Just Because You Build It, Doesn’t Mean They Will Come: Brands Utilizing Digital Content
By George L. San Jose, President and Chief Creative Officer of The San Jose Group
Digital Jabber Jaws is a modern epidemic plaguing today’s brands.
In fact, brands are losing out daily by casting out massive quantities of digital content with little regards to the most important aspects: quality and relevancy. Yes, social media and search engine optimizations have altered the industry in the sense that brands need to be present, involved and constantly engaging in the online conversation. Yes, clients want to see ROIs, conversions, likes, follows and retweets. However, the method to achieving this is not “new.” Building brand awareness isn’t about populating every digital space available but more so about creating rich, memorable content that aligns with the brand’s persona and speaks at the opportune time to its targeted consumer.
Is this a pioneering or groundbreaking concept? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t mean brands don’t need a reminder from time to time. Speaking frankly, the objective of the advertising game is the same as it was before Facebook, Google and Twitter dominated the playing field. The only thing that’s changed is brands simply have more channels to play in now. So, as brand guardians, changing our approach to meet the opportunities within the growing digital space doesn’t need to be revolutionary. It appears the onset and growth of social media has distracted marketers, causing them to switch their focus from “quality, quality, quality” to “views, views, views.” Unfortunately, views and clicks do not build brands or increase market share.
In the grand scheme of the advertising industry, the Internet—particularly social media—is still a new frontier confusing brands to believe they should strive for the numbers by flooding everywhere and anywhere with content. In doing this, creativity almost always suffers thus changing the role of Artistic Director to Mass Producer. Most often, marketers play the Field of Dreams approach: “If you build it, [they] will come.” This strategy only generates content and speaks nothing to creating a positive, lasting brand impression—let alone sales. The harsh reality is Websites of Dreams don’t exist. People won’t magically come to your brand online. Even when consumers find themselves amidst a brand’s digital space by mistake, the inevitable bounce serves as a detriment to the brand’s SEO.
Ever since Oreo’s famous Super Bowl “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet, most brands have jumped on the real time social media campaign bandwagon. What brands don’t realize is that although Oreo’s tweet was in the moment, it wasn’t spur of the moment. The famous tweet was a part of a year-long social media campaign in which Oreo contributed to real time conversations daily by releasing small bites of unique, quirky content; thus demonstrating the brand’s broader vision beyond favorites and retweets: quality creative. Through this well thought out campaign, Oreo achieved the ideal goal in its social media space and told a memorable “Brand Story.”
Like all branded content, digital content—whether it be social media or a brand’s website—should have a purpose. No post is going to create a sale; however, a tweet or status update can play an integral part in establishing brand identities, keeping brands top-of-mind and leading consumers to the next step. When it comes to engaging the consumer, branded stories are still king. We all remember the stories we heard as children, and we all remember the TV ads we loved. And that is how you build the iconic brands of tomorrow.
You can put 100 lines in the water with undesirable bait and still get exposure. A few fish may nibble, perhaps even bite—but you’re NOT going to create a frenzy. Create and tell a compelling story—you’ll have fish for life.