New skills for a new age
- March 2012
- Interviewed by CMSO Forum
- In this new digital environment, the interface is the brand. The customer touch point doesn’t just deliver the brand message – it is the brand. And in a socially connected world, customers demand new ways to communicate with brands.
- Companies need to avoid “traditional digital” (replicating traditional behavior online instead of innovating). Use the unique properties of the interactive media and device to tell a compelling brand story.
- Companies need to “connect the dots” in their on and offline advertising efforts and across all customer touch points to create a seamless experience that delights the customer.
The interface is the brand
“The essential mission of agencies has not changed since the heyday of modern advertising in the 1960s. The best tell a compelling brand story, and choose the most relevant media available to do so. That once meant memorable print ads with striking images and well tuned copy. Today, it’s about “ideas and innovation.” The socially networked world demands new ways to communicate the brand message. The interface is the brand.
Recent research suggests that more than a third of people go online and watch TV at the same time
People don’t ‘go online’ anymore – they and their devices are constantly connected, always-on. This connectedness brings transparency and a loss of privacy for consumers. At the same time, many people embrace this openness: the things they do, the brands they like, and how they spend their time in this digital world become part of their self-presentation. They’re broadcasting their own news ‘Channel Me,’ 24 hours a day. In this environment, it’s not enough to think of your Web site or your Facebook page as a channel for your brand content. Instead, your interactions with your customers define who you are.”
Going beyond “just digital”
“Many companies today fall into the trap of ‘traditional digital’ – they simply move their traditional marketing and sales approaches on line. But real innovators use the possibilities technology offers to reach out in new ways. Right now, this often means using the unique properties of the devices and technology to innovate.
Percentage of breakout participants who said they rely on a few internal lead users to build digital marketing skills in their teams
Let me share an example of what I mean: an international beverage giant that sponsors a popular sports league learned that most fans watch the games alone at home. To build community spirit and make watching more fun, the company introduced a smartphone and Facebook app that lets stay-at-home spectators communicate with one another to guess outcomes of individual plays throughout the game. This approach also capitalizes on the growing trend toward ‘dual-screen behavior’: television viewers go online to chat with other fans, submit questions, or otherwise respond to the shows they’re watching. Using mobile technology to create this kind of brand-based communal experience is a new approach. It also conveys the brands passion for football in a meaningful way that resonates with fans.”
Connecting the on- and off-line dots
“Of course, companies are still interacting with customers in the ‘real’ world. But consumers today move seamlessly between the physical world and virtual reality of networks, apps, and online environments. Creating links between their online and offline experiences is a great idea, but the message has to be consistent and the pieces have to add up. One US telecoms company recently ran a major billboard promotion touting its services for bloggers. But consumers lured to the company’s Web site to learn more came away disappointed – a search for ‘blogging’ turned up no hits at all. Misfires like this hurt the brand’s credibility.
- To thrive in this challenging environment, companies need managers who thoroughly understand how interactive channels work. The McKinsey Capability Center for Digital Marketing provides hands-on training programs to equip marketing and sales managers to meet the ever-evolving challenges of connecting with today’s customers.
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