I think we all know the importance of content in the marketing and communications mix. At the core of any experience, I believe, is the brand’s story. And the way that story is told, via the content, is arguably what we all get paid for.
In today’s always-on, hyper-connected world, it’s easy – as marketers and communicators – to focus too much on specific channels than the story and what form it should take on those channels. This is a hard challenge to overcome because new channels and new technologies within those channels surface and evolve on a daily basis. “New” media makes it easy to distract us from what will really make those channels/technology effective – the story.
I think all of this new, shiny stuff also clouds basic human behavior, which has been around and has evolved way before any of this. Those core behaviors often guide me as I’m thinking about how to bring to life and tell a brand’s story across any channel that we might have the opportunity to use. So, while this might not be a complete list – I’m no sociologist – it’s been a helpful guide to me.
- People want to have a say – with anything, people feel more comfortable and trusting of a decision that they’ve had some impact on. We don’t like being told things and “this is the way it is.” The open web and new technology has actually exacerbated this behavior to the point to where people are enabled to give their opinions, weigh in and help shape more decisions, more quickly. It’s taken empowerment to a new level. A brand’s story belongs to the brand, but the shape it takes along the way, and the experiences (offline and online) it creates/enables, is constantly changing. A brand simply asking their customers what they think about something goes a long way.
- People expect personal – I don’t know about you, but I ignore anything – be it an email, direct mail, or anything else – that doesn’t have my first name on it. If it’s not addressed to ME, I don’t want to spend the time with it. Social channels – Facebook, Twitter, even email – are personal, by nature. When brands/companies don’t leverage this personalization, they miss opportunities.
- People want to be in the know – I think we are driven by knowledge of any kind, whether it’s about a place to eat, a new product or service, or the best babysitter in the neighborhood (personally, this is GOLD to me!). We want to have this knowledge, and often times, we want this knowledge before anyone else has it. All of these new technologies, especially those enabled through personal screens like mobile, provide an opportunity to deliver exclusive content over and over.
- People like sharing – just as we like to know, and before anyone else does, we also like to share with others. Forget about any specific channel – just plain old word-of-mouth – we like to tell others about that new place to eat, that new pair of shoes, or that babysitter in the neighborhood. Sharing is core to any effective story(telling).
- People support what they love – everyone has their passions. People are driven by them. And my passions are not the same as yours. Anyone seen haul videos? Why anyone would want to watch someone’s clothing haul, I don’t know. That’s just not my thing. Obviously, it’s many others. People love what they love and they get behind what they love. This is a powerful opportunity.
The great opportunity that we have with all of these channels and new technology is more appropriate and targeted platforms to tell that story. This, to me, is the beauty and the (still) unrealized potential of Out-of-Home and digital signage. More and more, we’re starting to see mobile as an extremely effective channel – through all of the different technologies – to communicate to consumers on their terms, when they’re out and about, on-the-go.
Whether your main focus is creating content/telling a brand’s story via digital signage, social media, advertising or anything else, don’t forget about fundamental human behavior. It’s what drives action and interaction, not the technology.