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Consumer-Centric Videos or Creative-Led Advertising? You Choose

Authored by Umesh Bopche, Vice President, Brands Services, Prime Focus Technologies

Today’s modern consumers are fully immersed in their hyper-digital worlds and capturing their attention can be a Herculean task. Given the competitive landscape, running effective marketing campaigns and building customer loyalty has never been tougher for brands. Marketers often have to choose between creating consumer-centric video content or producing creative-led advertisements. 

What’s the difference between these two, you ask? Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson sums it up well in his quote “we need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”

Marketers have to look beyond just selling their products or services. Instead, they need to tell powerful stories about their offerings – stories that resonate with their target audience and inspire them. They need to deliver experiences that consumers can relate to. People are ultimately products of their environment. So, if you want people to buy your products, your products have to become an integral part of their environment. Nobody likes being thought of as a sales target, but people do like receiving news and information about the things they care about. Brands need to tailor their marketing strategy accordingly.

We live in times where a single piece of communication can go viral within minutes and lead to massive social media following. This in turn can drive marketing content creation decisions, and content can even be created by prosumers themselves. Consumers have never been more powerful, and brands need to catch up to this reality.

Today, video is fast emerging as the most powerful medium to engage, educate and entertain consumers. Videos are far easier to comprehend and share than say, text-based messaging. However, with demanding, distracted viewers calling the shots, grabbing eyeballs (and holding them till the end of the video!) can be extremely difficult.

Here are a few pointers which brands can keep in mind while devising the blueprint for their next marketing campaign:

  • Consumers ignore creativity that ignores consumers & hence the need for “make it simple but significant”
  • Content lives longer & adapts much faster. While advertisements have a shorter shelf life, the content is always available & shareable
  • Consumer-centric content is two-way communication. Content allows engagement of the viewers & also takes their feedback. Advertising is one-way communication as it only asks the consumer to buy
  • Creatives only aim at selling a product while consumer-centric content gives something valuable - it either educates or engages and hence attracts more audiences
  • Consumer-centric content attracts audiences that have similar likes while advertisements interrupt the viewers who have come to a platform to view something else
  • Consumers tend to ignore ‘creativity’ that is not intrinsically relevant to them. Videos need to be simple, yet significant and consumer-centric in order to capture their attention
  • Ideas live on far longer than advertisements. While advertisements have a relatively short shelf life, powerful ideas can be evergreen and worth sharing at any given point in time
  • Products shouldn’t always hog the spotlight. It’s more important to focus on the benefits they deliver, and how these benefits can bring about a positive change in users’ lives. Product-led messaging often does not inspire trust and makes it difficult to build customer relationships. This ultimately impacts revenue.

The most effective marketing campaigns cannot be created in a flash of insight. Multiple ideas, experiments and extensive user research go into the making of each successful campaign. Creativity is undoubtedly a vital component, but being focused on the needs, challenges and aspirations of consumers is key. As renowned business speaker, Michael Brenner rightly said, “behind every piece of bad content is an executive who asked for it”. Our advice - avoid being one!

 

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