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The big advertising shift towards purpose 

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In 2015, audiences on social media platforms hit a critical mass. Brands suddenly needed to find a new way to speak to consumers. It seems unthinkable now that we all create thousands of video formats for single ad campaigns but it was a much simpler time back then.

Fuelled by the increasing power and consumer use of social media platforms, brands can now reach audiences directly. For the first time in advertising history, they can own the direct-to-consumer relationships

However, according to Richard Wilson, CEO at creative production agency CLICKON, the on-going challenge is that it requires the perfect mix of creative expertise and technology to get that conversation right. 

The importance of inspiring stories 

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There’s no better way of getting to the nuts and bolts of who you are and what you do across to a consumer, than by telling your own story

It sounds simple, but everyone’s ideas of stories and content differ. It’s important to tell compelling stories at scale about the people, the work they do, the lives they change. It’s like opening a door into the beating heart of an organisation. 

One example is America’s Navy. They’d realised that the ‘chest banging’ big TV ads in and around blockbuster movies weren’t working, so instead they started telling great stories. It was important to inspire people at a grass roots level and explain why people joined the Navy

Which as it turns out isn’t to become GI Joe, it’s to be given a sense of purpose and a real-life mission. This type of brand communication is only something you get through documentary style storytelling. 

Fusing digital publishing and storytelling 

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Publishing requires technology expertise, and creating quality original content requires creative expertise. In recent years we’ve started to receive more and more requests from clients to deliver a thousand video assets in five days. It was clear that demand for content wasn’t going to go away, so we started investing in technology to help the creation process

Challenges occur in video ad delivery when you get overloaded with requirements, so you need technology to do the heavy lifting. We built and scaled technology to help with ever-increasing demand for thousands of video assets and evolved into a hybrid creative and technology company – fusing together digital video publishing with storytelling and documentaries at scale. 

AI powered production 

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Brands need to adapt to change. Gone are the days when brands can send people to every corner of the globe for different projects. If you were going to build a global company today – you’d likely build at least half of it on technology and the other half with great people – with the understanding that sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is the future of business. 

Brands are looking to do more content creation in-house and they need technology to help them do it. And because we’re travelling less, they also need access to remote teams all over the world. Using technology drives cost and time efficiencies, reduces carbon, and all the while needs to be supported with human creativity. There’s no other way. Technology isn’t ever going to replace creativity, but they can work side by side as equals. 

The automation of creative content isn’t going anywhere, if anything the need for it is increasing. When everyone thought Facebook and Twitter had reached their pinnacle, along came TikTok. Ultimately, more brands will adopt technology to help tell better stories at scale, because demand is only increasing. 

Augmented Reality (AI) can do a good job at streamlining processes and understanding what audiences like. It can’t however replace human empathy or create content in the same way, content ultimately needs that human touch. If for example, you’re trying to create award winning long form video content, you’re unlikely to find AI that can deliver it in a way that truly resonates with people. 

Adopting technology, creating great content, and standing for something will be key to brand and business success over the next three to four years. Automation will be part of the mix – but it will ultimately be brands shifting their approach towards creating more content at scale. Then, of course, they’ll have to adapt again in the next five to 10 years to contend with the metaverse.

Advertising with purpose and meaning 

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Looking at YouTube, Netflix, and the host of other TV channels and platforms available, it’s clear that long form video content remains incredibly popular. Brands have a powerful opportunity to move away from ad campaigns using solely short form content and 60 second TV spots, to sharing long-form video series relaying compelling stories.

Whether it’s employees, people you’re selling to, or people you’re helping, brands should look to craft authentic stories. Across every campaign, make sure it links back to something that has real purpose and meaning

When you’re running an ad campaign, make sure you’re building a journey back to something that stands for something. From long or short form content to a story about who you are, make sure you show how you’re giving back and what you mean to the world

Consumers care more than ever about a brand’s purpose and values – which they often check before they purchase a product or service. Think about how you as a brand can help both consumers and your employees as individuals to give back. 

That’s the new big shift that’s starting to happen, which brands, publishers and advertisers should overlook at their peril. 

Header image by Michael Edward Stephens

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