In football, the best quarterbacks are always ready to pivot to a new strategy to keep their opponents guessing. Even at the line of scrimmage, they can call out on the spot changes to improve their team’s chances of winning.
The best marketers take a similar approach with their paid, owned, and earned media strategy. Today, flexibility is key and knowing your audience is more important than ever, running against so many new and emerging cost effective options.
Traditional approaches simply aren’t bringing the same returns, told us James Hendriksen from a famous internet marketing tutorials site. Especially, if you’re not tied to a broader branding effort. So if this is the case, what strategies do work in today’s marketing climate?
First, we’ll look at General Electric’s Unimpossible Missions campaign. In 2016, GE released a series of videos that challenged the wisdom of common sayings. In one video, GE engineers proved that a snowball does really have a chance in hell.
In another, they showed audiences how to capture lightning in a bottle. A third example illustrates that you can in fact, fight fire with fire. These short YouTube videos were accompanied by empowering brand messages, like we love doing things that supposedly can’t be done, or imagine all of the other impossible things that we can do.
To produce these projects, GE marketers not only had to come up with a fun concept, but also enlist the knowledge and talents of their engineers.
The end result made for viral ready conversation starters that both humanized the brand and demonstrated their ingenuity and value as a company.
Next, let’s take a look at an integrated co-branding campaign between Audi and Airbnb. Also in 2016, Audi and Airbnb teamed up for a video called Desolation. In it, you see a family living out in the desert realizing they’re out of coffee. So, the father gets in his Audi R8 sport coupe and zooms off to a tiny coffee stand in the middle of nowhere.
Just as the husband realizes he’s forgotten his wallet, another Audi pulls up. The window lowers. His wife says, “Forget something George?” And, they speed off toward the home. The commercial ends by informing viewers that this could be reality.
They can actually book the house in question and drive the Audis through Airbnb. So, here’s what you can learn from these examples. Don’t blow your budget on paid media. Just like a quarterback can’t keep going to the same play, brands just can’t buy ad time and hope for the best.
Data shows that customers are increasingly willing to pay a premium to avoid ads. Brand choreography helps vary your playbook. Optimize owned channels. GE, Audi, and Airbnb use blogs, websites, and social media to engage their audiences. Coupled with a good content marketing and social sharing strategy, owned channels can generate more attention and better engagement than paid channels.
Earned media is word of mouth on steroids. The videos in these examples are short, fun, and ready to share. This is great, because research shows that people trust peer recommendation such as shares, retweets, and user reviews more than any other form of media. While paid media certainly has it’s place, a strategic focus on owned and earned media can inform, educate, and even entertain in ways that paid media simply can’t.
So ultimately, the best brands know to choreograph every effort in service of a larger brand message to create better engagement and deeper customer experiences.