April 9, 2015

The Power of E

Storytelling, it has been the buzzword for the past couple of years. Apparently we don’t produce campaigns any more. We tell stories. Our agency is full of storytellers now. If they lose their jobs they can always head down to the local library and read books out loud in the children’s corner. Personally, I feel that brand storytelling falls short. We need consumers to be part of the story and not just be observers. We need the power of E to help brands connect with their audience. We need people to EXPERIENCE brands, ENGAGE with them and be ENABLED.

It starts by understanding our audience, their behaviors, aspirations and triggers. With the internet, people are highly informed and opinionated. They influence others and are influenced themselves. With the data at our disposal now, we can gain some real insights into the people we want to connect with. We have to get creative about how we use these insights, not just to create campaigns but how we bring people along a path to a point where they buy and then advocate a product or service. As Jean Lin (CEO of Isobar) puts it, we have to “choreograph every step in the customer journey”. The Fiat Live Store from Isobar Brazil is a great example of experience, engagement and enabling people to take the next step towards purchase. It won a 2014 Cannes Innovation Gold Lion.

Brands need to provide experiences that are authentic and relevant. Every step from awareness to purchase and beyond is an experience that can be positive or negative. Technology has transformed how we communicate with each other and it has become the same with consumers and brands. Luckily we are at a point where technological maturity is allowing us to fulfill the ambitions that we had a few years ago but seemed impossible. We are seeing a convergence of physical and digital worlds. Online to offline and the reverse. As things to continue to advance we will see new exciting ways for brands to provide new experiences, ways to engage and increase enablement. Domino’s has been exploring new ways to make ordering a pizza more easily and seamlessly. As reported on the Verge website, “We live in an age of convenience, but it’s highly possible no company takes that more seriously than Domino’s. In addition to being able to order a pizza via voice commands, on your Android Wear or Pebble smartwatch, and even through Ford SYNC, you can now use your TV to get a pie delivered directly to you. Domino’s will now let you order a pizza from your Samsung Smart TV, a true revelation in the pizza-ordering ecosystem.

Samsung_SmartTVAgencies have to constantly question their relevance to clients. With some clients taking matters into their own hands an agency has to provide something the client can’t find on his own. Unilever is looking beyond the traditional network of agencies for the next big . The Unilever Foundry enables “innovative startups that are ready to scale up to partner with Unilever and its 400 brands in over 190 countries. The playing field is open. It’s up to agencies to push themselves beyond traditional ways of reaching customers”.

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Forsman and Bodenfors are known for doing things first and their recent campaign for Åhléns, Sweden’s largest chain of department stores, is a great example. As reported by Contagious, they “wanted to raise awareness about its wide range of sustainable products, from kitchen wares to decorative furnishings. Working with Forsman & Bodenfors, Stockholm, the retailer kitted out an entire apartment with its Bra val (‘Good choice’) sustainable collection and then put the Stockholm flat up for rent on Airbnb. In November 2014, guests could book a night’s stay and try out the sustainable products”. You can watch the case video here. A future Cannes winner no doubt.

From the first step to the last mile, we need to think more about brand experiences, engaging with people and enabling them by constantly innovating how we think and execute work for clients. It’s much bigger and smaller than purely thinking about campaigns. It’s every way the brand speaks, acts and reacts.

 

 

 

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