I was just reading one of my favourite fashion magazines, one that is pretty good at keeping its finger on the pulse of all things fashion forward. In it, they predict the fall fashion forecast as a season in which designers are heading back to basics, possibly fuelled by the wiggle and jiggle of a Jello-like economy. Back to basics got me to thinking about social media, technology and marketing … and why it’s always good to go back to the basics once in a while, especially with technology moving ahead at lightening speed.
Prized Pigs Anyone?
Marketing began as a media exercise way back when horse-drawn carts delivered milk right to your door. Advertisers would purchase space in local newspapers, and in exchange would receive advice from the paper’s sales reps about who read which parts of the paper (demographics) and where the ad would be most effectively placed. Trouble was, a lot of the advertising of the day was editorial in nature, and therefore didn’t stand out from the content. So pictures became a necessity. One sharp rep realized that they could sell a heck of a lot more ads if they threw in free creative … and before you could say “ad agency”, creative became the carrot on the stick that drove the media buy. But like all good ideas, the notion of free anything caught on and before they knew it, everyone from the newspaper to the shoe-shine boy was offering free creative services. So how to sort the wheat from the chaff? Taking a cue from a prize pig at the fall fair, the Creative Awards Show was born … out of a need to rationalize advertising effectiveness in a society that still counted on its fingers (the calculator was still decades away). Creative Awards shows helped to prove that cleverness counted for something … and by gum, the more an ad “broke through the clutter” the more memorable, and therefore effective it became.
Knock, Knock …
That principal has remained the driving force behind many creative engines. And over the years, lots of ad buzz words have come and gone, from USP to top-of –mind-awareness to brand activation and brand evangelism. But in the last half-decade or so, our focus has begun to shift from a simple brand-memory exercise (brand recognition, remember the benefit) to one of engagement with our brands.
Sssh … Don’t Wake Up The Baby …
Today, social marketing and digital marketing is in its infancy – and like all things in their beginnings, it’s good to remember where we’ve come from, before we hit the refresh button on our social networks and sign off on our multi-million dollar media plans (if indeed our Jello of an economy is getting a healthy dollop of whipped cream in the 4th quarter.)
Knowing your audience and understanding where you’re taking your brand with a clear idea of how you’re going to get there … and finding fresh new ways to say and do things, will get us where we need to go, so long as we remember the basics … and stick to them.