By Jeff Boortz
Quick: what is the subject of most PowerPoints illuminating stuffy conference rooms across the country today? If you said “engagement” and “relationships,” you’re probably involved in entertainment marketing.
Every consumer brand, despite how focused on just having fun they appear, is secretly angling for a committed consumer relationship. But truly engaging consumers, getting them to lean forward and take an active, committed role with entertainment content and your platform, is easier said than done. You know they’re checking out your completion, and stealing glances at their iPad when you’re not looking. Consumer commitment is one of the greatest challenges companies face in building and maintaining their brand.
As a veteran of countless broadcast design and brand marketing campaigns, I can testify to the fact that there are many ways to make programs stickier, to make breaks invisible, and to make television a more compelling experience, but there are just so many other sexy devices trying to catch your consumer’s eye. In today’s multiplatform environment, you also have to figure out how to dovetail the primary screen experience (TV) with the second (online) and third (mobile) screen experience, and then make all of that work cohesively for the network brand and the advertisers, as well as the audience.
Rather than eroding the audience, multiple screens can actually build on it by creating more touch points along the same content and thereby creating huge opportunities for engagement. The challenge is identifying the intersection of content, platform and advertiser engagement for consumers, and then being able to parlay that intersection into a compelling entertainment experience – I call this the “I only have eyes for you” approach.
“The clothes make the man,” and most in-house teams know the network brand as well as their favorite “date outfit.” How the content fits the network brand can be a bit trickier, and how to seamlessly integrate the advertiser’s message into the look can be challenging. Having to then adjust that perfect date outfit for online, mobile and on demand occasions can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Because network marketers are so consumed with the demands of today’s multiplatform media environment, they have little energy left to sort through the reels of the hundreds of creative companies anxious to “dress their network.” This is where the dreaded yet self-perpetuating cycle of “I’m comfortable with them” begins. Your dad is comfortable with his white shoes and leisure suit too, but he doesn’t turn heads the way he used to. It’s no secret that networks engage the same creative companies in problem solving discussions, primarily because it is the safest course of action. But “they’re on the approved vendor list,” or “they know how we work” is seldom uttered in the same breath as “Wow. That’s some brilliant creative,” “I would have never thought of that. Thanks for pushing the envelope” or, “can you believe these numbers? And in a whole new demo for us!”
This is where a consultant comes to the rescue. Like Stacy London and Clinton Kelly of TLC’s “What Not to Wear,” we leverage the background, experience and oversight of expert brand marketers to match you with the fresh ideas, unique approaches and innovative design concepts of young creative companies that will help you seduce and enthrall your targeted audience.
Like Garnier’s Hair Studio, and Piperlime’s Accessory Wall on “Project Runway,” we bring in different teams to focus on specific platforms while also collaborating on overarching brand messaging and design to yield the variance in experiences that viewers look for from each unique touch point. By opening the door to both emerging and established creative teams, everyone involved discovers something new, which pushes our industry forward. And since even mature brands are targeting the 18-to-34 demographic (didn’t you have hair in your profile picture?), it makes perfect sense to engage younger creatives in the brand-consumer relationship discussion.
The media universe is changing rapidly in lockstep with society. The skills of young creative teams are remarkable. Their adventurous spirit and fearlessness is balanced with a technical skill honed on video games, computers, mobile phones and, of course, online dating, which, to them, are all organic components of the overarching media-age experience. If we can temper their exuberance with a “wing man” who possesses patience, expertise and understanding of what has come before, we can all become Dolce&Gabbana's, moving our fickle and commitment-wary audiences closer to the alter with every sexy dress we design.