Once you’ve decided to take the plunge into brand advertising, and you’ve determined your company is ready, you’ll need a game plan.
We all aspire to advertising greatness, like the inspirational “Be Like Mike” campaign for Gatorade, or the longest-running campaign of all time: the Clio Award-winning “Mikey Likes It” ad for Life cereal. I would love it if we could create a campaign with that kind of resonance.
My company, Tile, just introduced our first-ever brand campaign. While we’re new at this, here are four things I’ve learned along the way:
1.Get your story straight.
We wanted to tell a story that would help us foster an emotional connection with our customers. Airbnb did a brilliant job of this when they introduced their “belong anywhere” campaign. One of the videos, “Never a Stranger,” tells the story of a young woman who discovers herself while living in someone else’s home (she even hangs out with their friends!). A company that started out as a more affordable way to travel suddenly became the provider of a universal desire — wanting to belong.
At Tile, we already knew people felt strong emotions about loss: we can feel sad, ashamed, angry or frustrated when we lose things that are important to us. (That was the reason I founded Tile: I wanted to help my wife, Camila.)
Before diving into a big campaign, we asked ourselves if anything changed about our company, our customers or the world around us. We read through reams of feedback and conducted market research to learn what mattered to our customers.
We learned they like that our app allows them to help other people — family, neighbors, and even strangers — find the things they’ve lost. By helping others, they feel more connected, which makes them feel more hopeful. We decided to anchor our campaign on those feelings.
2. Figure out where you are on the spectrum.
Ask yourself where you want to land on the outcome spectrum, which runs from “inspire” to “activate.” Inspire is meant to drive attention. Activate is meant to encourage an action, such as joining a community or making a purchase. In our new campaign, we wanted to hit both ends of the spectrum. We also wanted to educate consumers so they could understand how our product works.
3. Make sure your creative team stays true to your story.
Our brand team worked with Deutsch and filmmaker Mark Molloy (director of Nissan’s “Shoulders of Giants” — an ad our whole team admires). Together they crafted a short film that was based on a true story about a little girl who lost a stuffed animal in Times Square and found it later with Tile. They imagined what it would be like to be that little girl, missing her best friend and wondering where he is.
4. Be consistent and cut to fit.
Once you land on the right story, tell it everywhere, from your website copy to your promotional emails — even the street. Earlier this year, KIND, a healthy snack maker, pulled a clever stunt in New York City. The company piled up boxes of sugar — nearly 46,000 pounds of it — to show people how much added sugar children in the US eat every five minutes. They even sculpted kids out of sugar! While the out-of-home campaign was meant to raise awareness, it also promoted the company’s new, healthier “fruit bites.”
In our case, we cut our two-minute-long commercial into a 30-second spot for TV, a longer video for YouTube and a short, 15-second teaser video. We also created a series of short informative videos featuring the same characters from the commercial. In the weeks leading up to the video drop, we put 10,000 “Lost Panda” posters up all over New York City and San Francisco. On Instagram and Twitter, we encouraged people to share pictures of themselves with the poster.
In advertising, repetition is key. The more ways you can reach your audience, the better.