Real Time Branding: The Unmastered Art of Digital Marketing
Every marketing and advertising professional can recall a formerly monstrous hurdle in brand advertising: obtaining real feedback from a customer’s buying audience in real time (or some time frame deemed relevant). Not to mention being able to distill that information into meaningful and actionable data to govern the direction of a campaign (and future campaigns).
Luckily those days and that elephant-sized hurdle have passed thanks to the whirlwind adoption of digital mediums like Twitter and Facebook that enable true conversation online in real time.
The days of the drive-by are over. Customers are no longer willing to settle silently for the flashy dream of what a brand claims to stand for. They’re taking to the digital streets to let the world know what the reality of a brand is — positive or negative.
Inside the ad business, we all know that brilliant marketing can’t make up for a shoddy product or poor experiences. The digital medium brings even more truth to that statement.
But how many marketers and agencies are truly helping clients capitalize on the opportunity that this transparency brings to the table? I’m not talking about harping on the concept of real-time reputation management and the customer service fears we’ve all instilled during a pitch to a consumer brand about their need to incorporate Twitter. I mean really capitalizing on the opportunity that this transparency presents a brand at its very core.
I can tell you this: not many have mastered it in the digital space. In the traditional space I can see the same, if not a worse situation. We’re all taking about it — we’ve identified it — but we haven’t mastered it yet.
It holds the most opportunity for us, but old habits die hard. Brands are seeking digital ad optimization — real-time branding if you will. So what steps do agencies need to take to master this art?
Don’t Stop At Identifying Brand Ambassadors In The Planning Phase
It’s safe to say that brands and their agencies need to know who they are, but it’s more important for all involved that the actual influence over potential brand advocates is defined, as well as how they influence the buying behavior of potential customers. Unlock this magic before campaign planning begins — just as you would customer insight.
Consider A Brand’s Employees
Shortly after you’ve identified brand ambassadors and defined their influence, you need to identify employees of the brand who are active in social media (under their own name) and define the sentiment they are creating for the brand. What influence do they have over current and future brand advocates? Do they influence buyer behavior?
Embrace The Power Of The Survey: Analytics Alone Don’t Cut It
One or two surveys a year with a huge research firm and budget isn’t going to cut it for agencies or marketers any longer. Brands need to have an ongoing and open dialogue with customers as well as the target demographic. (And here’s the other side of this coin…social media alone isn’t the golden ticket in this equation.) The digital medium allows campaigns to be optimized while they’re live, continually maximizing returns — but that optimization logic has to come from more than analytics packages. Consider the creation of a more informal customer and survey panels to promote that continual dialogue.
Don’t Leave Your Expertise At Home
Clients love (and I don’t use that word lightly) the idea that they have real-time access to campaign success metrics. They particularly love the idea that an agency is working with them to continually optimize campaigns and strategies to maximum returns. They loathe the idea of waiting anything out — regardless of the reasoning. But as an ad pro, it’s your job to keep strategy at the forefront. Optimizing a campaign should never happen without keeping the brand strategy top-of-mind. It’s easy for a client to lose sight of that strategy when the dollars seem to be going down the drain. Real-time optimization should never come at the expense of a brand’s well-being. Don’t forget to consistently show the value that a particular channel brings to a campaign’s overall success in addition to showing the performance of that channel alone.
Carly Wujcik, Oneupweb’s Director of Sales & Marketing, is responsible for creating a cohesive brand in an industry that consistently changes. She has played a critical role in leading two of the many teams vital to Oneupweb’s planned growth and record-setting success and through her vision and direction, Oneupweb clients are getting found where, when and how their potential clients are looking. With an eye for design, knack for successful media campaigns and ability to thoroughly understand the client perspective, Wujcik has helped Oneupweb’s sales and marketing teams unleash their full potential leading to numerous industry and creative awards.