For decades, it’s generally been accepted that all great advertising campaigns sprout from a single “Big Idea” – We Try Harder. The Lonely Maytag Repairman. Ring Around the Collar.
However, in today’s ever-changing media landscape, are we outgrowing the concept of a single Big Idea that sells our product to anyone and everyone lucky enough to hear our message?
Media consumption today is evolving into an ever-more-personalized experience – digital retargeting and behavioral targeting remind us of the shoes we placed in our shopping cart and ALMOST clicked the “Buy” button to obtain…Smart TVs now connect our TV watching to social and digital experiences. Even radio is becoming more and more customized – stations and groups of stations on digital radio (and wired directly into our phones and newer car models) that reflect EXACTLY what we want to listen to at any given time.
As the media landscape becomes more and more cluttered AND targeted, there’s an opportunity to build campaigns that, instead of driving home the same message to a mass customer base, speak to our customers as individuals, reflecting a message that’s relevant both to our product AND to the customer. Beyond the paid landscape, part of this can be achieved through the owned and earned avenues – publishing stories that read more like content than “advertising” messages, and offer added value that reflects the context of what our consumers are engaged in. There are a few campaigns out there that are starting to use this mentality successfully- the US Department of Defense, for instance, has its own TV network (The Pentagon Channel); photojournalists creating content for Flickr; print journalists creating content worthy of publishing in newspaper and magazines; and podcasts for the general public. One such weekly podcast is entitled Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military; the goal is to make modern military science more accessible to the general public.
To get through to today’s excessively busy, information-overloaded audience, we need to take advantage of the targeting and information we have available to us – and, as Shel Holtz recently put it, “be inspiring, clarifying, funny, useful or just plain interesting.” Move away from trying to force one slogan, one brand attribute, one message down everyone’s throats, but rather think like our audience, and help them understand that there is something about our product that they truly need.