Connected content for connected audiences

Connected content for connected audiences

Connected communications require connected planning across channels in order to enable meaningful, natural and un-interrupted dialogue with your audience.

Netflix has given us a master-class in delivering un-interrupted and personalised content experiences. It allows users to login into their account on multiple devices (desktop, tablet, PlayStation etc.) and enables them to pick up viewing from exactly where they left off – seamless. Relevant recommendations are also presented to the customer based on the smart use of data that understands what you might like based on past viewing behaviour, and you can even see which of your friends have watched something due to the Facebook account sign in functionality – connecting social and peer endorsement.

That’s the fun, rich media example. But how does this work for brands, and agencies trying to support the communication strategy to drive value add engagement with audiences?

We know there’s been a shift in the communications landscape over the past five years. At one stage PR was ‘a dying channel’, then everyone realised it could be coupled quite snuggly with social media – enter stage left ‘integrated communication agencies’.

PR + ATL + Social x Digital = integration… easy, right? Unfortunately not.

PR/social and digital agencies will have different ways of defining what a successful outcome is, and the route required to arrive at that point. Ultimately it’s got to come down to a collective effort to stitch these channels together, and deliver the ‘so what’ for your client.

…"you made me a microsite to host my campaign content" - ‘so what’

…"you got me press coverage in the broad sheets" - ‘so what’

… "you got me 20% more followers on Twitter" … you guessed it – ‘so what’

The answer to the ‘so what’ really has to be the on-boarding and nourishment of quality audiences – ‘smart connections’ that you don’t simply push your product to with ‘launch-and-forget’ campaigns, rather you make a genuine effort to to drive business impact.

This really requires practitioners to become ‘bi-lingual’ (speak both digital and PR) in order to achieve the best blend of channels, with the gravitas to say ‘yae’ and ‘nae’ to both sides of the budget tug-of-war.

Often marketing and communications managers need support to see the value of this new connected approach (or at least be supported in proving it to their senior management teams). This tends to be an easier task with smaller/nimble businesses versus large enterprise that have entrenched departmental silos with the comms manager on one side of the office, marketing on the other, and never the twain shall meet!

As the ROI of social becomes the common denominator for all communications, this task is becoming less of a mountain to climb, and more of a steep hill; either way you still need to have the climbing boots on for now.

Think back to the Netflix example above – consider EVERYTHING your brand does from the perspective of your audience. It’s the perfectly reasonable expectation from consumers today that if it’s not intuitive, joined up, easy to use and understand, then it’s not fit for purpose… thanks Apple!

Oh – and it’s about to get even more intuitive/complex (depending on if you’re the consumer or the communications planner) with the introduction of iBeacon.

Essentially it’s Bluetooth with an ‘i’ in front of it. It allows consumers to have an enriched experience with your brand in store, and also allows you to provide location based messaging/advertising right to their pocket. With all the buzz of connected cars, the Internet of Things etc., as well as the strengthening of mobile advertising, this seems a pretty natural evolution… for brands, it’s an opportunity/challenge to add something else to your armoury.

Keep it simple, connected and intuitive.