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Campaigning for consistent creativity

Posted by Symon Dickinson - Creative Director at PHMG on

When faced with a barrage of buying options, there’s one thing consumers need from their brands – consistency. And the best way to achieve this is with a well-developed campaign that projects a business’ key message or values across multiple platforms. Content is key in this endeavour. Whether it’s a TV advert, online video or an audio branding production, a company’s output must be creative, exciting and original to secure the highest levels of engagement. When content like this is deployed in the right campaign, the benefits are tangible and hugely valuable.

Marketers and consumers alike have come to understand the importance of consistency in a marketing strategy. 60% of millennials said they expected a consistent experience when dealing with brands (SDL, Understanding Global Millennials 2014) – unsurprising for audiences that are most likely to encounter the same company across a varied mix of channels. This statistic is reflected by the marketing moguls, with 86% of senior level marketers stating that it’s absolutely critical to create a cohesive customer journey (Salesforce State of Marketing, 2015). This cohesion is particularly important in creating the ‘consistent reliability and reliable consistency’ desired by both customer and company, within a whole brand message and an individual campaign. Often, the consistency is achieved through a repeated message – as seen in Heinz’ biggest campaign of this year, in which their series of print ads featuring a variety of ketchupless foods all appeared with the strapline ‘pass the Heinz.’ Yet consistency doesn’t have to come through repetition, as proved by two big winners at this year’s Cannes Lions. 

The industry’s most renowned advertising awards, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity celebrates the work that has made the biggest impact in the previous year, with judges handing out awards in a variety of areas. A high-profile victor in the ‘Entertainment for Music’ category was Adidas, who proved that originality (a value woven into the very fabric of their brand) doesn’t have to be about turning your back on what’s been done before. They created a brand new track and video by editing footage and audio that already existed, launching the feature during the Grammys and employing different footage across TV, online and social media. This distinct approach to originality made them one of the most talked about brands of the Grammys weekend – and while the campaign featured something new (from the old), consumers recognised the consistency in the brand value expected from Adidas Originals. Similarly, Cyber Grand Prix winner MailChimp earned their recognition with a campaign that even changed the name of the company – but illustrated the characteristic creativity of their B2B brand. They developed nine uniquely engaging experiences based on names that sounded a bit like MailChimp, but not quite – Fail Chips, Nail Champ and Snail Primp to name just three – each one of which connected with different audiences in a valuable way (Nail Champ gained an audience of more than one million nail art fans). And as a result, they made it clear how exciting, engaging and truly creative their own internet mailing service was.

Both these campaigns triumphed based on the unique appeal of the content they produced; the variety of platforms they were executed across; and in the way they showcased the innate, core values of the brand in a way that was consistent with the ideologies their customers expected – which illustrates the distinct benefits of a campaign-led approach to marketing. Firstly, the creative content (employed in the right channels) achieved maximum engagement, which in turn let to greater brand recognition. And by making brand values clear, Adidas and MailChimp gave audiences a feeling they could really identify with. According to the Harvard Business Review, 64% of people cite shared values as the main reason they connect with a business (2012). Through this connection (alongside a real consistency in message) trust develops in a consumer – which creates brand loyalty and that all-important word-of-mouth.

From ad break to Instagram, YouTube to Twitter, our two Cannes Lions winners employed their campaigns across every platform their customers would come into contact with them – which strengthened not just their message, but the beneficial results it delivered in the consumer. However, it’s not just social media where this consistency becomes apparent. Developing a congruent audio brand really shows customers that you’ve thought about the cohesiveness of their experience, and just like an online video or TV ad, this channel represents a real opportunity to introduce exciting, engaging content. An audio branding production unites exclusive music that captures the unique values of a brand), voice artistry from a speaker that perfectly represents their style, and script, which is penned with the creative flair applied by the likes of Adidas and Mail Chimp. Altogether, this results in a sound that projects the consistent values a listener can connect with. And when the production is heard in a channel as commonly used as the telephone (while a caller is on-hold or waiting to be transferred), it further strengthens company consistency as part of a carefully executed campaign – engaging and building trust in a customer at a time when you have their undivided attention.

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