From VR and augmented reality content to influencer marketing, new inventions and practices in media are allowing brands to tell their stories in new ways.
These tools are making marketing professionals more creative and strategic, and branding experts are getting excited about them.
Now that Instagram has announced that its Explore tab will also feature ‘stories’; rolling posts that disappear 24 hours after they are posted, brands are interested in how they can use this to engage new audiences.
The Explore tab provides users with content from Instagrammers that they don’t already follow. No other social platform makes discovering new content this easy and, in theory, it opens up huge opportunities for brands to engage new customers and widen their pool of influence.
However, new opportunities also present risks, particularly if brands haven’t effectively prepared or don’t properly manage the digital assets they will use with a new marketing channel or tool.
Too much content, too many channels
The reason the risk is large is the sheer number of channels and amount of content that marketers need to work with today. For example, research shows that 50% of marketers have more digital content than they can effectively manage at the moment.
In addition, the pace at which media moves is increasing rapidly and brands need to be on the pulse of real time conversations.
So, while we are more connected than ever, there’s more chance of inconsistency or error in communicating your brand and its value if you’re working across hundreds of touchpoints at speed.
Whilst dictating what content can and can’t be created may make marketers sound like brand police, this isn’t the case
Solving this problem is all about digital asset management and that starts with communication and collaboration. In the past, a company’s branding was represented solely by their logo and tagline.
However now brands need to be able to work together across the whole marketing ecosystem, and from offices around the globe. The media world no longer sleeps – there’s an opportunity 24/7 and global teams need to be ready to seize it without asking for ‘final approval’.
Being able to communicate about projects and agree approvals in the cloud allows brands to align their marketing content with the entire global brand experience and ensures that the strategy is not diluted when content is distributed across different channels and markets.
Collaborative, cohesive campaigns
To ensure that branding is cohesive, marketers cannot treat Snapchat Stories as an ‘add on’ to their current campaign.
Brands need to be agile to integrate new tools into wider strategies.
Having strict brand guidelines and an agreed strategy in place ensures that businesses can be consistent and authentic in their communications and respond to breaking news and trending topics quickly.
Another challenge to consider on Explore is that up until now, brands have been highly targeted with their content on Instagram, speaking to those who are following them directly and who are already fans of the brand.
Now that brands can be found organically, they will need to appeal to a mass audience whilst keeping their brand personality and producing content in line with their guidelines.
This means that everyone in the organisation needs to have an understanding of what the brand stands for so that all assets remain on brand, even for real time when fast turnaround content is required.
Ultimately, in order to make the most of Instagram stories, brands need to ensure that they have processes in place that make using a real time platform effective and safe.
Whilst dictating what content can and can’t be created may make marketers sound like brand police, this isn’t the case.
They can be brand heroes when they empower the communications team around them to use marketing channels that offer new opportunities in ways that protect brand integrity.