With increasing budgets, growing respect and advancing technology, our industry should be in a state of bliss. But with maturity comes growing pains. Revlon's Web Manager Angie McSwain talks about these issues and how her company is dealing with them.
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Kevin Ryan, Search Editor, iMedia Communications
Angie McSwain, Web Manager, Revlon
19:02, 6.78 MB, MP3
1:55 Challenge: how do you move past the "putting out fires" stage?
4:12 Do the resources match up with the budget shifts?
5:27 What needs to happen as an industry to match budget with resources?
5:40 More studies, hard numbers
6:20 Online is being held to a higher standard
6:58 There are benefits from being under the radar
7:48 Defining success of an online initiative
9:18 This is the year of better understanding data
11:25 Goal: make every consumer touchpoint have a consistent message
12:30 How to translate brand experience from TV to online world
15:15 DR aids in targeting
Note: Our podcast theme was written by Derek K. Miller. Visit him online at penmachine.com.
Today's consumers seem to be wearing an impenetrable protective coating, which advertisers must work harder and harder to penetrate. What makes this even tougher for advertisers is the tendency for consumers to spend more time away from home and on the go, combined with their "canceling out" the ever-increasing number of media impressions they are inundated with daily.
One recent study conducted by Veronis Suhler Stevenson revealed that Americans spend twice as much time outside their homes as they did 30 years ago. When they're home and in front of their TVs -- the one medium that has long been the cornerstone of the advertising industry -- consumers are increasingly circumventing commercials by channel surfing, watching on-demand programming, streaming video or using devices such as DVRs. Accordingly, McKinsey and Co. has predicted that by 2010 TV advertising will have lost two-thirds of its effectiveness as compared to 1990.
The dwindling efficacy of traditional advertising channels coupled with the fragmentation of audiences into niche categories and changes in the way they consume media, underscore the considerable challenge for marketers who want to reach increasingly jaded consumers. The solution? The digitization of one of those "old" advertising channels.
Digital out-of-home (OOH) advertising provides the means to reach consumers with engaging and contextually relevant messages while they're out and away from other forms of traditional advertising. The recent launch of CBS Outernet and NBC Everywhere is evidence that many brands are already latching onto this growing trend, recognizing that they can maximize their ad dollars by synchronizing Digital OOH efforts with their current media campaigns. This integrated effort ultimately builds brand awareness by targeting consumers in a variety of ways and in a variety of locations, including the places where they travel, shop, eat and socialize.
Adding interactivity to a digital OOH advertising campaign engages the consumer further by creating a more personal, action-oriented brand experience, which can improve message recall rates and build brand awareness and favorability. Interactive out-of-home (IOOH, to coin an acronym -- not to be confused with "I’m Out of Here!") can also more effectively appeal to the elusive 18-34 year-old demographic group, which can relate to an experience more like what they'd see online, only in an actual, social environment rather than a virtual one.
Perhaps most importantly, inspiring consumers to interact with a brand's message through a compelling call-to-action or a survey provides results that are also highly measurable. This feedback can be invaluable for advertisers when planning and implementing future campaigns. It also allows advertisers to run tests of creative techniques and adjust their approach accordingly. Finally, some interactive OOH advertising even provides the "pull" by providing content consumers want to access in an environment that makes the "push" (namely advertising) not just acceptable, but part of the positive experience. Interactive OOH capitalizes on the best aspects of digital media, and even allows for changes to be made on an ongoing basis, thus providing brands the opportunity to deliver time-sensitive and localized messages.
Interactive OOH advertising continues to grow at a rapid pace and is available in a variety of forms.
Retail is one of the most lucrative markets for interactive OOH advertising because malls and retail stores provide a captive audience of individuals who are already in the right frame of mind to buy. Point-of-purchase advertising, which is currently a $19 billion industry in the U.S., allows marketers to capitalize on impulse purchases. There is a plethora of flat panel screens appearing in these segments, often presenting messages in engaging ways.
One of the biggest players is Reactrix, which has a network of interactive and immersive media displays primarily located in malls. Their digital projections consist of branded visual content that responds to individuals who walk or gesture over the display area. They have worked with a variety of brands, including Xbox, Coke, Wells Fargo and Visa, which recently used Reactrix to launch a segment of its "Life Takes Visa" campaign that allowed consumers to "paint" with different colored blobs of virtual paint on an interactive mat. Reactrix's ability to engage consumers has led to very high unaided recall rates. While passive digital media (signage) prevails in this space, there is plenty of room for growth for interactive OOH advertising here.
Advertising in buses, trains and taxis is a tried-and true way to reach commuters and other travelers when they're insulated from most other marketing messages. In New York City, passengers in many taxis find themselves face to face with digital TVs, courtesy of Clear Channel Taxi Media and NBC Universal. In addition to keeping passengers informed with exclusive and timely content from WNBC, the news networks of NBC (NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC) and NBC Entertainment, NY10 Taxi Entertainment Network provides sponsors with the opportunity to run ads on its interactive network that are targeted to an engaged audience with easy access to the medium. One distinct advantage to advertisers is that the program only runs when the meter is turned on, so they are only paying when at least one person is within two feet of the screen and able to interact with the ads.
Dining & Entertainment
Targeting consumers while they're at bars, clubs, restaurants and other places people gather to have fun is another very effective way to advance a brand's message. For example, the TouchTunes Interactive Network has more than 30,000 interactive touch screen music and entertainment systems in bars, clubs and restaurants across the country.
Interactive advertising that runs on the TouchTunes Interactive Network creates a connection with its audience while they browse for and play their favorite songs. TouchTunes combines compelling entertainment in social, fun and exciting locations with interactive advertising that reaches the right people at the right time: when they're most receptive to the right brand message. The company's patented touch screens encourage users to participate with brand messaging, such as that of ABSOLUT PEARS Vodka, through a variety of promotional elements such as banners, full screen billboards, quizzes, surveys and flash movies. This is "pull" and "push" at its best: messages are delivered through a balanced and engaging mix of entertainment and marketing.
Some companies in the interactive OOH space defy easy categorization. Monster Media is one such example. Their flagship interactive solution, MonsterVision, which has been used by companies such as Lexus, Orbitz and HBO, allows people to directly interact with large ads projected in high traffic areas in a variety of public places using only their body movements. These projections can be controlled remotely, giving sponsors the ability to modify ads depending on a number of factors such as the location and time of day. The scale and interactivity of the ads allow audiences to immerse themselves in the brand’s message.
Hypertag, a leading provider of proximity services, allows consumers to download location-relevant information and digital content -- such as games, music, vouchers and event prompts -- directly to their mobile devices from OOH advertising units using Bluetooth and infra-red technology. Hypertags attached to the ads detect phones either by proximity or user opt-in and allow advertisers to extend their sphere of impact by transmitting branded content onto consumers’ mobile phones. In March of 2007, CNN used Hypertag to do just that by installing interactive posters throughout the London City Airport which sent content to travelers' mobile devices. By providing data on the number of traffic from each site, Hypertag allows advertisers to review their campaigns and make ROI assessments.
Marketers are continually challenged to think of new and better ways to reach consumers and to drive their messages home. Innovative, interactive campaigns -- such as the ones now available in social, consumer-friendly settings -- encourage active participation and serve to increase the "stickiness" factor while creating measurable results. Interactive OOH takes the best of online, out-of-home and entertainment and allows marketers to deliver targeted, engaging, effective and measurable messages to an audience on a greater scale than ever before.
Revealing your motives is everything
Jenner did rebranding right (whether it was conscious or not) starting with an honest 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer in April 2015. In it, she came out as a trans woman and admitted that she had been struggling with gender dysphoria since childhood. She revealed the problems in her marriage to Kris Jenner and the events leading up to her decision to go public with the transition.
It was a shocking and very raw discussion that dove deep into very personal territory. No one can deny that it took an admirable amount of bravery to speak out on this issue, both for herself and behalf of the entire transgender community. More than 20.7 million viewers watched the interview making it one of the most viral stories of 2015.
The first lesson for brands is simple: rebranding is more than changing your look; it's about revealing your motives behind the change. Consumers care much more about your motivation than the action of rebranding itself. Remember 1985's New Coke?
Image source here.
Coca-Cola had no reason to rebrand and was universally loved when it decided one day to change its entire formula. It now goes down in history as one of the biggest rebranding failures of all time. One big reason it was not successful (besides the apparent lackluster taste) was because the public didn't know why it had changed. Coca-Cola gave no information to the public about why it had revamped its formula.
In reality, Coca-Cola changed the taste to compete with Pepsi and become a sweeter soda. Blind taste tests proved that consumers preferred more sugar. While we'll never know, New Coke probably would have found more success if they had just marketed to the public the truth: we thought you wanted a sweeter soft drink.
Revealing your motives is key to generate public acceptance. Successful rebranding's require honesty, and in todays environment it's very hard for a large brand to hid the obvious facts behind a big move.
Whether she knew it at the time or not, Jenner's revealing and emotional interview was one of the smartest decisions she made to take the next step and be embraced by the public. The transgender community still faces misunderstandings and disrespect, and her honest revelation of her motives, drivers, and feelings were vital for easing the public into this change and helping everyone understand it. Brands can take this as a big rebranding lesson if they want their reinvented image to be accepted by consumers.
Relaunch with a bang
On June 1, Vanity Fair published the cover of an in-depth cover story featuring Jenner's new name and look: Caitlyn Jenner.
Image source here.
It instantly became one of the most viral images on internet. It was her first public debut and an unprecedented bold PR move by the former Olympian. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Buzz Bissinger wrote the story, and the photos were shot by the acclaimed Annie Leibovitz.
While the cover photo was busy breaking the internet, Jenner launched her own Twitter account, reaching 1 million followers in four hours -- shattering President Obama's record for the fasting-grossing Twitter following. Her first tweet has been re-tweeted more than 270,000 times.
Exactly why she decided to go so public with her new image in such an elaborate fashion we still don't know. However, what is clear is that this bold move ignited a viral fire and introduced the new Jenner brand in an exciting way. Having listened to her reveal her motives in the April 20/20 interview, this new image wasn't something people were just expecting: they were anticipating. The public was on the edge of its seat to eventually catch a glimpse of the new transformed Jenner. When she launched her new look in such a strong and unapologetic way it sent shock waves throughout the social media world.
Brands shouldn't expect that their changes will necessarily go this viral, but the worst thing a rebranding can do is hold back and be timid when it launches. Consumers can sense apprehension and doubt. If a brand doesn't feel like it's proud of its new look, feel, or direction people will be able tell. That's never good when you're trying to relaunch and gain traction for a new image. The thematic manner in which Jenner relaunched herself holds many great lessons for the marketing community: spare no expense and focus on generating excitement.
Unapologetically own your rebranding and the public will follow
Since the Diane Sawyer interview, Vanity Fair shoot and Twitter account launch, E! has announced an eight-part documentary series chronicling Jenner's transition. She has not been shy about this move and has allowed unprecedented personal access into all stages of this undertaking. As a reality star and former Olympic gold medalist, it's no surprise that the media wants to cover this story. However, it was Jenner's choice to be so open and to grant the public such a private look into her personal transition. Since all the virality, she's been owning the new image and ignoring the hatters.
The support for Jenner has been overwhelming on social media. In just a few days, Jenner transformed herself from a reality show punch line to an icon for transgender equality and mainstream recognition.
Brands can learn a lot from this situation because all rebranding's -- personal or corporate -- come down to one thing: public acceptance. From the Tropicana repackaging debacle of 2009, to Radio Shack's horrendous attempt to be hip with "The Shack," rebranding disasters occur when there is a perfect storm of initial dishonesty (or the perception of dishonesty) a lame public rollout and an ultimate retraction or apology.
Jenner, while undergoing a personal change, took basic and relevant steps that marketers shouldn't ignore. By revealing your honest rebranding motives to the public, launching with huge fanfare, and boldly standing by your new image, any marketer can accomplish a successful rebranding and avoid the fate of so many past failed attempts. This situation -- regardless of how you feel about it -- is a microcosm of how to do it right.
David Zaleski is media production manager at iMedia Communications.
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