Nov 23, 2016

Remaining relevant: communication lessons from the entertainment industry

Howorth’s senior account director Liam Fitzpatrick asks whether content has lost its crown?

Whichever way you cut it, we’re consuming more than ever – 462 minutes of media per day according to Roy Morgan.
And we’re producing more than ever too, with 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and 5.75bn likes on Facebook every day.
But looking at eMarketer figures, 75% of marketers are going to be decreasing their budgets this year. So we’re left with the question, how will marketers get the same cut-through?
By cutting back on traditional above the line TVC campaigns and more content marketing apparently.
That’s the verdict from some of the entertainment industry’s finest minds who came together for Mumbrella’s Entertainment Marketing Summit in Sydney last week.
Olivier Robert-Murphy from Universal Music Group was the first to fire shots over the change marketers need to get to grips with, as he proposed the four Ps (price, product, place, promotion), have now ultimately been replaced by the four Es (engagement, experience, exclusivity, emotion).
“Millennials crave experience over product and by focusing on the four Es with humour, can build loyalty in an age of brand apathy,” says Robert-Murphy.
This change in mindset requires a shifting of skills and focus – a transition that Mumbrella’s very own Miranda Ward believes the PR industry is more than capable of adapting to.
When we sat down with the new deputy editor, she said: “As audiences fragment, brands are now asking how we get our story out there and PR is perfectly placed for that. I think PR can flourish as they’re already doing the content for a lot of campaigns.”

But wait.
Without wanting to use too many content-laden clichés, isn’t it quality rather than quantity? Well yes and no. Speaking about personal branding and getting material out to audiences, Bondi Hipsters’ Christian Van Vuuren said his initial aim was just to get something out every week for a year.
And for the first 47 weeks he did exactly that.
Van Vuuren’s advice was ‘’some stuff will be great, some you won’t be too proud of”, but you learn and iterate to what your audience will appreciate. And sometimes timeliness trumps quality as topical issues will lose relevancy quickly – see Brotopia, a response to Nomadic Thinkers.
Speaking on topicality and its importance, Miranda Ward said her team had done a lot of Trump coverage in the 24 hours after the election result, which looked at marketing’s reaction to the news.
“You need to be reactive. We looked at what our audiences would want and that dictated our output.”
And it’s the same for PR agencies with comment pitching, topical hooks for thought leadership or even reactive brand campaigns off the back of the news agenda.
No matter your industry, the end result should be to create memorable experiences for your audience. Taking them on a journey.

As celebrity chef Neil Perry eluded to: “Our goal is to create great memories for our customers, we just happen to be in the food sector.”
Great brands, as Neil remarked and Simon Sineck has spent years advising, know why they exist and capitalise on that – every part of activity becomes one long extension. A joining of the dots…if you will.
And we in the communications sector need to consider the art of narrative and focus on the science of storytelling. It’s a subtle technique but one which requires us to understand our audience better, their values, perceptions and alignments. And building on insights, we need to craft angles which resonate.
As our global chairman, Chris Graves, recently said, “If your audience can paint a picture in their mind from what you’re telling them, that’s going to be more successful.”
Chris Graves was speaking at PRIA’s National Conference this week, outlining how important framing can be when trying to persuade people. It’s not just the vocabulary but seeding an image in someone’s mind rather than talking in the abstract.
We need to address potential concerns in the audience’s mind before we plan campaigns. And aim to connect with the desired consumer in a way that feels appropriate to them – sometimes the world of advertising comes across as interruptive, so best to be useful first. As the BBC would say inform, entertain and educate!
So whether you’re a media planner, PR exec or a CMO remember to create content that will really resonate with your audience and stay authentic to your values.