Marketing messages with consumers can get complicated… quickly. Time and effort goes into developing each piece of a campaign, and everything’s perfect. There are a lot of moving pieces, but as long as consumers see all of it, it’ll all make sense. Wait… they will see everything, right?
100% of the time those behind a campaign care far more about it than the consumers who will see it, so campaigns with a lot of ideas that rely on each other to work make sense… internally. Consumers can’t be expected to do the work to put all of the pieces together. They simply won’t.
Brands that find themselves the position of having multiple assets that rely on other pieces to be understood usually do so for a good reason—they have an idea that’s big enough to come to life in multiple ways and a story that’s big enough to tell across multiple pieces of creative.
This type of situation often arises in areas in which more creative is needed, particularly social media, but this situation can be avoided, when all the pieces associated with a campaign are looked at in isolation.
Think of creative in digital like an episode of a TV show. Sure, it’s better if you’ve been keeping up with the whole series, but at the end of the day a single episode follows through on a plot point that has a beginning, middle and end. You get the idea of the episode even though you may not have the context of an entire TV show.
How does one approach episodic content? In a nutshell, put yourself in the shoes of the consumer, not a new concept.
Don’t lose the larger narrative. The larger campaign is ultimately the thread that ties everything together. It’s what makes the idea ownable and unique. It’s key.
Create assets that stand for themselves. Look at every asset in a silo. Make sure it makes sense on its own. Ultimately, it can have something extra from the larger narrative as a bonus, but that’s secondary. If this is the first and only thing a consumer sees, make sure the message shines through.
Leverage consistent elements. Create a unique look, feel and tone for the content. People may not notice everything, but this creates another unique thread to tie everything together.
Media and creative go hand-in-hand. This also points to the need for collaboration between creative and media. If people need to see content in a specific order, for example, programmatic sequential re-targeting can be deployed. Use media to deliver the story in the right places in the right way.
Don’t count on attention. The idea may be brilliant. The creative may be top-notch, but attention is rarely garnered no matter the creative. Don’t count on it. Assume people won’t pay attention by delivering messages clearly and concisely.
It’s easy to get caught up in an idea, but it benefits marketers to be empathetic to the audience. They don’t have time to do the research to understand the whole campaign. Make sure each asset can live by itself.