06 Feb 2012
Creatives around the country may shudder at the thought, but great data is now the driving force behind many of the best ideas and most beautiful ad campaigns. There is no need to be getting too downhearted however; data and creatives can be friends. Wi-Fi, Smartphones and in particular social networks now mean that live data can be collected in the form of location tags, ‘likes’, attitudes, mood, user content and check-ins. Of course data isn’t an entirely new concept to the ad industry. The difference now however, is that there is much more of it available, in many different forms. On top of this, it can be collected in real-time, ensuring accuracy and relevance and making it the basis for very compelling marketing material.
Previously, data mining and analyzing was confined to backroom geeks but the targeted marketing opportunities it now provides means that it has moved into the front room alongside creatives, no longer simply influencing ideas but producing them too. Even in its raw form, data can make unbelievably persuasive campaigns as data mash-ups, live feeds and infographics.
Great data speaks for itself, which is why it is not just the advertising industry that can benefit from the wave of live content now available. The Metro’s daily double-page spread (Metro In Focus) and the Guardian Data Blog are both great examples of how live content and data can be used to create clear, concise and persuasive journalism. In advertising, a number of brands have seized this opportunity, but there are still many who have not yet fully tapped into this gold mine. 76% of companies surveyed, still do not have a clearly defined social media policy, and only 27% of them regularly review their social media content. (Research by Grant Thornton) Marketers are often faced with an abundance of live data and content, yet very little knowledge on how to use it. Data ‘marketplace’ companies such as Datashift and Gnip have evolved, solving this problem by sorting and standardising data outsourced by clients such as Facebook and Twitter, before selling it on to data analysts or brands who can use it as the basis for an idea or campaign. This negates the need for in-house experts, but creatives must still work closely with ad scientists, keeping data at the core of everything they do.
2011 saw the beginnings of a movement towards this type of marketing – Below are a few brands worth mentioning:
Nike+ City Runs
For the launch of Nike Free Run+ 2 City Pack series, YesYesNo developed an installation for Nike’s retail stores to visualize a year’s worth of runs uploaded to the Nike+ website. Sensors placed under shoes allowed runners to bring their city (New York, London and Tokyo) to life. The visualisation not only mapped individual runs, but also the collective energy of everyone who was running in the city creating a dynamic and captivating installation.
Coca Cola closed a deal with 360i to handle the social media monitoring for all its brands in North America, giving them consistent and quality data to work with across their entire product range. Calculating 146 million views of Coca Cola YouTube content, much of which had been uploaded by fans themselves, it became clear that their customers not only love to watch, but also share and create great content. More and more, consumers control brand dialogue, but companies do have the opportunity to steer this dialogue in the direction they would like, so long as they step back and take a look at what their consumers want. Coca Cola does this very well and so decided to dedicate much of 2011 to creating lots of great video content opportunities for their fans to enjoy. The Happiness Trucks in Brazil as well as flying Filipino expats home for Christmas were just a couple of the stunts Coca Cola pulled last year. Their entire marketing strategy is named ‘liquid and linked’ and focuses on the changing media environment and real-time conversation, meaning their campaigns are always targeted and up to date so as to generate a maximum ROI.
10,366,841 Facebook page ‘likes’ and counting… a number that confirms Burberry fans, on the whole, are both keen social networkers and Internet savvy. With this in mind, Burberry decided to roll out their campaign for London Fashion Week online. ‘Tweetwalk’ was the first of its kind, allowing fans to get a preview of the SS12 collection before it had even been revealed on the runway to fashion’s most elite. Twitter was the perfect platform for the campaign, allowing Burberry to supply a real time feed of information, direct to its loyal fan base. The campaign proved to be a huge success; the ‘live’ element gave consumers a feeling of exclusivity as well as a stronger affinity with the brand, while sales soared by 34% in the first quarter of 2011 to a total revenue of £367 million.
Domino’s has taken a tremendous turn for the better and this is all because the brand looks at statistics, listens to customers and acts on what it finds in real time. When a damaging video found its way onto YouTube, it looked like the final straw for the already struggling pizza company. But instead of hiding away, the CEO responded immediately with another video and vowed to do better.
Turning to their customers, they encouraged criticism and guaranteed complete transparency in order to regain their trust. You may wonder how you go about convincing your customers you really mean what you say… The answer: Stream unfiltered comments about yourself on a billboard in Times Square. It was a ballsy move, but one that paid off. Last year the UK alone took $203 million and a record of $1.5 million in just one day, no bad feat for a company recently on the brink of bankruptcy.
Heinz and Qantas
Heinz and Qantas both experienced a serious technical glitch in 2011. This is where their similarities end however. One responded to the unhappy and frustrated customers whilst the other one ignored them, resulting in two very different outcomes. A quick response from Heinz meant that the marketing disaster was quickly turned into a positive branding opportunity. On the other hand, Qantas simply fuelled frustration by failing to respond to any of their customers, who then flocked to social networks to vent their anger. Particularly damaging I can imagine when 76% of the public say that they are influenced by friends recommendations when buying a product.
Brands are beginning to realize that ignoring the live data and content now available results in missed opportunities and unsatisfactory customer service. A new era of advertising is upon us with more and more brands looking for effective and interesting ways to transform these insights into compelling marketing and advertising solutions. 2012 will be an exciting year as brands experiment with new ideas, moving forward towards a new age of advertising.
The Cloud Real Time Index
We will continue to report on who’s doing what in real time marketing throughout 2012, finishing with an end of year whitepaper on all the best bits. Follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page to receive day-to-day updates on what’s going on in the world of real time and check out our blog for longer articles.