“When Alex Bogusky was creative director of the agency that bears his name, he insisted on being read the press release before seeing the creative work. If the press release was uninspiring, he would refuse to look at the work. Bogusky understood that the role of advertising is to make things famous.
In the ad-saturated environment of the noughties, the decade in which he was crowned creative director, the best way to ensure that was to make advertising generate its own PR.
If an idea wasn’t newsworthy, it wasn’t good enough.”
In our latest installment of Inside the Moments that Matter, marketing guru and brand storyteller Marissa Fellows joins us for a session on “Brand 360: Engagement, Activation & Integrated Marketing.” Marissa shared key insights, from jumpstarting a successful campaign to establishing brand loyalty. Here’s what we learned:
It’s all about brand experience, not a transaction.
What is the last brand experience you can recall? When Marissa posed this question to our team, pet supply company Chewy stood out after one of us shared that they received roses when their beloved dog passed away. For something to be memorable, it must be grounded in an experience. It also helps ensure this experience is consistent across multiple channels to boost brand loyalty.
While customer preferences are constantly shifting and Millennials were first to buck convention, Gen Z took it a step further by placing even greater importance on brand ethics and corporate responsibility as well as highly individualized shopping experiences, raising the bar for all of us. We went from “pics, or it didn’t happen” to “nothing is real unless it’s experienced.”
Above all else, create a conversation.
While we talk so much about virality, it doesn’t get us far. “Shock value” may have its benefits, but in a market that is so saturated and fragmented across so many different channels, we need to offer something more substantive - something that “goes beneath the tip of the iceberg.” Instead of creating “publicity stunts,” we want our campaigns, activations, and events to create conversation. Virality is short-lived and dependent on time and place, but if we offer something enduring that has the potential to influence culture, that is the real win. A great example of this is when Bumble released its new Photo Verification feature designed to put an end to fake profiles. Sure, this could have been introduced by a standard press release, blog, or even a video demo. However, true to their brand ethos, they opted to create a conversation. Partnering with a Top Chef alumni who had recently opened a new spot in Brooklyn, they played up the issue of “Catfishing” with a pop-up food truck adorned with “Great Catch: Catfish Just Got Served” along the side. Customers can get their Bumble profile pics verified as they wait in line for their food. This activation is the kind of timely, relevant, fun, and targeted guerilla marketing activation that gets people talking while gaining mass awareness.
Idea graveyards have lives of their own.
Anyone who works in Brand Marketing, PR —or in creative roles more generally—knows that while we invest a great deal of time preparing concepts and proposals, most ideas never see the light of day. However, idea graveyards have lives of their own, and they can come back to life in another way and may serve as a springboard for the next big idea. Time spent on ideation is never wasted – it simply builds up your reservoir.
A great way to do this is when organizing your next creative brainstorm, have these ideas at your disposal, and when the conversation hits a wall, read them aloud and see if any can be expanded on for the new challenge at hand and/or spur a new wave of thought starters. Often, the best way to be creative is to be around creativity.
Getting the big idea right is a work of art (& ongoing).
Before getting wrapped up in a headline, focus on bulletproofing your ideas; ask yourself why it works. And then ask yourself again. And then again.
What do you want the audience to know? What do you want them to think? To feel? What action do you want your audience to take? Keeping these questions front and center helps you chart the journey you wish the target audience to take with your brand:
From a strategy standpoint, it’s important to start with the message you want your target audience to hear and then the big idea you want them to see. The necessary touchpoints at each stage of the journey will fall out from there. No “stage” is one and done; they’re interconnected with the storytelling you do for your brand. Thinking of all storytelling like a campaign helps connect the dots.
Marissa ended her session with a simple message that underscores how we work with our clients beautifully: Integrated campaigns are most effective when they start with business objectives, a strong idea, and insights…the tactics will follow.
Thank you, Marissa, for your insight! Watch this space for takeaways from our next session.