Thursday, 22 April 2010

The Customer is the Key

At university my degree entailed a heavy amount of theoretical standpoints about advertising, the media, and cultural consumption. From the dated Marxist notion of capitalism to postmodern notions of psychoanalysis and emotion, these theories have played a huge part in my understanding and analysis of our contemporary consumer culture.
The consumer is increasingly becoming the most powerful figure in the world of integrated communications. I like to think of the consumer as the Queen on a chessboard - the most influential piece, threatening the decisions and moves of the others. If advertisers make a wrong move then the game could be over.

The key is understanding the customer's journey in order to deliver a more targeted and relevant delivery. With the visually saturated world that the digital phenomenon has evoked, simply creating eye-catching ads on any platform particularly online is not enough to keep consumers engaged. Creative brand experiences should be implemented after the first point of contact with an ad in order to support the communication strategy. One element I believe to be key in fulfilling this role is blurring the boundary between fantasy and reality. Creating an experience which takes the fantasy concept from the TV or online and making it a physical experience in the everyday life of consumers. In addition, consumers should be given a motive to interact and engage with brands to create an emotional and personal drive. The Nike Human Race (North vs South) is a great example of this .

It is important to keep the consumer engaged at every point if contact with a brand to build a strong connection and to facilitate a conversation between individual consumers and consumer clusters who share the same values, ideas and beliefs.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

'Twinfomercials' a twitteriffic idea?

Like with any new advance or feature in the digital world Twitter has attracted mass debate. Even more so now with its introduction of advertising. Since its launch in 2006 Twitter has yet to real in any profit, but the time has come for Twitter to raise its bar. Competition in a sea of hungry social media has meant that Twitter needs to generate money to add more features and keep it as a main player in social media.

My initial reaction was quite neutral if I'm honest, I don't really see what major harm ads on Twitter will do. There are a number of formats for advertising on Twitter which vary in levels of intrusiveness. Some examples include the following:

Sponsored Tweets - Tweets would appear in your stream with a text-based ad and link.
On-Page ads - areas on the Twitter home page to place spot ads (a web page or banner ad)
Mobile ads - adding a small sponsored ad to the end of a mobile twitter text.

Obviously if Twitter users have opted to receive mobile Twitter texts then they should have the right to choose whether they receive ad-free texts, but the problem with this is surely the majority of people will opt out of Twiiter texts with ads. Undoubtedly then Twitter will have to make ads on its homepage and stream feed compulsory if brands are to witness ROI from their ads placed within Twitter.

However I am struggling to understand how ads for brands and businesses will work effectively as surely such brands will have to have a large fan/follower base for users to actually see their ad. Will this method only target consumers who are loyal to the brand and a follower of them on Twitter? What about targeting new consumers? I think if the new strategy is to work then Twitter should use its homepage to leverage brand Tweets and ads, but this still fails to overcome users who are constantly logged in to their twitter account and do not need to navigate through the Twitter homepage.

Due to Twitters informative and snappy nature I do believe that branded Tweets and ads could definitely add value to businesses and brands but do not believe that Twitter ads will be a long term strategy for brands and advertisers. As more brands warm to the use of Twitter as a marketing strategy in a shift towards going digital, I can see competition for placing ads on Twitter increasing in the near future. I hope that Twitter doesn't become too corporate and greedy. Twitter should remember its growth to success in its early days: the public! Don't forget your grass roots Twitter!