I’ve become a huge fan of the AMC series “The Pitch,” a new reality show that pits competing ad agencies against each other to win the account of a large brand.
It’s like watching a sports game, but the game is a business. In the “behind the scenes” you can see how even the losing team wins. You see how hard each agency works and how they each approach the creative process.
Still, there were a few things about the show that were bothering me. Despite all the talk about “social” these days, the focus felt distinctly traditional.
Flipping through my Twitter stream the other day, I saw from someone I respect, Ariel Dos Santos that I wasn’t alone.
Proud I finally picked the winning concept on #thepitch. Social business principles seem to be missing though. Need more than ads.
— Ariel Dos Santos (@agds) May 8, 2012
While the ideas that they come up with are (sometimes) exciting and inspiring, they are decidedly one-way in their approach.
The anchoring concept seems to be “the commercial,” something I find doubly ironic since the people who are creating/doing most of the work are the so-called “Digital Natives”. Do “digital natives” watch commercials? I would bet not.
In fact, I have watched all the shows on DVR (shout out to my Windows Media Center) and haven’t watched a single commercial in 3 episodes. In other words, the creative process of making the commercial is actually more interesting to me than all of the commercials in the show itself.
I suppose this is the ultimate nod to the power of “Content Marketing” and “Brand Journalism” in today’s world of fragmented audiences and tools allowing us to block out interruptions of all kind.
And that is one of the things, I believe, to which Ariel was referring.
- Be a Storyteller
Instead of a commercial, which is about interruption, tell a story that gets people involved in your brand. In a social world, as Sprinklr sees it, this is the function of the Content Manager.
- Community-Source Ideas
Recognize that good ideas can come from anywhere. This is one of the key roles of the Community Manager which we at Sprinklr see as not just a moderator, but someone who can find good stories for re-purposing (and why we give them the tools to identify and route these ideas all over the org).
Now, I will say that the leveraging of Mac Lethal by the McKinney team (episode 1) was a good example of this, but it was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of possibilities and finding that “big idea.”
- Start the Conversation
Why not use the print or TV to drive people to social properties where their preferences and interests could be further explored? Or, even better, where they could (for free) amplify idea that the brand began? With the exception of one funky mobile play, I haven’t seen much of that. In Sprinklr’s mind, this is where the Subject Matter Expert and the Social Strategist MUST be integrated and coordinated in any/all campaign planning. Otherwise, you are leaving a lot of potential Social activity on the table. Big miss. What’s more, there are not thinking multi-channel here…so many different ways to extend the campaign via social and engage the community.
- It’s More than Marketing
Once upon a time, marketing was its own siloed function. Not anymore. Now, any campaign that you start is going to have social ramifications (whether you plan for them or not). Customers will tweet/post/video about the brand and it could impact HR, PR, Customer Service (which is why we have specific focus areas on these) well beyond marketing. None of those folks seems to be in the room with the VP/Marketing and his/her team. They need to be. In our mind, this is critical to doing Social@Scale (which is what all of these brands will be doing when they launch these campaigns. The only question is whether they will be doing it well or not.)
- Metrics and Governance
We’re definitely not seeing much talk about measurement of the campaigns. What’s more, we’re not seeing much from the agencies about how they will help the brands speak with one voice when the campaign goes beyond their one-way broadcast approach. You need an Escalation plan and you need a corporate-wide system of reporting so that the can measure the impact of the effort (when it does spill over into social) in terms that relate back to the business.
Maybe I am asking too much for a 1 hour reality show that is already really good. I just think that there’s a danger here, which is that agencies and brands will default to playing to their strengths of broadcast and not continue to drive social business principles into every single corner of their communications efforts.
- Blog by Jeremy Epstein, @jer979, Sprinklr VP of Marketing