Karsh Hagan has been around for quite a while (40 years this year!), and during that time, we’ve been fortunate to be a part of the blossoming, innovative advertising community in Colorado. This year marked the second annual Ad Day, a celebration of every aspect of advertising, from changes to the media landscape to new business creative concepting, put on by the Denver/Boulder Ad Club. The all-day event took place at the CU Boulder campus. It was a joy for our team to attend, so we’ve put together some of our key takeaways from the day in case you weren’t able to make it.
Changing Relationships for Brands and Customers
The advertising world is no longer a “hit-driven” business where brands can depend on one high-impact moment to engage their community long-term. Successful targeting strategies incorporate the broad and narrow by continually engaging people across multiple channels in meaningful micro-moments. Proper execution means dedication to understanding your brand’s community in an authentic way.
Hyperconnectivity to digital spaces has meant direct access to brands, greatly changing consumers’ expectations. Companies must understand what persona they should present in response to customers who have gradually begun to see their favorite brands as people. Brands must behave in a way that people would want to invite them into their circle.
For a brand to build successful "stories" (i.e. original content), the marketer needs to understand three things:
- The impact your brand has on culture a.k.a. Your Brand’s Unifying Reason for Being a.k.a. Your Purpose.
- Your brand's Pillars of Behavior = brand values + how the brand acts on this mission/purpose (reasons to believe)
- Target Audience Interests/Trends = the cultural insights and interests of your targets
The "Creator” Department and Influencers
Steve Babcock of Vaynor Media hit on the need for agencies to get creative with their creative departments in a rapidly changing industry. He said, "Agencies must consolidate the process-- fewer creatives and more creators.” To survive, agencies will need to figure out how to be good, cheap, and fast. This includes building more production capabilities in-house to keep production lean and effective.
Leveraging influencers for their unique creative contributions and audiences may prove to be a lucrative option for many teams and supplement content demands. With the rise of influencers as part of a brand’s overall media and marketing mix, advertisers and agencies have to become comfortable with loosening the reins and letting influencers go through their own creative development process with less input from the agency than you would see from a more traditional creative development process. When influencers incorporate the brand into their messaging, it needs to sound authentic, not like an ad. Influencers might have different ideas on how to do this than an agency would.
Successful influencer marketing interjects a brand voice into an organic, native conversation by:
- Connecting with a passion point
Digital Advertising Measurement and Attribution
No matter what attribution model you are using to understand the impact of your marketing investment, all metrics should be categorized into two buckets.
Relevance - Which measures the opportunity to drive behavioral change
Performance - Which measures actual behavioral change
Relevance means driving to the right audience and it has become crucial to double/triple verify because of the amount of fraud in the marketplace. Performance asks, “Are we driving success for the client and providing a clear picture of what tactics/channels are contributing to that success?” The answers to these questions provide holistic, meaningful insights into our success.
Conversion attribution is still something that everyone (brands and agencies alike) struggles with. You cannot simply look to a “last click” model where credit for the conversion goes exclusively to the last touch, as consumers have, in most cases, seen many differing messages across a lot of platforms…so which message finally made them search for a brand, or go straight to their website and convert? People don’t wake up one day and decide to search for you; something inspired them to do so. Traditional media, PR, etc. all have an effect on consumer behavior. Last click attribution is short-sighted and very limiting, but finding the right model is certainly a challenge.
Find Your Role As a Strategic Consultant
Jason De Turris, CSO at Phenomenon, led a session called A New Hope: A Brave Force in Strategic Consulting – YOU. Phenomenon's core belief is that the last competitive advantage in business is being first - first to identify a marketplace need, and first to fill that gap with meaning. Agencies have the advantage of already being creative thinkers and problem solvers, however, they need to be coming to clients with new business ideas and models, not just campaigns. Acting as strategic consultants would allow agencies to deliver bold corporate strategies, breakthrough products, new user experiences, and non-conventional communications platforms that appeal to everyone up the chain.