In the past 30 years, consumers have become largely numb to traditional forms of brand storytelling and messaging. In fact, a study by The Relational Capital Group, estimates that with the onset of digital marketing, the average consumer is now exposed to 30,000 messages per day compared to 500 messages, 40 years ago.
Consumers today are no longer phased by the big splash concepts or stunts, and are rather seeking ongoing, two-way conversations about their interests and lives in and outside of their favorite brands. However, amidst all of the noise, how do brands today tap into these not so easily impressed consumers?
The answer is in owning the conversation and the content. PR then has the advantage of already owning the conversation, as the strategic thinkers behind traditional brand messaging. Thus, content generation is a natural progression of the traditional PR process to elevate brand storytelling across varied media-rich platforms. Here are a few content staples to shuffle into your content mix:
Video. As discussed at the March PRSA Chicago luncheon, video has become a highly interactive platform for breathing life into a brand story. Thanks to the invention of iMovie, Animoto, and HD video via the iPhone and Flipcam, brands can bypass the hefty production costs of a full-fledged video crew, and film and produce their own videos instead without having to compromise on quality. Given that YouTube is now the second most popular search engine, video has become a vital tool for driving online dialogue.
Photos. As they say, a picture’s worth 1,000 words. With applications like Instagram, brands and consumers can edit and share photos of events and happenings on the go, and upload them simultaneously to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media vehicles where the brand conversations are ignited.
Infographics. Consumers love surveys, research and trends; however, they are crunched for time, and reading a 20-page research report is simply not on their priority list. Infographics, however, offer an opportunity for brands to boil technical information down into a digestible graphic that can easily be shared.
Polls. Consumers don’t have 15 minutes to bust out a Survey Monkey questionnaire regardless of the survey’s incentives or prizes. However, a quick Facebook or LinkedIn poll is a great mechanism for engaging consumers and then propelling them into conversation surrounding your poll topic.
Audio. In most offices it has become quite kosher for employees to listen to their favorite iTunes playlists. An audio webinar or podcast can serve as a very accessible and engaging medium for the busy worker bee.
Experiential. Sometimes the most effective means of breaking through the clutter is to plant consumers into a physical, branded event where they cannot simply “X” out of a desktop window. Not to mention, a strong brand experience often propels consumers into brand engagement online and offline beyond the experience itself.
It is important that these content mechanisms are not a replacement for content as copy, but alternative means for diversifying content, sparking conversations and breathing life into your brand stories. The content mix is constantly evolving and not every one of these ideas above may be appropriate for your brand, however as PR professionals, you have the benefit of having a firm grasp on the conversation already. PR simply needs to take the reigns of the content generation piece, and make engagement (i.e. conversation and content) king.