Chaos has erupted now digital platforms have taken over communication channels, confusing marketeers and consumers. But China advertising guru Tom Doctoroff asks us to take a breath and look how technology is empowering us. New ideas are emerging, and they still need creativity he writes in The Huffington Post.
The average Joe does not want to be bombarded with a never-ending series of disjointed creative. The best brands simplify life, not complicate it. That’s why all creative ideas — I like to call them “engagement ideas” — must also be expressions of the brand idea. They can be short-term, long-term, thematic or promotional, but they must be manifestations of the brand’s soul. Each idea reinforces the long-term relationship between people and the brands they love, lest confusion reign.
Today’s business environment is ultra-competitive, hyper-accelerated. So creative has to be more than “interesting.” It has to do more than break through clutter. Super Bowl Sunday notwithstanding, the days of sitting in front of the television waiting for cool TV ads to air are over. Yes, creative must be persuasive. And messages must be elegantly crafted. But communications success is now measured by depth of engagement.
In a new era of technological liberation, creative should not only draw attention but also elicit active response. Great creative ideas – for example, Nike’s “Fuel” band, Axe’s wake-up alarm service, Uniqlo’s world Uniclock, Burger King’s “Whopper Freak Out,” Kit Kat’s “Lucky Charms” – are now “participation platforms.” (Hopefully, they are also easy to enjoy and not over-engineered.) Great ideas are now “made,” not broadcast. They can be “things” people want to spend time with. The more time people spend using, playing with and spreading an idea, the deeper their involvement with a brand.
Importantly, engagement ideas must be carefully defined so they become “media-neutral,” bigger than individual communications channels. As media options proliferate, ideas should remain consistent on everything from television, mobile phones, social media platforms, apps, video games, even in-store shelf talkers.
China Weekly Hangout
The new ways of communicating have influenced many parts of life in China. For example its labor force. The China Weekly Hangout discussed on May 24 those changes with Dee Lee, of the NGO Inno in Guangzhou, is running a workers’ hotline, mainly funded by big brands who want to keep an eye on working conditions. Heleen Mees, NYU professor in New York, Sam Xu and Fons Tuinstra, of the China Speakers Bureau, ask him questions.
On Thursday 20 June we ask what Chinese tourists want. Chinese tourist spend more than those from other countries, but getting them to your country, and letting them spend is an art in itself. We are joined by Roy Graff of ChinaContact, and you can join us too. Here is our announcement, or you can register directly at our event page.