As marketers, we spend a good deal of time planning ways through which to engage and convert our target audiences across a number of channels. We parse through data on social, or display, or email, and can quantify performance accordingly. As consumers, however, the sources that influence our buying decisions are less conscious. Where do you turn to for product inspiration? For some, perhaps Instagram, or Google, or a specific media outlet serves that purpose, but for most, the answer is less clear. So for brands, now more than ever, having a cohesive outreach strategy across a growing set of relevant channels is paramount to reach all potential customers.
Additionally, there has been a rising consumer sentiment toward personalized brand experiences. Shoppers no longer have patience for blanket messaging, and are demanding more thoughtful efforts from the companies hoping to capture their loyalty. While most brands are aware of this mandate, creating enough high-quality visual content to support this personalization is no easy task. If you consider creative resources, production timelines, and the outright cost of staged photo and video shoots, content development has become an enormous challenge for marketers in all industries. Add to that the pace of change in the marketplace, and ever-diminishing attention spans, and the lifetime of a specific asset has never been shorter.
New, ephemeral content formats like Snapchat and Instagram Stories are putting even more pressure on brands, to act almost like a 24/7 media outlet, and to produce content that in some cases will quickly disappear. So, what can marketers do? More often, brands are thinking of creative ways to breathe new life into existing content, which can lead to both increased efficiency and effectiveness. At Olapic, we’ve identified three ways that brands can extend the life of their visual content:
Turn Static Images into Dynamic Animations
Brands have historically thought of visual content in a binary context, where an asset is either a static image or a video. While these two formats are still critical, there has also been a movement toward new formats, specifically, ones that can repurpose existing content for additional use cases. At Olapic, we’ve developed a technology called Content in Motion (CiM), which can take existing images and turn them into dynamic animations. We’ve combined an intelligent technology with human ingenuity to develop assets for many of our clients, including Pottery Barn, Simple Skincare, and DFS, that can help fulfill content needs in relevant digital and offline channels. Not only have these CiMs given new life to static content, but they have also generated engagement in programs where still images are less likely to perform. In addition, brands are able to use the technology to create educational content and seasonal messaging, while also finding new uses that aren’t as well supported with existing content infrastructure. This is more reasonable because of the ease, reduced cost, and scalability of creation when using a tool like CiM.
Use Existing Visual Content to Inspire Creativity
In order to solve the “content crunch” that we’ve been alluding to, many brands have been turning to their customers for help, and accessing the wealth of visual content being created on social platforms. At Olapic, we’ve worked with hundreds of consumer brands to help them curate, activate, and analyze the impact of this “earned” content across channels. As a result, we’ve noticed a trend among brands that have successfully tapped customer content: They do an excellent job of guiding their audiences on brand standards and expectations. Put differently, these brands take existing brand-owned creative, and use it to help educate their audience on the type of similar user-generated content they would find valuable. Whether through a hashtag contest or simply as a result of brand loyalty, many customers will look to brand content as a proxy for the type of imagery they should create for social channels.
Activate Content in New Channels
This one is more of a distribution solution, but it’s one that many marketers don’t utilize properly. As digital channels originally emerged, there was (and still is in many cases) a pattern of brands taking content from television advertising and trimming it down for digital purposes. Of course, that isn’t an optimized approach, because audiences on each channel have different expectations of content, so brands need to be more thoughtful in their programming. Still, content that is produced for one channel can certainly be repurposed for success elsewhere. Take, for instance, Snapchat, which relies on ephemeral content, and captures dedicated attention from users for short periods of time. Certainly, content designed for the platform will have the most impact there, but brands can also consider aggregating video from a specific topic, and republishing as a long-form piece for Facebook. Or, taking images created for Instagram and using them on packaging or on direct mail inserts. The opportunity for content activation is seemingly endless, but it benefits from a strategic plan prior to the original creation.
These are just a few ways that you can start to breathe new life into your existing visual content. As new channels continue to emerge, and customer expectations become more complex, brands will need to be vigilant when considering their content efforts. How will you optimize visual programs to best engage and convert your audiences? It’s time to get a plan in place.