>> Wednesday, September 9, 2009
No question that the digital age has changed how we live, how we interact with each other, and how we experience brands. Gwen Korbel from our Account Management team gives her thoughts on how digital obsessions shouldn't change one of the fundamentals of marketing.
Hope this finds you well -- Jim.
Last Tuesday Garrick Schmitt posted a great article on AdAge.com titled “How Demand for Digital Experiences Is Transforming Our Physical Spaces (And Creating ‘Screens’ Where There Weren’t Any)” https://adage.com/digitalnext/article?article_id=138725
Among the wide range of primarily large-scale applications defining the landscape were
- The 555 Kubik project http://www.urbanscreen.com/video/_Video16.html, which had no marketing nor live audience interaction component and is captivating to observe
- The Livestrong Chalkbot http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/livestrong/en_US/chalk_messages, commissioned by Nike but focused on spreading messages of hope and inspiration, not product superiority
- And HBO’s Voyeur Project http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCr853VVo9c, winner of the 2008 Grand Prix Lion-Outdoor
Assuming most readers here are marketers, it’s likely you’re familiar with that last one. If not, please check it out for yourself, it did for digital outdoor what Gardasil did for unbranded marketing – set the standard, and set it high.
While I had a hard time turning away from the hour-long YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueJcRmfweSM, my mind keeps coming back to a more human-scale and pervasive transformation of our physical space: the smartphone.
Whether you carry a smartphone or not, they’re rarely outside your physical space today – the person next to you on the subway / in your meeting / at your dinner table is using one. It’s that last instance that troubles me – our expectation of constant input has grown (and maybe our manners have diminished) to the point where being in the presence of others no longer qualifies as adequate engagement.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy settling a bet with friends on the spot thanks to a smartphone and imdb.com: a group digital interaction that informs and entertains. But more often social experiences can be devalued, like when someone reads a new e-mail during conversation rather than looks at whoever is speaking. Foodies will tell you we eat with our eyes, referring to the importance of a dish’s presentation, but we listen with our eyes too.
I’m a big fan of the digital sphere and the ever-evolving access it gives us – at a minimum, I shop, research, and communicate online daily. That being said, I still value face-to-face interaction most, and prefer to unplug and experience people with my whole self, not just half an ear.
Looking at this from a marketing perspective, digital can and does allow you fresh, outside-the-box opportunities to touch consumers, but at the end of the day, is it generating word-of-mouth about a cool campaign, or is it creating a relationship with your product?
The most effective marketing continues to be the people who use your product, your sometimes unintentional brand advocates. They too are best heard with both ears, and both eyes.
- Gwen Korbel, Account Management at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness