Some of the most successful marketing communications campaigns for brands over recent years have been hard to label. What they do have in common is they all took parts of advertising, PR, digital transformation and social media to make something unique and brilliantly simple.
With this in mind, I think that the biggest industry challenge we face is balancing the fundamentals of marketing communications while evolving with the rate of change. The volume of new channels available at our disposal to reach people and the speed at which they have appeared over the last 10 years is unprecedented in the industry.
Naturally, agencies have had to adapt in order to evolve. This has created a need to find a role for all the shiny new stuff to fit into the architecture of a campaign that, dare I say it, doesn’t always fit.
For example, I applaud airlines that use VR to give people a taste of what it is like to fly business class – a smart application of technology to support marketing and add customer value. But on the other hand, when IKEA releases an iPhone app that doesn’t let me pay for or order an item, I can’t help but wonder why it exists (especially when you can do everything the app doesn’t do, on the IKEA website).
Instead of thinking channel first (i.e. “what are we doing for mobile?”), think audience first (i.e. “can we add customer value through mobile?”). Channel neutrality at the outset allows freedom to develop creative ideas that can’t be labelled.
Is it advertising? Is it PR? Is it digital? Who cares, if it works.