“The word ‘purpose’ gets thrown around hugely these days,” started Jaimie Fuller, the founder of sports performance brand SKINS.
To be purposeful, meaningful and authentic are watch-words for today’s marketer – and this is especially true when it comes to mobile (a consumer’s constant companion) and video (still our most engaging and emotive medium).
Fuller was speaking at LoopMe and Creativepool’s DeepDive event Mobile Video: Create Meaningful Brand Experiences, a breakfast briefing for client-side marketers held in London on June 9.
He told the audience: “We are trying to do something deeply meaningful and truly authentic when it comes to purpose. There are lots of brands leaping on the band wagon but if you want purpose to work you have got to be brave and pioneer.”
For SKINS it meant defining what it wanted to stand for, beyond a tagline or brand platform. It meant moving from being a brand that celebrated great sportsmen and women, to one that celebrated great sportsmanship to one that actively condemns acts of cheating or corruption and lobbies for the reform of sports governing bodies.
It has campaigned for change in cycling’s world bodies, enlisted shamed 100m star Ben Johnson and even taken on FIFA. In each, video has played a significant part in getting the sports brand’s message out, such as the short film ‘Hypocrisy World Cup’, part of its #NewFIFANow campaign.
“There is no question that there are [also] commercial aims,” he said. “This is a marketing strategy but it’s rooted in principles. It is rooted in our DNA.
Now, the strategy has come full circle – after four years of activism the time is right for SKINS to “do something positive. Said Fuller: “Wouldn’t it be great to use the power of sport to change things in the world?” It is now campaigning for gender equality, LGBT, racism, mental health and domestic violence. “SKINS exists to make a difference. SKINS as a brand stands up – and SKINS stands out.”
There is little surprise, said LoopMe’s Pete O’Mara-Kane, that a small brand such as SKINS is having a big impact in its world because of both its message and the method of its delivery.
“Whether it is 30 seconds, 15 seconds or a few minutes, great video will hold people’s attention,” he said in his presentation Making Video Advertising More Intelligent.
He spoke of how artificial intelligence is impacting the advertising world, yet adds “maybe we haven’t embraced technology as we should”. Intelligent learning can make a massive difference, he added, together with new tools such as location data that enrich a customer’s journey both literally and figuratively.
“We need to use advertising data and AI to make much more meaningful connections. It is not about clicks or forcing someone to watch a video. It is about changing people’s actions. If we can deliver messages that are more engaging, personal and relevant things like ad blocking become less of a problem.”
It was a point expanded on by Phil Shaw, global director of product and innovation at Ipsos Connect who spoke about measuring the metrics “that matter” and decried the perverse incentives happening right now in advertising.
“It matters in business the metrics that we set to judge success,” he said – and those will probably not be click-through rates (CTRs). Yet CTRs are still the number one way to measure mobile, according to eMarketer research, even though “there is no relationship between the people who click on an advert and those who go on to make a purchase,” he claimed, citing Quantcast. “They found that they were just ‘clicky’ people.”
Another anomaly is that of ‘fat thumb syndrome’, whereby many ads – as much as 60% - are clicked on accidentally.
It’s why a marketer must employ behavioural and attitudinal surveys as well as web analytics. “There is strong evidence that mobile can work. Data from ComScore shows that mobile can often be more impactful than desktop.”
He also pointed to research from Google and Ipsos on smartphone owning Millennials. The results showed that mobile video was more engaging than even TV viewing – 53% of mobile viewing was done so in solus, as opposed to just 20% of TV.
He suggested three techniques to use in a mobile-first landscape: make the first five seconds count; optimise to context; reach the right audience through tech such as programmatic.
Finally, event host Rik Moore, head of creative strategy at Havas Media led a panel discussion with O’Mara-Kane; Katherine Sollers, DIGITASLBi media director; Nathan Cook, head of planning at Isobar and Amir Malik, Trinity Mirror’s programmatic digital director.
If mobile video is a brand’s most potent medium for building brand awareness and developing consumer relationships, how can marketers make it more effective yet, he asked?
Sollers said that when looking to engage a mobile campaign, the key question agency and brand should interrogate is what is the customer journey? “What does it look like for the consumer to become a customer?” she asked. Today, that is unlikely to be a journey from A to B, but a more circular, holistic path and one where intent and mindset can be hard to ascertain.
Cook talked of the disruption that mobile in general and mobile video in particular was bringing. “Everyone talks about the industry being disruptive and it actually is.
“Instead of battling with consumers to force them into channels, how instead can we create a value exchange with that user,” he asks. “Video is not just advertising. It is useful, it is a service proposition as well,” said Cook, pointing to ‘How-to’ videos as an example.
For Amir Malik, programmatic digital director of Trinity Mirror, mobile is growing in importance for the publisher as a way its readers connect with the brand, yet making it a commercial reality is somewhat harder.
A year ago split between readership on mobile and desktop was 60/40 – now mobile accounts for 85% as opposed to 15% on desktop. “It is empirical and unquestionable. But the shift in ad spend isn’t.”
He said that from a media owner perspective it is still a severe struggle to translate the shift of mobile into revenue. Another issue includes restraints on creativity. However, data will help get publishers through the shift to mobile. “We need the right ads targeting the right users,” he added.
He suggested that the priority in programmatic right now is “in profitability, not in creativity or delivery of service” and urged brands to interrogate their agencies as to where spend is going and how.
The panel agreed that mobile video budgets were increasing though Cook noted that there was still a reticence to transfer spend from TV to mobile video or even thinking of them as “together”. He said: “The next big step is collaborating with clients and really proving the effectiveness of mobile video.”
Or, as LoopMe’s O’Mara-Kane, suggested, using the tools already at hand to create an almost unfair advantage. “Artificial intelligence is the legal steroid to boost all of our campaigns – but so few people are using it to its truest potential.”