Compared to simpler days, entertainment marketers now have almost too many options for promoting their brands. Then again, the fast pace of digital has consumers quickly bored, so innovating new ways to reach your audience is a challenge you must accept. Here's how:
1. Use social analytics to understand where your audience is
You might think you have the greatest Twitter campaign idea in the world – but if your audience is addicted to Snapchat, you won't have much impact in Twitterland. Consumers are fickle creatures, with frequently changing preferences. You have to keep up with those changes or fall behind.
NetBase offers a Complete Guide to Social Media Analytics that covers all the nuances, but basically, you want to know what interests the people in your audience share, so you can create customizable segments for individualized messaging. And you want to know which channels they love most, and the content that gets them buzzing and sharing.
Once you get in touch with consumers' most passionate wants and needs, you can use those insights to power your approach and design a campaign unique to your target audience.
2. Shake up a competitor's strategy
Creativity is the cornerstone of marketing, but you don't always have to reinvent the wheel to create something new. Sometimes a twist on the familiar is all the innovation you need. What are your brand's competitors having success with? Can you shake things up a little and offer up a new perspective without having to start from scratch? Do it!
Need an example? How about Sprint brilliantly resurrecting Paul Marcarelli, Verizon's "Can you hear me now?" guy from 2002 to 2011? They took a familiar face and tagline, and repurposed it for their own brand. Genius.
3. Put consumers to work
One of the biggest advantages social media has brought to the marketing world is the democratization of consumers as marketing partners for their favorite brands. Whether it's beauty or fashion blogs talking up skin care and clothing lines, or a tribute Tumblr for “Game of Thrones,” consumers are all about promoting their favorite brands — some simply for the love of it, and others for the perks of free products to review.
So what can you do to bring consumers into your brand's marketing strategy? Contests, loyalty rewards, a stake in the company by way of product development are all great options — especially if you offer up something unexpected in the mix.
Consider Purple, the new mattress company taking the world by storm with their egg-test promo videos narrated by a snarky Goldilocks. It's not surprising the company's Purple Pillow Kickstarter raised more than $2.6 million – over 105 times their $25,000 goal. Their campaigns are great — though it doesn't hurt that people really want a good night's sleep. And the perks offered to backers.
Kickstarter isn't exactly new, but established companies using it to finance new initiatives is. It works because when people really love a brand, they want to be part of the process. That's how the Veronica Mars movie got made, after all. At the time it was an innovative move for Rob Thomas to use the crowdfunding platform to finance a major Hollywood release. Now innovation is expected – and necessary to survival.
4. Innovate systemically for future success
It's not just brands that must innovate new products to keep ahead. Brand marketing departments, and external marketing agencies as well, must constantly strive to deliver new strategies to stand out amongst competitors. To accomplish this, innovation must be a constant endeavor — as intentional and organized as any other business function.
Why? Because as Brightidea's Joey Greenwald writes, "Innovation doesn’t happen overnight. Presenting your company with a challenge, finding a solution internally, and pushing for results (and knowing when to quit and try another idea) takes time."
The longer you wait to start, the longer it is before you see results — whether you're hoping to create the next big live video platform to engage your audience or something fun and silly like Snapchat stickers. Consistent, measured effort is always your best bet.
What will that mean for your marketing? That's up to you — but you don't have to overthink it. If Kim Kardashian West can innovate the emoji world with KIMOJI, anything is possible.