The future of marketing is live – plan for it


Chris Hall, CEO of branding automation business Bynder, discusses why rock solid brand guidelines are essential to achieving agility in marketing

Startup businesses have the reputation for being a lot more agile than larger incumbents. Nick Taylor of Accenture Strategy UK and Ireland explains that “experimentation is essential to organisations looking to get ahead in the digital era”.

It takes a lot of work, however, for a company to be truly fast-moving in its marketing. The way that media is being consumed today is also adding pressure for brands to communicate quickly but brands have to be completely confident in what they’re communicating. Particularly if you’ve just started establishing a brand, that can be challenging.

Future predictions

Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter announced at this year’s dmexco that the future of Twitter is live. Speaking via video conference with WPP CEO, Martin Sorrell, the social media tycoon described a wholly new livestreaming aspect to the online service now used daily by over 300 million people. Dorsey also announced a deal with the NFL to livestream 10 of the league’s 16 Thursday Night Football games through Twitter next season.

Dorsey has indicated the move is part of making Twitter the ‘go-to’ hub of real-time news and event content. We’re seeing more players in advertising and publishing go down this avenue. The popularity of live social platforms including Snapchat (and now Instagram Stories) and Facebook Live show that there’s a huge opportunity to engage audiences as enjoy real-time events on digital platforms simultaneously.

So what does this mean for companies building their brands using these ‘live’ platforms?

Marketing agility: Planning

With all eyes on a particular happening at a given time, brands can reach huge audiences if they tap into trending topics. They must approach ‘live’ marketing with caution though. Although social platforms are demanding marketers to be spontaneous, it doesn’t mean the platform should be used if they risk breaking the rules of their brand. Ultimately, what this means is that dynamic marketing needs to be achieved with great planning.

Every company, no matter what their size, should ensure rock solid brand guidelines and foundations are in place. An effective collaboration and streamlining processes is key to achieving this, and a branding automation tool can facilitate the process.

If brands already have assets that are approved and ready to use, they can be much more agile in their marketing. Having a clear brand identity, values and a tone that the whole company is bought into, means that marketers can do ‘on the fly’ marketing not only more safely but faster than before.

Having a foundation of branding materials and processes may make marketers sound like brand police, but in fact it’s the opposite – they actually become brand heroes. Marketing departments must be able to give individual and local marketing teams the freedom to colour, just within guidelines. Having an approved bank of digital assets easily accessible means that marketing can be confident that they always have a starting point which is on brand.

Prepping ‘real-time’ content

It’s crucial to remember that something delivered at the right time doesn’t necessarily have to be created in real-time. If it’s delivered in the right moment, that’s what makes it feel real time to the audience.

For example, when Gareth Bale was sold as the most expensive footballer, Innocent, the smoothie brand, jumped on the news and shared a tweet about what could be bought with the equivalent money. Gareth Bale doesn’t have anything to do with drinks but Innocent’s marketing team had identified a clear brand personality and had advance assets at their fingertips to be able to produce a fun and engaging image for social media quickly.

In addition, during the Olympics brands like Visa ran ads about the events in Rio de Janeiro. They capitalised on the Olympic spirit but based the campaign on their own brand messages and guidelines.

There are times when brands should refrain from taking immediate action and marketers must know how to behave in challenging circumstances that could put their brand in danger. Just this week Trump referenced Skittles negatively on Twitter by comparing a bowl to the refugee crisis. Skittles chose to respond by issuing a statement to media rather than evoking live discussion on Twitter and has been praised for its response.

The opportunity

The fact that we are living in this mobile first world means that the relationship between real world events and digital content is getting closer. Marketers must be ready to take advantage of the ‘live marketing’ environment but cannot risk rushing to market with a half-baked concept. With digital assets in place that represent the brand, marketers can be confident that their approach is within brand guidelines and in line with business goals. There’s no risk that live marketing can go wrong.