What does swiping right and an emoji have in common?

March 26, 2015Uncategorized

Rethinking channel strategy

We marketers can sometimes take ourselves a little too seriously.

We can get a little too caught up in the business, the process, the ROI and the corporate cycles; a bit too focused on ‘appropriate’ channels and formulated personas. So much so, that we forget the old ‘surprise and delight’.

And it’s easy to lose sight of where our target audience is really spending their time.

Content’s king, but channel’s queen. When you’ve got your story nailed, it’s vital to determine the best channels to distribute those stories effectively to the people you want to engage with them.

channel-strategy-birchboxInnovate and experiment

When you think about your brand and the stories you want to tell, do you stop to think about where your audience is really hanging out? Do you take a moment away from your own process, the corporate babble and the ‘key messages’ to truly ‘get into bed’ with your prime persona Aidan or your key target Kim?

Film company A24 certainly did when it set about launching its sci-fi film Ex Machina– almost literally. Where might a bunch of their target audience (young guys) be? On Tinder, of course.

Ex Machina– by account an interesting movie delving into the provocative questions of artificial intelligence – debuted at South by South West (SXSW) in Austin last week. One of the tent-pole music, film, interactive and creative festivals in the world, SXSW itself is a great ‘channel’ and a smart place for A24 to first screen its film. There were certainly enough creative and ad types there to generate good conversation about its controversial topics.

But remember: ‘surprise and delight’.

channel-strategy-loveRelevant, contextual, authentic

When devising its channel strategy, the film distributor clearly thought about where else its audience might be spending their time. Then it considered relevant, contextual and authentic ways to not just deliver content, but actively engage with individuals via that channel.

With over a billion swipes per day, it’s clear a big chunk of Ex Machina’s potential audience are hanging out on Tinder. So, fish where the fish are. This cleverly orchestrated stunt, down to the way ‘Ava’ eventually interacted with those who she ‘matched’ with (and followed up via text), asking questions relating to “what it means to be human”, was contextually relevant. The whole concept was closely tied to the questions raised in the movie itself about AI and whether it’s possible for us to fall in love with a robot.

channel-strategy-miracle-groTry something new

When Miracle-Gro realised it needed to position gardening away from an ‘old person’s hobby’ to something cool for everyone to enjoy, how did they go about targeting a younger audience?

They broke out the emojis. Combined with Twitter and mobile, it’s a beautiful new channel strategy right there.

In what it’s calling the world’s biggest crowdsourced garden built from plant and flower emojis to celebrate spring, Miracle-Gro is attempting to attract the millennial version of Gladys and Norm to its gardening products.

channel-strategy-birchboxCaptive audience

I’m a big fan of Birchbox. I love the content this subscription beauty box start-up does, as well as its innovation and focus on simplicity.

I also like the fact that it tries new things, but in ways that make ‘aha’ sense. On my way to the Intelligent Content Conference (where I am right now, here in San Francisco), I was delighted to be handed a little box of amenities on my JetBlue flight.

Being a company that built its foundation on selling subscriptions of beauty samples, of course an airline amenity kit is the perfect ‘channel’ for Birchbox. The fact that content is included in (and on) this box – snippets of content and information that conveys the Birchbox personality – as well as discounts for passengers who login online using the ‘Birchbox + JetBlue Travel Essentials’ code, adds even greater impact to this kit as a channel.

“If you don’t compete in terms of stimulation you run the risk of being ignored,” Dr Carmen Simon said speaking at the Intelligent Content Conference (#intelcontent).

Stay tuned for my next blog delving deeper into Dr Simon’s very powerful perspective on neuroscience, dopamine and breaking patterns that your viewers, users and customers have come to expect.



Looking to revisit your channel strategy and need some advice? Get in touch: