Linking Technology with Creative — How Brands Best Connect with Their Customers

By reimagining and restructuring the creative process (factoring in data, format, timeliness and technology), Patrizio Spagnoletto, CMO at SteelHouse discusses how brands can engage with consumers in more thoughtful ways — leading to greater successes

On average, 94 percent more total views are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images. The rush for attention in digital advertising has proven this true, but transitioning to a future with more compelling imagery is easier said than done.

Historically, big brands with big teams dedicated to developing beautiful and attention-grabbing creative have done this with ease. Additionally, we’ve learned that attention is best grabbed at the individual level, so personalization has entered the mix as a means to break through. Again, bigger brands have made inroads here, but small brands need savvy creative and ad delivery just as much as large brands do.

To further complicate things, most brands use time-intensive tools that lengthen the creative process and impede rapid response campaigns, which is key to landing messages in time sensitive windows.

Big brands excluded, building impactful ads that break through is really hard, and creative plays such a big role in being able to successfully do this. Every creative element of an ad — from imagery, to font and color, to the creative language used for storytelling — plays into the ultimate emotional response and purchase decision on the part of the consumer.

Personalize Using Data

But how do you really connect with the consumer? This will sound counter intuitive, but when you first consider what creative will resonate with certain audiences, you need to consider data as the creative foundation. Data gives marketers insights into not just their audiences, but how best to reach those audiences. When marketers have those answers, they can embark on the creative process. Data leads to insights which leads to creativity.

Good, personalized advertising answers a number of questions: Who comprises your audience? What are their interests, locations, demographics? Which types of devices do they use most often? On which devices do they actually make purchases, and what brings them to purchase decisions? These are all questions data answers.

And data-driven insights highlight the types of creative — best ad size, display, timing, content, targeting strategies and message type — that will be most successful for any brand.

Speed & Storytelling

An increasingly critical creative element is timing. Technology lets marketers quicken the pace in which creative is developed to quickly capitalize on conversations. Sure, the data tells you where, when and who to target — but you need to make sure you can deliver creative quickly to actually take advantage of those insights. Great insight is nothing if it’s stalled by reactive and slow processes in creative development. Marketers need the flexibility of being able to develop campaigns in matter of minutes so that they can inject their branding into real-time conversations.

For example, the Snickers #FreezingCold campaign was extremely effective, because it was timely and resonated better with users because of that timeliness. Furthermore, it was not your typical ad campaign — it was a tweet. When unprecedented cold weather hit the nation in January 2015 Snickers jumped on the opportunity to push out the #FreezingCold campaign on social channels. It consisted of a Snickers bar stuck in the snow with the phrase: “our nuts are cold, too.” A key reason Snickers was able to hook into the sudden drop in temperatures was because of how fast it was able to push out creative. The campaign results proved successful — exceeding the previous Snickers Twitter impression average 63 times over and interactions 245 times over. It’s a great example of why marketers and advertisers need to lean on technology that actually gives them the freedom to launch creative in real time, or “tweet time”.

Power of Format

Ultimately, every element of an ad carries weight — but advertising doesn’t always need to take the same forms. Visually, there are a number of ways to captivate an audience, and you don’t need to hire a designer when you have powerful but simple to use technology in your back-pocket. Countdown timers, product carousel, multiple scenes, animation, and video all offer unique visual elements to any campaign that can often have more success in capturing audience attention than the more traditional formats.

There are a number of different visual options marketers use to attract consumers, and consumers generally respond differently to different formats. For example, campaigns with ads featuring video generate 9X as many post-click site visits as standard display ads. If a videographer is not an option, technology can step in with creative video advertising capabilities. Additionally, the incredible access to imagery and different creative formats available give marketers the opportunity to create ads from scratch, use their own content or pull user-generated messaging from social platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.

Catering to Devices

Absolutely critical to delivering the best creative campaigns is to make sure they render appropriately on the right devices. Consumers are watching, engaging, sharing and definitely buying across multiple devices, while increasingly on the go. This multi-device ecosystem gives marketers an opportunity to have a lasting impact with their ads — touching consumers through every medium, device and channel. While data may tell you which is the right screen on which to target a user, creative won’t look right across every screen unless it’s been customized for that device. Technology now gives marketers the tools they need to cut and adjust ad sizes so that they fit perfectly to screen.

Creative is just as much about display as it is content and any ad that’s not optimized for mobile screens will get lost in the shuffle.

Ultimately, the marketer of the future is someone who is able to balance data and technology with creativity. She is armed with tools to make ads stand out and resonate better with consumers. She knows weaving technology into the creative scope does not take away from its originality — it enriches it. It reimagines and reshapes the creative process in a way that will not only help brands sustain relevancy, but also engages the consumer in a more thoughtful and powerful way. Let’s face it: consumers deserve no less.

This article was originally published on MarTech Advisor

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