Which platform should I be on? It's the question that haunts almost every brand and marketing manager, and like all heavy existential questions, there's no easy answer. The wrong platform can drag great content into the hazy nothingness of content purgatory, never to be seen by mortal eyes. And even those prophets of great marketing, the prestige agencies that have stood proud for decades, seem to have trouble getting it right.
Just why is it that the great platform pilgrimage is tripping up so many brands? And how is it that they can get it right with their strategy and choice of agency?
In the beginning
Back when there were only a few media platforms, specialist agencies made sense. You generally had the guys that were good at broadcast media, the ones who nailed the PR side, and the OOH experts. Let’s call it the Holy Trinity of marketing.
But then something happened. The internet slowly inched its way into every aspect of our lives and we all got smartphones. And suddenly, there was a lot more media out there, and as many ways of consuming it as there were Hindu gods.
Sure, you can still watch your favourite show (and accompanying ads) on TV. But maybe you prefer to watch it on a streaming service like Netflix or ShowMax. Or you just catch the best moments on YouTube. There’s no one standard way of engaging with media anymore.
What’s more, consuming a piece of content is a living process that reaches across other platforms, whether you want it or not. You want to be able to discuss it, praise or slam it on social media, share it with your friends, or even create your own content responding to it.
In a landscape where content simply can’t be contained by a single platform, it makes no sense to take a segregated approach to production. There’s no such thing as a TV or radio, or even a Facebook or Twitter campaign anymore. Every campaign is digital, and needs to take into account multiple platforms.
Renounce thy faith in specialist agencies
So how do you create campaigns that resonate with your audience in a world where they’re all scattered across hundreds of different platforms, each engaging with content in their own way? You need to stop worshipping at the altar of a few platforms and get agnostic.
A platform agnostic strategy is one that takes content and figures out how best to distribute it across a variety of different channels and devices. It’s output-driven, using whatever digital tools and media available to meet its objectives.
To execute a platform agnostic strategy, your goals need to inform the platforms you use, not the other way around. At Clockwork, we always start with the story our clients want to create, and think about what content and platforms are best-suited to delivering it to your audience.
With the sheer number of platforms and content types out there, it’s not easy to be platform agnostic. You have to work with full-service agencies that understand which platforms suit the brand story you’re trying to tell and the audience you want to reach.
An integrated agency understands the platform ecosystem that’s out there – which audiences lurk where, which content types naturally fit what platforms, and where your campaign goals fit into the picture. Just as importantly, it has the in-house expertise to be able to guide and execute the strategy to perfection.
Forget the differences between ATL and BTL, or digital and traditional – platform agnostic is the only way to go. If your agency is not integrated, the only way you’re going to get your message heard is through a wing and a prayer.
Want to learn more about great content strategy – join the Stories event on 23 November 2016 at The Campus in Bryanston. Click here to register.
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