. Or at all.
Consumers are now looking for content that they can connect with on a personal level, that plays with our human need for social evidence. As humans, we are conditioned to follow in the footsteps of the people and brands that we trust the most. That’s why the rugged, unpolished content that we increasingly see on brand channels resonates so well.
Platforms like Tik Tok are being used by brands more and more. Gone are the high production values and strict control over content. Brands are relinquishing control and putting the trust into the hands of creatives who understand how to deliver a brand message authentically and engagingly.
How to make the change
Creating personalised content can be costly, and is becoming even more so due to COVID-19 restrictions. One solution brands are using is outsourcing their content into the hands of other creatives — like influencers — who make a living by knowing their audiences back to front.
Another is leaning on technology and tools that can help keep the wheels turning. Platforms like Shutterstock offer millions of image assets, music and video content that can be used by marketers to bolster creativity, while remaining current, connected and responsive to trends.
No one knows what the future of marketing will hold, but one thing is clear — it’s okay for marketers to relinquish creative control every now and then.
Highly curated and polished campaigns will always have a place in the marketing mix, but we must be open to the changes happening in the market and react accordingly.
Not only will this ensure brands can react quickly, but also connect with their customers through more authentic ways.
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