Social Media: not just a post-production bolt on

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The days of the huge budget 30 second commercial are waning; not over; but waning. The fact of the matter is that the playing field has changed and marketers are changing with it. Does that then mean that TV and the much celebrated 30 second prime time spot are history? Or is there something else.

The inspiration for this article came from an interview that Andy Fennell gave to Ad Age a few weeks ago. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Fennell (yes, he is so inspired that I shall address him as Mister); he is currently the Chief Marketing Officer for Diageo plc., arguably the world’s leading premium drinks business. It produces beverages such as Johnnie walker; J&B (yip, they are from the same company); Guinness; Captain Morgan and a few notable others. As cool as this is though, it is largely irrelevant for the conversation at hand.

We want to talk a little bit more about how and where social fits into its over all marketing strategy and further to that; what has happened to its “go-to” marketing friend, the 30 second TV spot. (Yes, I know I said “marketing” friend as opposed to “advertising” friend; it was not a mistake — I am talking about the greater marketing arsenal of which advertising is a part.

Essentially what Diageo are doing incredibly well is that it has an innate understanding of social media and its ability to be used as an advertising (and therefore marketing) tool.

This might have caused a little momentary flutter in a few of you. Remember social media is not dedicated to marketing; social media principles transcend your organization as well as your target audience and can be used in many different ways; we have just chosen to assume that social media has the best fit within the marketing world!

Back to the point at hand, Diageo have realised and understood that social media is brilliant at taking what used to be incredibly expensive story-telling to the masses at a fraction of the cost and the time.

The trick is to ensure that your planning and execution include your social channels from the very beginning. Facebook and the like cannot be bolted on as and when you feel like it. They need to be treated as integral parts of your campaigns.

As Mr Fennell says, the way in which you tell the story on a social channel has changed the format of the story; but it has not changed the fact that advertising is still about story telling. The “art” of a viral video that used to have to exist as owned media (paid for media) can now live and breathe as earned media (media that others deem worthy of sharing).

One of the biggest things that I take from this is that; social media (no matter where you use it within your business) is not an opportunity to be lazy. In fact, all the contrary, now with the proliferation of content and the speed at which it gets shared marketers are having to be even more vigilant about what they are producing.

The real world concern that I have is that too much focus and attention is placed on creating marketing this is super funny and award-winning creatively; where the real value and emphasis needs to be placed on how this is impacting your businesses bottom line — if you can do that while being creatively awesome then your marketing will exceed greatness!

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