Broadcast vs. digital-first
What is the role of TV in the new media environment? Most brands continue to see TV as a one-way broadcast medium -- a platform by which we can deliver marketing messages that consumers should simply absorb and remember. In this world view, digital is an add-on -- a means of overlaying an interactive element onto what is primarily an old-school sledgehammer-to-consumer-skull effort. Little more than checking a box. You know the drill. Or perhaps I should say mallet. The brand blasts away a nice "strategic ad" over the airwaves, but spends 7 percent of the budget pushing some "viral" or "social" effort that essentially asks consumers to spit back the broadcast message.
Fortunately, a few brands are leading a transition. They understand that TV is no longer a broadcast medium so much as it is a mass distribution channel -- one that establishes awareness for a larger campaign effort that gives consumers a real role in shaping and communicating the brand essence. These are "digital-first" brands. That doesn't mean they necessarily spend a larger proportion of dollars on digital. Not at all. Rather, they use all media -- traditional and digital -- to seek out consumer participation. Participation that is channeled through digital platforms.
It might sound like a nuanced difference, but it really isn't. A good digital-first campaign has participatory experiences that consumers seek out; TV simply grows the awareness for such efforts and uses its unique experiential qualities to make the larger campaign more vivid and impactful.
We all know a little prime-time can blow the doors off awareness and seed an idea to a broad audience. With such a foundation, literally millions of people seek out interactive experiences that make the campaign and brand a vivid part of their lives.
Here are five brands and their efforts that showcase the power of the digital-first model, along with one brand that really needs to embrace this approach.