5 New Year’s resolutions for marketers

By Ryan Deluchi

Setting resolutions is hard, especially when they’re work related. 

So this year, we’ve taken the liberty of writing some for you. 

Below are 5 cut-out and keep (or copy and paste in the likely event you don’t own a printer) resolutions for the year ahead. 

No gym memberships. No vegan diet plans. Just 5 helpful tips for being an even better marketer in 2020. 

Enjoy! 

Cast behind the camera to become more relevant 

Authenticity may be one of the most overused words in the marketing lexicon, but it is still crucial to effectiveness. It’s how in 2019 the biggest sportswear brand in the world was able to successfully capture the energy of young Londoners, marginalised by mainstream media, whilst a smart bike manufacturer managed to alienate…well, everyone. 

The key? Casting. But not just on screen. Everyone involved in a production shapes what the output looks and feels like. It matters whose lens you shoot through, and that ultimately dictates how authentic the end result is. If the work you’re creating is failing to land with your audience, consider if the people behind the camera are also the right fit. 

Be purposeful, but know your place 

2019 has been both a year of cause-marketing and a year of woke-washing – a reflection on how difficult it can be for brands to talk about purpose. Get it right and you’ll have Time magazine articles written about you. Get it wrong and you’ll be accused of hypocrisy and draw even more attention to questionable practises elsewhere in your company. 

One of the things that tends to trip brands up when talking about purpose is tone. How does a brand that likes to use words like ‘fun’, ‘energetic’ and ‘optimistic’ in its brand book talk about serious social issues without coming across as disingenuous? 

It’s a fine line to tread, but the brands that succeed will be those able to contribute meaningfully to the discourse on social issues whilst also recognising their place as a brand in the eyes of the consumer. As we witnessed spectacularly in 2017, that place is probably not at the forefront of a social justice protest if you’re a soda brand. But having a viewpoint on social issues that also fits with your product and tone of voice – just as OPI did this year – can go a long way to connecting on a deeper level with your audience. 

Engage audiences by embracing long-form (when it makes sense) 

The focus of social video in recent years has been on ‘snackable’ content, fuelled by the rise of scroll-based platforms and a misinterpreted belief that people’s attention spans are shrinking. Whilst quick ‘in and out’ advertising absolutely has its place in a marketer’s armoury, this trend has been at the detriment of long-form video that can be far better for brand building.  

One study of 1.5m videos found that whilst 80 percent of videos are under five minutes, they drive less than a third of overall video engagement, suggesting that shorter isn’t always better. In fact, marketers with eyes on mid-to-long term brand building in 2020 would be far better served by a video strategy based on longer-form video. 

But remember, as soon as a brand ventures into long-form territory it is competing against the likes of Netflix documentaries and podcasts for an audience’s precious time. An exciting place to be – but you’d better make sure you’ve got the creative talent at your disposal to make it a fair fight. 

Find your tribe and represent them 

Who does your brand root for? It’s not a question that marketers ask themselves often enough, especially in a world where we like to think our customers are the fans. But making a meaningful difference to a community is still one of the best ways of building relevance in the eyes of a consumer. 

There’s nothing new about this of course; for years brands have been attaching themselves to communities through multi-million sponsorship deals of sports teams and TV programmes. 

But there’s a big difference between being visible to a community and actively supporting it. With video, brands now have a tool that allows them to become credible members of vast fan communities, and in doing so build unprecedented brand affinity. 

Esports and gaming, for example, has quickly evolved into a multi-million dollar industry fuelled by highly engaged fan communities. This year we’ve helped Mastercard enter that world with a mix of player profiles, fan documentaries and ongoing community management that demonstrates the brand’s commitment to being a facilitator of Esports rather than just a corporate sponsor. Similar opportunities for brands exist in areas like music, fitness and art. 

Our basic human need to belong to something bigger than ourselves has not changed. Brands able to identify and support the tribes that we assign ourselves to will be the ones that benefit from our affinity in 2020. 

Be more effective by starting with a strategist 

A well thought-out strategy is still one of the most overlooked areas of importance when it comes to video production. But in 2020 there are simply too many variables at play to ignore it. 

With more audiences and more platforms comes a greater need to tailor the message to the medium – a basic marketing principle yet one that often seems to get ignored when it comes to video. Add to that the myriad objectives that marketers are tasked with delivering against in 2020 and it’s clear that one approach to rule them all is never going to work. 

The good news is that it needn’t be hard. The 10’s has undoubtedly been the decade of video, and with that a new breed of strategist has emerged that simply didn’t need to exist in the noughties – one that is able to understand macro brand thinking and apply it to the intricacies of video production and distribution. These people are smart, incisive and efficient (I know because I work with them). If you only do one thing to make a difference to your video effectiveness in 2020, make it this one. 

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