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Creative agility isn’t a luxury, it's a requirement

Creative agility isn’t a luxury, it's a requirement
Trigger Social founder Stephen Wise highlights why creative agility is crucial to boosting the power of brands in an always on world.

It’s safe to say that today we’re living in a hyper-connected world. The Conversation Prism provides a glimpse into how vast the social media landscape actually is.

Keeping track of all these numbers is becoming increasingly difficult and, if you have a quick look at this Internet real-time tracker, you can easily begin to understand why.

The pot of gold for a modern marketer lies in their ability to understand what's trending in their audience's world, the conversations that are most relevant to its brand and connecting around these moments through entertaining, relevant and personalised content.

The first challenge of such a task is identifying the moments of greatest value. These could include a Jennifer Lawrence Oscar tumble, a commuter's misery during a Tube strike, preparations for a night out or making an impulse purchase.

The second is identifying which are most relevant to a brand and, thirdly, harnessing that moment when its life span is often very short with the average lifetime of a post on Facebook 80 minutes and Twitter 5-25 minutes.

Although this sounds like a lot of effort, real-time marketing is delivering significant benefits. Brands are reporting a 40% increase in sentiment and up to 4,000% increase in content engagement and sharing.

Marketers are also seeing significant improvements in customer experience, customer conversion rates and retention.

To deliver a successful real-time strategy, the agency model needs to become more agile and meet the ever-increasing demands of the modern consumer because:

  • Events unfold at a much faster pace than conventional agency campaigns.
  • Consumers often expect rapid and personalised responses to circumstantial information.
  • Competitors with a nimble, real-time approach may snatch an opportunity before you even know one existed.
  • Consumers are in the driving seat and there is no margin for error with timing, message and audience.

For me, the quick thinking Oreo Super Bowl moment is a great example of what’s possible but brands should set the expectation of having their Oreo moment every day.

Is your agency set up to deliver this?

A real-time mind-set emphasises speed and timing but, most importantly, requires significant amounts of pre-planning. ‘Pre-planned spontaneity’, although an oxymoron, is key in allowing an agency and client to work with greater fluidity, flexibility and efficiency.

Here are some practical steps to operate in a real-time environment:

  • Monitor the conversations - simplifying data analytics and highlighting the best opportunities to connect with audiences in real-time.
  • Choose the moment - it’s crucial for brands to be smart and only select relevant moments to be part of. A framework that defines what’s relevant and includes a pre-planned content DNA helps achieve this and simplifies complex sign-offs.
  • Simplified briefing - nailing the real-time creative output in the first iteration is crucial to minimise lead times. A pre-planned, simple and structured brief with clear guidelines, examples and references is essential.
  • Content creation - real-time creativity involves adopting a flexible, yet structured, approach and accessing a diverse skill set of creative and production talent.
  • Publish & amplify - maximising the ROI of your real-time creative efforts involves serving the right audience across the most suitable channels, from Twitter and Facebook, to outdoor and press.
  • Monitor, measure & optimise - brands shouldn’t shy away from experimenting, monitoring and reviewing their strategies in light of an ever-changing real-time environment.

There are many different real-time models agencies can employ, such as 'war rooms' and 'creative crowdsourcing'. There are also real-time specialists such as Trigger Social, who can plug into an agency and provide alternate real-time creative services.

The key? Make sure you’re ready - winning the moments that matter most to your audience requires pre-planning and the ability to switch on an agile creative approach.

Stephen Wise is the Founder & Managing Director of Trigger Social. Follow him on Twitter.

Learn more about Agility on our ADAPT Hub full of blogs, videos and more.

Last updated 09/06/2014

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