As a creative director, I’m astute to the many disconnected streams of messages, inefficient placements, and bad designs, that plague so many brands. I’ve been in many marketing meetings where multiple agencies have come together to take a slice of that pie plopped in the center of the table that comes in the most delicious flavor called the “marketing budget.” Different disciplines like advertising, PR, digital, media, experiential etc. are all trying to grab the larger slice of pie and completely ignore the consistency of the brand story, which it desperately needs to be effective and memorable. With so many more points of interaction, traditional broadcast is now seen as the least efficient way of reaching consumers as opposed to the more targeted and efficient points within the digital environment. We’re adding more and more points every year and all those points need to connect.
Let’s talk about the brand message itself. We know having a strategically sound value proposition is very important, but how are you taking this and converting it into a message with stopping power and relevancy? Successful brands do this with humor, unique and sophisticated designs, or even incredibly emotional messages. For example, Apple’s brand purpose is to “make products that enrich people’s daily lives.” From sponsored photography contests that highlight its incredible hardware, to new product launches, every aspect of their messaging delivers on the belief that the product is the experience. When AirPod Pros launched I marveled at the landing page for months. The “scrolly-telling” effect allows the user to control the experience to discover the features. I scrolled and watched the hardware explode apart to view the components while controlling the pace like a DJ record-scratching the visuals. Conversely, when brands just talk about function as purpose, they aren’t as memorable. It’s no wonder that the ride-share Lyft is significantly behind Uber when it comes to market share because their mission statement, “A ride whenever you need one” simply does not give them permission to do anything other than give you a ride.
Let’s stay on the ride-share theme for this one, Uber’s mission statement is “We reimagine the way the world moves for the better” which allows them the flexibility to provide all types of transportation; from standard vehicles to luxury sedans, urban scooter rentals, and also gives them liberty to go into things like food delivery. That mission statement allows them to activate broadly, but their voice needs to be consistent through every point of messaging. During the pandemic they encouraged people not to use Uber. With a still frame YouTube campaign “This video isn’t moving. Neither should you. If you can, stay home. We can stop this.” they utilized what is traditionally a digital pre-roll video and deliberately changed it to a single image which made a powerful statement worthy of pause. Also, it’s no surprise that last Halloween, one of the highest user nights, Uber created “Famous Rides” where your ride request may show up in the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine or one of other cartoon-themed vehicles. This is a great example of a brand unifying every point of experience with a consistent voice – reimagining the way the world moves.
The digital environment has long been the majority focus for brand messaging. That’s no surprise. It’s where consumers are spending a huge amount of time. It’s more effective in reaching the specifically targeted consumer than other forms of media and that makes it way more cost effective. We are just in an era of pioneering how the message breaks through. Ten to fifteen years ago no one knew there was going to be Airbnb, Uber, and new, pioneer categories are popping up every day. We are seeing new digital touch points and ways for brands to engage through social media, through VR/AR, and podcasts and streaming have taken over radio and TV. Brands that believe in a purpose and engage consumers about that purpose in new ways, linking everything together with stunning design, and memorable messaging are the pioneers of the next generation.