At Gullan&Gullan it’s been our experience that some clients are inviting their digital, advertising and PR agencies to collaborate in working on one big idea for a brand. At other times, when we are the 360º agency of record we are required to conceive and produce a big idea and apply it across 360º. Its been our learning with both scenarios that what’s important is not who comes up with the big idea but rather the quality of the idea and its ability to be applied to above- and below-the-line mediums, online PR, offline and social spaces.
With such divergent marketing channels, we’ve found that the criterion for a big idea has changed. What makes an idea big used to be how simple and creative it was. Now, its how well an idea can integrate in the various spaces, and increasingly its ability to leverage the influence ecosystem to engage audiences, online influencers and create measurable change.
What’s more, big ideas in 360º spaces move fast. They need to engage consumers and other online influencers with relevant content. A good example is a recent campaign we launched for Unilever’s VO5 hairstyling range. The campaign is called “The art of stylin’” and can be seen at www.artofstylin.co.za. The campaign encourages consumers to get creative with their hairstyles, and upload an image and then get their communities to vote for them. This campaign employed a mix of paid media (banners and Facebook ads), earned media (traditional press coverage and online news), owned media (company-owned website and blog) and shared media (social media, including blogs, Facebook and Twitter). The campaign is proving to be a wonderful success that is certainly exceeding our clients’ expectations. One of the key features of the campaign is that we gave consumers the opportunity to own the brand and made use of existing brand consumer influencers and online influencers to rally support, interest and participation.
The most valuable media in the world is the media you can’t buy, and the influence and endorsement you can’t pay for. This is why integrated big ideas that include PR disciplines will be what most brand ambassadors will be looking for from their agencies. PR agencies have never had the luxury of paying for their clients’ messages, which is why our PR disciplines are at the core of our quest for an integrated big idea.
As PR professionals, our job is no longer doing a press conference or syndicating media releases, we build engagement with enthusiasts to create credibility in multiple communities and media spheres. In the past it was acceptable to get a brand story published in the newspaper. Now, we aim to get engagement in the social space and when we do we have to ask––how can we amplify this and produce valuable content to help it go viral. We have to start thinking more broadly than we used to, in terms of content as a brand asset that needs to be managed.
As the quest for the big idea has evolved, Gullan&Gullan have come to realize the importance of hiring staff that are well-rounded, flexible, transcend boundaries of their core skill set and have the ability to thrive with constant change. The campaigns that worked five years ago may not be relevant today. Constant awareness of the media landscape is absolutely necessary to keep ideas fresh and relevant for both media and consumers.