Media Redefined: Moving digital out of the toy shop
by Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) I recently attended the Red & Yellow School Digital Showcase where a number of different agencies presented their take on digital. (Alright, I didn’t attend but watched it on Facebook Live which, for something like this, definitely counts.) The day reminded me of a visit to Hamleys, with most speakers and agencies unveiling a series of cool things they had done in digital.
Just like walking through a toy shop, the expectation from the audience was to be amazed by each reveal. It highlighted for me one of the main problems I have with most digital ideas I see. The focus is always on the WOW: “Here is this new thing that will be a first in the country using this cutting-edge tech that will just be awesome. We will give it a hashtag and, before we know, it will become a movement. And if it doesn’t, it will win us an award.”
This approach fails to answer two fundamental questions.
1. Why are we doing digital in the first place?
A colleague put it very simply on the day: It’s not about creating digital ideas; it’s about creating ideas for a digital world.
This immediately orientates thinking around consumer-centric, touchpoint-neutral ideas that are grounded in a consumer insight which might or might not include digital in the solution, dependent on consumer behaviour. As consumers become more digitally orientated in their behaviour, digital will naturally become a part of the idea.
Creating digital ideas force-fits digital onto ideas and results in the random sparklers that populate digital awards shows these days.
2. What does success look like?
Looking at lot of the case studies on the day, I got the sense that the wow of the idea was meant to overshadow any conversation around return for the brand. Even when mentioned, it was more in the usual award-entry metrics of “global conversations” and a gazillion impressions that, again, look great but have zero substance and lack credibility.
Every idea should be grounded in meaningful return numbers that will help shift a client’s business. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Every brand is very interested in the power of digital to help transform their businesses. Dazzling digital ideas might seem like the obvious solution but are often nothing more than a distraction. It’s time for agencies to get out of the toy shop, and develop ideas that harness all the right touchpoints, digital and non-digital, for all the right reasons. Only then will the true power of their ideas be harnessed.
Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) is managing director of Connect, an M&C Saatchi Company, with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Martin has spent 18 years in the industry, and has previously worked at Ogilvy and was MD of MEC Nota Bene in Cape Town. He contributes the monthly “Media Redefined” column, in which he challenges norms in the media space, to MarkLives.com.
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