Friday, July 09, 2010

The Digital Sweet Spot

2009 was the year “Minority Report” finally came to life with augmented reality interaction – and you facing up to the reality that privacy is now as confidential as a fish bowl after Facebook made private information searchable.

2010 marks the birth of new devices that are creating more waves in content creation, redefining the usage of mobile phones.

Apple’s iPad has given dying newspapers a new lease of life. The explosion of smart phones and democratic data plans from telcos has converted people from watchers to participators. Location-based applications tell friends where the others are, and real-time status updates across social sharing services, such as Twitter and Facebook – all invite you to read and respond.

Instead of making predictions on the impact that new technologies and trends like Google TV, HTML5 and location-based advertising will have on marketing, it would be more apt to talk about how you can work digital advertising effectively for your client’s business.

With the exponential growth of online content and surge of marketers adopting digital as the lead for their campaigns, we are starting to see more interesting work in Singapore. As the market begins to mature, digital practitioners must put their money where their mouths are, and start delivering results for every cent the clients entrust.

Over the years, I’ve been able to put certain theories to test, and having worked with many brilliant minds, I’ve observed that a combination of factors may just help you nail that sweet spot for your brief and yield results beyond expectations.

Monetise Social Currency
Marketers are starting to mimic successful campaigns, by utilising various components of social media – from viral videos to micro-blogging, Facebook engagement to discussion forums and activation.

And of course, the million-dollar question – “Is there money to be made in social media?” I’d like to think so. The market is ready to separate the boys and men, amateurs and the pros.

If you believe in your idea, peg your remuneration to its result and impact. The digital medium is inherently accountable, and it’s not difficult to work out an attribution and valuation model.

No doubt, the mode of engagement puts pressure on the agency to sharpen the strategy, and gives clients glimpses of a social media heaven. If done well, you’ll have a new convert.

Preach responsible advertising and demand your payout.

Rally People Around a Cause
Human beings gravitate towards goodness. They want to be able to contribute for social, political and environmental causes. We have seen how certain initiatives have gathered the support of global citizens.

The secret to their success: authenticity, sincerity, honesty and keeping it real. These attributes win the hearts and minds of people. More often than not, you are able to move them into active participants.

A brand can stand for a cause under their corporate social responsibility efforts. Whilst the commercial returns are not immediately visible, you will see gains in brand affinity.

However, do be warned that there is a flipside. When you force-fit a cause for a brand in a one-time effort, people can smell dishonesty from a mile. The same impact of cause marketing can work against you.

Maneuver Channel Platforms
Just as many people have an online presence, web users have real friends, (yes they do!) passions and lives. However, this line between virtual interaction and real life connection is getting thinner.

There is now more reality in virtual reality than ever. Here lie opportunities for channel platform maneuvers, where we move people from online to on-ground to mobile and vice versa.

There must be a strong motivation or incentive to move bums off seats. Or a belief that people will connect like-minded individuals, who are passionate enough to do something. I much prefer the latter approach.

A community that is driven by passion creates a longer (maybe even permanent) bond with the activity, thereby making it a valuable asset to any brand.

The science is in the methodology of crowd sourcing. Appoint leaders to be poster boys, and recruit various tiers of members. Along the way, appoint leaders from the mass crowd and grow organically. Soon the multiplier effect will happen.

Content Decentralisation
Content is still king, but you don’t have to create all of it. Take the model of decentralisation and start building satellite content outside the original ecosystem.

Set a framework. Cut consumers loose, invite them to fill in the blanks, and let them remember the experience as their own.

One model we find working out well is an idea of content co-creation with brand ambassadors, from editors to social influencers. However, the accessibility to publishing tools has created many self-proclaimed social influencers.

Sadly, there many who talk amongst themselves, leaving not a single dent of impact. The balance of official and non-official voices is a delicate thing to handle. We must be very selective of who we engage.

Most brands that are brave enough to adopt this find their brand trust increasing year after year. The more you let go, the more you gain.

Lastly, there is no formula in hitting the pot of gold.

Sometimes, it’s about good old-fashioned understanding of human emotions. Sometimes, we have to go beyond our core disciplines to get the results. Sometimes, it requires us to do the minimum.

Deng Xiao Ping once said, "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat so long as it catches mice.” Likewise, do whatever it takes to get the results.

Jeff Cheong is ECD and Head of Tribal DDB Singapore


Keith said...

You are bang on the money, Jeff, good post!

Sent from my iPhone 4 said...

if those reading this don't already know this stuff they should be fired. The real question is what is stopping us do it in Singapore?

Rather that agencies keeping on stating best practise in the media and their pitches it would be far more useful to discuss all the barriers agencies and clients face and debate the solutions.

Zhou Wenhan said...

Hi, I am not a agency person but one problem with the new media is that they are too fragmented and the agencies do not have some much manpower to focus on these campaigns.

Social media campaigns tend to be small in terms of reach and has no guranteed success. It's like playing the lottery. You have to buy a lot and hope that one will pay off. Therefore given the trouble required, new media has generally not taken off yet.

Anonymous said...

End of the day,its just pure marketing,over hype talk without the figures and data to walk the talk.

And by the way,there are endless self proclaimed "social media experts / gurus" out there online

Talk with results not with best practices which can be scraped anywhere online anytime.

esar said...

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Anonymous said...

I'm quite intrigued by how Augmented Reality Singapore can be enhanced further in industry.