Extending the Brand in Time, Location and Medium

In the last few years, end users have been using a number of mediums intensively and the diversity of new mediums and devices does not seem to be slowing down. End users are on the web, but more specifically they are spending more time on social networks like Facebook. And the sophistication of personal devices, such as smartphones and, increasingly, tablets have allowed the end users to be everywhere, all the time. Sooner or later, brands tend to respond to what end users want. It is clear that the brands and their agencies are aware that messaging just on a single medium is not sufficient—a cohesive message on a number of channels, on different devices and social networks is not only required but is becoming the norm.

Inertia is powerful. Hence, the silos oft-quoted by ad agencies and brands managing various media channels still exist, but are fortunately softening. The spends are also not commensurate with how end users are consuming. Due to inertia, it is always easy to allocate the same or similar spend to TV, which is still getting more budget than it rightfully deserves. The chinks are, however, clearly visible and the spends on Internet, mobile and, now, social media are increasing rapidly.

Brands are getting the message that they need to extend their scope beyond a single time-slot or at single location or a certain medium. Here are two examples:

  1. Submission to Times Square: As part of their hip-hop-themed branding campaign, Kodak wanted to make sure end-users continued to have Kodak on the top-of-mind for their photographic needs. Kodak has a wide array of campaigns in various media channels, but one that connects user generated content (UGC), users’phones and billboard in Times Square is worth noting. Users can send in photos via email to sokodak@aerva.com and the photos are moderated for appropriateness and an acceptance code is sent back so the user can decide when to put their picture up on Kodak’s Times Square billboard. Since Times Square is a popular destination, it is appropriate that the user gets to decide when he/she is on-site to pull up the accepted photos. Since the trigger is via text message, a user with any phone can trigger the photo. An end-user can be engaged across medium (from web, mobile, digital out-of-home) to various locations (from concerts, Times Square to home and on the go) and at multiple times (during UCG submission, acceptance and self-activation over a longer period of time).  See more…
  2. Submissions from Facebook: Brands follow scale and eyeballs and Facebook, with its 600 millions users and sticky UGC, have noticed and want a presence in the social network. Many brands are allowing users to send in their images or videos from Facebook or participate in various campaigns via multitude of applications to other channels, such as brands’ websites, digital-out-of-home or even into gaming applications.  Target Corp. launched a “Big Baby Billboard” marketing campaign that allowed new parents to create birth announcements via a Facebook application, and enter for a chance to have their announcement displayed on three digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square or on giant magnetic billboards at two sites in Los Angeles.

By carving out a corner of the social network and creating an announcement at Facebook.com/TargetBaby, Target is using the medium that users are already absorbed in and becoming a participant in that conversation. There are, of course, many more campaigns that involve users’ Facebook accounts or a brand’s Facebook account, but the conversation gets to other channels like Twitter, company websites, digital out-of-home and email (Target sent out keepsake photos when the parents’ babies showed on the billboards in Times Square on magnetic boards in Los Angeles). See more…

It is clear that we will continue to see cross-channel campaigns and it seems the way end users are choosing to engage, cross-channel mechanisms are the only ways for brands to have that conversation with end-users.