The Way Forward: Is your agency asking the right questions?

A powerhouse trio—David Alberts Chief Creative Officer of MOFILM; Jamal Edwards, founder of Urban Music Channel SB:TV; and Mark Adams, founder of social influencer network The Audience—discussed how to make marketing work strategically and socially, and how to be culturally relevant. Here are a few takeaways.

1. The three Fs To meet the demands of our content-driven world, agencies need to create content that’s nimbler, more engaging, and cheaper than before. “The marketing F words in our industry: fresher, faster, fraction of the cost,” Alberts said. To do so, companies will be defined by their ability to be open-sourced versus closed. Ideas can come from anywhere. When The Audience saw the “selfie” hashtag catching on, it recognized the opportunity for the band The Chainsmokers to create a song about it —the YouTube now has 145 million views.

2. Be distinctive Edwards spoke about the importance of being different and not creating the same things everyone else makes. He said he always looks at brands to see how they can be part of content in a credible way and make it part of the audience’s lifestyle. He noted P. Diddy as an example of how to do this successfully.

3. Curate and innovate Brands are deeply under-nourishing social platforms. Content is nourishment. If you just pump crap out there, it’s basically just like pollution. That said, don’t be afraid of making stuff. If you’re open to new things, make them and test them out; the more experiential you can make things, the better.

4. Brand publisher, not publicist Brands need to act like a publisher with their own voice and point of view. The Audience worked with Ogilvy & Edelman on Unilever’s Dove Sketches, but with some hesitancy. But the campaign worked because Unilever was thinking like a publisher. “When you think of the reach brands can get if they act like publishers…. this is the theme of the week,” Alberts said.

5. The new networks If you are culturally relevant, you can make yourself into a network. People who do this—whether they’re creative thinkers, filmmakers, celebrities, or musicians—are replacing traditional agency networks.

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