A version of this post was published on Masterclassing.
We don’t often pause to acknowledge it, but there’s no denying that we are in the midst of a digital revolution. As marketers we often feel like it’s our job to keep up with the latest and greatest (and often unreleased) innovation, but really this revolution requires a shift in mindset.
A new digital platform adoption happens every 15 seconds. The average person has seven digital platform accounts. By 2025, the world will be home to 75 billion internet-ready devices. This revolution is normalizing and has become inherent to our culture. It’s how our children learn, it’s how we shop and it’s how the president communicates with a global economy. Each day, there is enough content created for half of the world to view something bespoke.
Brand marketers used to approach channel planning by differentiating a TV viewer from a magazine reader from a website visitor. This model is broken. Consumers expect us to act in a native way no matter where they are and, as marketers, we’re the catalysts for shifting what were once differences into universal consumer expectations.
Branded content must fulfill a need or add value – it can’t just be relevant, it must be hyper-relevant and contextualized. The storytelling arc is no longer linear, and there isn’t time for a beginning, middle and end. It is critical that content adhere to platform-specific best practices to ensure we are seen. These three expectations must work fluently together to drive the creative output.
Living core values and expressing a consistent voice, tone and visual identity are the bedrocks of iconic brands and can help build consumer trust. To protect your brand and preserve your integrity with consumers, ensure that these distinctive assets come through even when you’re experimenting in an over-saturated digital marketplace.
Historically, the What came first. (The What being the creative.) The Who, Where, When and How all came after. Now, all of these are needed up front to create smart, useful content. This is performance marketing. This is how brands are changing the game and making sure the right content shows up to the right people at the right time to get them to act. These inputs precede the creative; they are your driving forces. They shift marketers and brands away from publishing content for the sake of publishing content and toward branded, performance-driven content, which is fiercely focused on return on investment.
By investing in performance content and using best practices to optimize and analyze, brands will offer value and connectivity to their audiences. Value and connectivity build loyalty and relationships. Loyalty and relationships build trust. Trust drives revenue.
Rachel Levy is senior vice president, Digital Account & Strategy, Chicago.