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How to avoid digitally defacing your brand

How to avoid digitally defacing your brand Chris Gomersall

We all know the internet is not TV (thank God). The internet is a place where advertising can listen back. It's a place where conversations can be started and the consumer can actually enjoy interacting with a brand. It's a place where brands are spending time and money to give me, a consumer, things that I enjoy using, viewing and sharing with my friends.

And guess what? I like it. I like it a lot. Perhaps I'll consider this brand in my next purchase.

Don't you wish it were that easy?

The best part about integrating your brand online is that it CAN be that easy. If advertisers take the time to think about what consumers want, it's easier to give them something they might enjoy.

Think about all the people that have enjoyed years of fantastic Super Bowl television commercials. The reason they're so powerful is because the advertisers that create them know their target audience. I've had the privilege of conceptualizing for a Super Bowl commercial. The brainstorming session usually starts out with "how do we get our message to a room full of obnoxiously drunk sports fanatics who love getting together with their friends?" Well, at least we know our target.

The "series of tubes," otherwise known as "the internets," can be used in the same way. Digital marketing gives marketers more power than ever to understand their targets and gain insight into how to integrate with them.

Did you catch that? Integrate with "them" meaning "the people," not the rest of the elements of the offline campaign.

Yes, traditional marketing will always have a place in our hearts. However, it's definitely important to bring your newest campaign online. But to create a captivating integrated campaign, it involves more than just resizing print ads and adding 15 seconds to your TV spot. Integrating with people in the digital space is an art.

Look around at all the digital applications that embrace who people are and how they act. For example, social network applications, iPhone app stores, interactive digital billboards, full video websites, digital magazines, interactive TV, user-generated content... the list goes on. These are all powerful avenues with real people and real numbers attached.

Without getting too Big Brother on you, even the simplest digital initiative can be tracked. You can see how many people saw it, how many people interacted with it and for how long, how many of them bought it, how many of them signed up for emails or became a fan on Facebook.

Here's a test for you:

If that last paragraph made you think about the amount of people you could reach, you fail.

If that last paragraph made you think about the quality of the relationships you could make, you're ready to be a digital integration superstar.

Getting your message in front of as many people as possible doesn't mean they're going to act on it or even like it for that matter. It might even backfire and damage your brand. How can advertisers avoid digitally defacing a brand? Tread lightly and it will carry a big reward.

Let's look at a couple of recent success stories:

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1. Verizon Wireless/ Nokia/ Batman Dark Knight campaign

It's really hard to compete with an offline marketing initiative of a blockbuster like "The Dark Knight," which ultimately turned out to launch the biggest opening weekend in Hollywood history. The Verizon Wireless/Nokia team certainly had a huge challenge ahead of time, but leveraged the power of digital to put a new spin on a top-of-mind title.

Users were recruited both offline and online to "Join the Fight for Gotham" and side with either the Dark Knight or The Joker to access all the intricacies of Gotham City online.

The key to the robust, 3D online city was actually the Nokia 6205 ("The Dark Knight" edition phone) itself and all the exclusive content that was on it.

In addition to the Fight for Gotham, users could upload a photo of a friend and have them committed to the Arkham Asylum, where the user's face was actually incorporated into a video of the asylum's worst villains.

The viral part of the campaign garnered a record-breaking 250 percent email open rate, and the campaign itself was a huge success both offline and online.

Digital campaign components included online display ads, viral pass-along video, website, mobile game, contest, digital signage, in-theater, email campaign and more.

2. Seth MacFarlane / Google Original Content / Burger King

"Family Guy" is hilarious, and its viewership is a good indication of its demand.

Google recently made a move to secure a deal with writer/producer/creator Seth MacFarlane, and Burger King jumped on board.

It used to be that when a brand partnered with a show, they would get a pretty art card right before a commercial break and, if they were lucky, a game-show host would give them a nice "presented by" voiceover.

Burger King certainly did it right by integrating its brand, rather than sponsoring it.

Seth MacFarlane actually illustrated The King and incorporated him into the comedic pre-rolls before the cartoons in a way that made sense and was funny. You know funny, that thing consumers expect from Seth MacFarlane -- making Burger King a positive association.

By the way, I saw the actual King at the premiere of the "Cavalcade of Comedy" and rather than carrying burgers around, he was flanked by two hot blondes. They even integrated him into Hollywood! Does it ever end?

The integrated campaign is nicely rounded out by a contest on the BK YouTube channel where people can enter to win the chance to buy Seth MacFarlane a meal at Burger King, and a dub-machine where users can dub their own voices over Seth's new Google original content.

How can you better your digital integration? Below are four tips to enhance the integration of digital components in marketing programs:

1. Know that big ideas can, and should, come from everywhere, especially digital agencies. The best ideas spawn from collaboration between brands, traditional agencies, digital agencies, media teams, trend-spotters, programmers and even consumers. Any combination is a good combination with the right mindset.

2. Ensure that your media, creative and technology teams are sleeping in the same bed. I'd like to quote my good friend and co-worker, Joel Lunenfeld, here because I use this analogy all the time: "It used to be that media agencies would buy space on a shelf and creative shops would come up with ideas to fill that space. Within the last decade, the internet has allowed media, creative and technology to work together to build new shelves anywhere, everywhere and in-between."

3. Don't be afraid to take risks with digital because the content you're competing against knows no fear.

4. Rather than looking for tried and true methods, jump on the opportunity to try new things in the digital space.

The moral of the story, digital is an amazing place to be right now. However, before you launch, make sure your pilots have the proper training.

Chris Gomersall is executive creative director at Moxie Interactive.

Chris Gomersall is the founder and CEO of ATOMIZED, a marketing software company in Atlanta, GA. Previously, Chris was a Creative Strategist at Facebook and Instagram where he collaborated with the world's biggest brands and agencies?, filed...

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