Innovation Can Come In The Form Of Emotional Connection
We agency owners are a fortunate bunch. Thankfully, we have a lot of great digital and technologically advanced tools at our disposal. But as a leader of an agency where innovation is the way we push the envelope, I often like asking myself this question: Does technology offer the best answer when it comes to creating emotional connections?
At a time when everyone is looking for everlasting engagement, focusing on human experience is the best way to generate more than just eyeballs and awareness. Creating meaningful connections between the brands we represent and their best customers is the most exciting part of our agency existence.
It's becoming increasingly more difficult to have your brand stick with customers who are, on average, touching their phones more than 2,600 times a day. Half of young people are addicted to their phones and the average time spent on the phone is five hours.
I am a big believer that bringing together the experiential marketing that touches all five senses with digital engagement is the best combination to create lasting memories, especially when offline engagement is dear to customers' hearts. This includes old-fashioned community outreach, hand-shaking without devices in hands or ears and creating the most original form of social media content: talking to one another.
Below are some tips for creating innovative campaigns that resonate with consumers on an emotional level.
Understand And Engage Your Audience
When your team is afforded the privilege to incorporate experiences that connect people emotionally, make sure that your imagination and creative planning are anchored to the brand’s positioning. The first step is to ensure that everyone involved in the project has a clear understanding regarding the brand personas or best customers. Who are you connecting with in your outreach efforts?
For example, one of our clients is focused on positioning innovative products with a group of customers we refer to as "trysumers." These people are looking for new products not recognized yet by the mainstream, but they often want to test out products at no or low cost before they commit to a purchase.
With this in mind, we could use social media as a starting point to identify and engage these individuals by offering contests that encourage interaction and let them experiment with the products.
The goal should be to engage users in a way that they want to purchase more products or services in the future. Not only does this open the door to the path to purchase, it also provides you with valuable information about your audience members, who you can then retarget at a later time.
Understand The Mission And Align Partnerships With Purpose
The second step is to align your campaign recommendations with the brand's mission and purpose. When those pillars are in place, you can then move on to identifying strategic partnerships that represent a good fit.
Forming strategic partnerships is a special art and requires hands-on experience with brand development, PR and sometimes corporate philanthropy. The first step is to identify partners that share common values, culture, programming, audience, social responsibility and outreach efforts as your brand.
Pulling from our example above, we knew the client's mission was to get innovative products in the hands of trysumers. Based on that core mission, we had to find a partner that also valued innovation, education and that could bring a community together. To engage our audience with products, programming would be important. As a result, we partnered with museums focused on education, innovation and STEM on a series of free robotics demonstrations for children. Helping children explore new territory enabled us to initiate conversations that foster an ongoing connection with the brand. Plus, in many cases, these parents and families are the very trysumers that connect with our client’s mission.
Any successful partnership has to work on many levels. Before approaching potential partners, spend a good chunk of time researching an organization -- the first place to start is social media. Then, look into the programs, events and opportunities they could provide to your brand. Certainly, the human factor is important, too. The right fit will determine the success of the collaboration and create alignment between the two organizations.
Why should organizations that stand for "everything innovation" care about these sorts of opportunities? And moreover, why should other organizations be mindful of how to use community outreach to their advantage?
For starters, we need to remember that social aspect is key to people’s happiness. Just because we are promoting innovation as a central brand ethos for many of our clients, the roots of innovation start from conversations with people. Listening to one another can be the most powerful market research tool.