Welcome back! In Designing an Agency for the Digital Age - Part I, we looked at how the traditional agency framework has shifted, especially with regard to media and production spend. We concluded that Innovation + Demonstration = Measurable Results.
So how can we take advantage of all these new contexts? By focusing on these three action items:
- Re-imagine our brands – better highlight how are brands differentiated.
- Redesign our teams – we need new skillsets in the creative process.
- Re-architect the process – there are far more options and decisions to be made.
Agencies used to tell stories about brands to customers. Now we have a relationship with systems of behavior – a two-way relationship between companies and customers that offers infinite possibilities to connect. What are the most effective modes of storytelling now? There’s the tried-and-true “metaphor” storytelling – creating an environment where consumers can relate new products and new information to something they already know and understand. One step closer to two-way interaction is “demo” storytelling – Nike and Apple campaigns do a great job of showing consumers the enticing aspects of their products. Then there’s the “game” storytelling method, bringing consumers fully into the conversation with your brand by asking them to participate in the campaign in some way.
The strongest advertising teams are collaborating not just to craft a great story, but to think in terms of systems. Gone are the days when a creative team of two would sit in a room and think up a good story, then pass it on to a production team to make an ad campaign happen. Now creative teams are collaborating with technologists, designers and marketers – who, as it turns out, are all acting as “Creatives” in some form. Take the iPad, for instance. Its very design has inspired consumers to rush out to purchase it, even before they have been told what it does. The design alone – the system, not yet the story – has inspired purchase behavior.
One last thought: the process of communicating your brand to your consumer. It all starts with thinking about what is true about the brand, then what is relevant about the brand, then what is understandable about the brand, and finally, what is interesting about the brand.
But what does the consumer see?
The consumer is focused on what is interesting about the brand. In the case of a brand’s story, interesting = entertaining. In the case of a brand’s system, interesting = useful. In today’s world, advertising needs to resonate with consumers by making brands both entertaining and useful, and inviting consumers to help craft their own experience with brands.