2020 was a year of social and political unrest. The year introduced us to Covid-19 and all the significant challenges of living in a pandemic. However, it was also a year of enormous opportunities. Wanting to get ahead of the downturn in tourism caused by the pandemic, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority approached us last April about creating a series of post-pandemic commercials informing tourists that Charlotte is open for business. And yes, you are correct. We had to film the commercials during a pandemic. Following proper protocols, of course.
Our previous campaigns with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority focused on the marriage between Charlotte and the people that experience our city and give it life. Now faced with the unique challenges of showing that energy and excitement without capturing or recreating it to its fullest, we were incredibly excited to tell this story in an inventive and relevant manner. The project was significant to us. It provided us with the opportunity to create something beautiful, impactful, and efficient in a very uncertain time. We wanted to depict our current reality while infusing the spots with hope and optimism for a brighter future.
Most of the commercials we’d started seeing around this time were drenched in reality and featured Zoom video calls and iPhone footage. We wanted to add a bit of polish, a sense of returning to the expected commercial “look,” to make the spot feel optimistic and somewhat “normal.” We wanted to capture our everyday lives in our homes while confined, but we wanted to present it in a cinematic way. We decided to highlight real people creatively coping with the pandemic, mastering new skills, and anxiously awaiting a return to normalcy. Perhaps a mom with her two kids working together on a small garden in their back yard, a home chef making pasta from scratch, or a woman on a rowing machine imagining herself at the Whitewater Center. We wanted to show what people were doing now that they had so much time on their hands.
Going into full-scale production during a pandemic seemed impossible. Still, we believed this concept lent itself to getting creative and innovative in how we captured the highest quality footage possible while also being socially responsible. We moved forward with pre-production just like any other project but with a twist. We scouted locations and talent virtually. And, we decided to work with local cinematographers and use their families in their homes. We developed storyboards and a fine-tuned shot list and equipped them with the same camera and lighting packages for consistent commercial quality and look. Yes, this approach was creatively and logistically challenging, but it provided us with an excellent opportunity to create something responsibly that was still effective and entertaining.
So, that’s how we made an award-winning commercial during a pandemic.
* We won an American Advertising Federation Addy Award for the "Rediscover Charlotte" Commercials.
Because there are a WHOLE lot of brands trying to do the same thing you are trying to do. . . sell something to consumers. In a category like sauces, there are a WHOLE WHOLE lot of brands trying to do it. They are even tripping over themselves these days. Ranch has married ketchup, and they have a baby called Kranch or Retchup. I think they have third graders coming up with these names, by the way. Much respect to the third graders, but come on now. So if you have any hope of sticking out in spaces like this, you better have a lot of money to buy your way in, or you better be brilliant about what you are going to say and why that is meaningful to the people you want to fall in love with your savory, sweet, spicy, tangy delightfully saucy concoction. Here are a few tips:
1. Name it. Tell the people what it is and what it is supposed to do. You can’t do a mashup of names i.e., Kranch, unless you are Heinz.)
2. Describe it. Think about the experience you want people to have and what you want them to feel. Let that drive how you are going to describe it. Use real words. The kind that human beings use to talk to their friends and family.
3. Define it. How do you want me to talk about the thing? Give me some words to use and some context to place around the product. Make it clear and make it valuable to me. Not just what YOU want it to be to me, but what will actually make my life better in a real way that I can see and feel. Make it personal to ME.
4. Connect it. How is it supposed to fit into my life? What space do you want it to fill? Attach a trigger to it to help people easily get there. It’s like ketchup but tangier and more flavorful (or just about anything else since Ketchup is basically the water of sauces).
So whether it is a sauce or a car, a boat, or a banana, building brands based on real stories that connect to people is very important. It can mean the difference in donning the clearance section or flying off the shelves. I think we both know which one is better.
In today's world, people live on the Internet. According to Statista, the average American spends about eight hours a day consuming digital media. The increased online presence of target markets demands that marketers change the way they approach marketing. Suppose the target market spends more than half of his day on the Internet. In that case, it means that offline marketing strategies need to be integrated with online marketing strategies to provide a comprehensive approach to effectively engaging your customers. Here are the reasons why you must create fully integrated marketing strategies that bring the best of all media worlds together:
#1. Digital Marketing 'goes' to the people
The Internet is a massive pool of many possibilities. There are always people imbibing online content, and the best you can do is to go where they are; online. The number of adults who constantly use the Internet has increased by 5% in the past three years, and the number is still growing. Digital marketing is, therefore, the easiest way to reach a broad audience with fewer expenses.
The best marketing strategy is that which 'hits' the prospect when he least expects it; the prospect should not be active in seeking the information — the information should find him! That is what digital marketing does. With proper search engine optimization practices, the Google search algorithms can use the prospects browsing history to suggest products and services that might interest them. This way, your marketing strategies reach a bigger audience and a more targeted crowd.
#2. Digital Marketing is versatile and efficient
Marketing should never be a one-treatment-fits-all undertaking. The different market dynamics and demographics dictate that a marketer must have varied ways of reaching different people.
In offline marketing, the options are limited; you can create a brochure and send it to people's mailboxes, then what? How do you know they read it? How do you interact with them to get their opinions on your new product? Digital marketing allows you to interact with your prospects at their convenience. You can utilize the following strategies to reach your prospects:
#3. Measurable results
With digital marketing, you can review what works and what doesn't quickly. With online marketing analytics, you can measure the results of every marketing campaign. The online metrics can show you how much money you have made from every online marketing tactic; real-time statistics can help you improve your results by adopting what works and quitting what doesn't.
Well, your business success depends hugely on your marketing potential. You can decide to stick solely to the old path of traditional marketing, or you can increase your market reach by including digital marketing into the mix. Choose wisely. We have been in the business of helping businesses build their brands through extensive market research and target marketing, contact us today. We can help build your brand presence.
The way we view and process entertainment, advertising, and general information has changed so much over just the last 10-15 years. With the rise of the internet, our short attention spans have never been shorter.
One thing that hasn't changed over thousands of years of written human history? The appeal of a good story. Whether we're listening to a podcast via our smartphone, watching television, or seeing a play in the theater, the desire to hear good storytelling is woven into our DNA. No matter what type of media through which we consume them, people will always love to see, hear, and feel stories. This is also true when it comes to advertising. Scratch that - it's especially true when it comes to advertising.
Let's look at three reasons why storytelling is such a powerful tool in building your brand.
Allows You To "Show, Don't Tell"
There's an old saying in the worlds of writing and entertainment. It applies to TV, film, novels, and pretty much any other form of communication you can think of. "Show. Don't tell." You can tell your customer exactly what to think or feel. You can coldly state facts in a rote manner. It may or may not work. Showing them the power of your product through a well-told story? That goes a lot farther.
When it comes to persuasiveness, anecdotes trump cold, hard facts every time. There is scientific evidence that stories help messages resonate. These stories can be true, dramatized, or apocryphal. The specific facts don't matter as much as the feeling of authenticity the story brings to mind. Demonstrate your brand's message and value proposition through a well-crafted narrative as opposed to droning on about all the reasons you're so great.
Think of it like this: how would you rather get your information: from a gripping novel or a book report?
Another strength of storytelling is the ability to relate to the consumer. Recreating a story your customers may have personally experienced themselves is a great way to create a connection between you and the viewer. The story becomes personalized. It lets the viewer know that your brand understands at least one specific issue, concern, or problem they may have experienced and may have something that can help with it.
Or maybe your brand isn't about solving problems, but about cultivating a lifestyle. Maybe you're a luxury brand that leaves your customers feeling like a million bucks. Telling that story is also effective. You can put the viewer into the shoes of someone whose lifestyle has markedly improved due to a brush with your brand.
Whether it makes us hold our sides from laughing or stings our eyes with tears, a great story also has the ability to stir strong emotions. Tapping into these emotions - whether happy or sad - tends to lead to a strong connection.
Watch this Super Bowl ad from 84 Lumber. In only a few minutes, it tells a story more compelling than many of the movies in theaters this weekend! It taps into some primal emotions - fear, uncertainty, patriotism, pride, elation, and relief - and ties them to a brand's message. They anchor these strong emotions to their brand, making sure viewers will associate this uplifting story with their product. It highlights what the company values, which are values most reasonable people would like to share.
Telling a story - with your brand as the narrative centerpiece - is an incredibly effective way to showcase what you do best. It lets you demonstrate how and why your product works. It relates to the viewer, showing them an experience they themselves may have lived through or want to emulate. And it can draw on powerful emotional reactions to strengthen the connection between the subject of your ad and the consumer.
At Orbital Socket, we consider ourselves storytellers. We want to help you tell your story in the most imaginative, striking way possible. For more on how we can do that, contact us today!
In an age of digital transformation and digital transportation of ideas, creativity still matters. I would even argue that it matters more. According to Menmood Hanif, quoted in a Huffington Post article, the average internet user gets 11,150 ads per month. Another CBS News report stated that in the 1970s consumers were exposed to about 500 ads per day and now they are exposed to about 5,000 ads per day. So somewhere between 11,150 per month and 5,000 ads per day lies the opportunity to be seen and heard. But based on this quantity of exposures, it better be creative if you want it to be seen or heard.
Ads don’t come knocking on the door announcing that they are ads any longer (think TV commercials). They sometimes find their way into your online social community as YouTube videos you love to watch and celebrities that you follow. They are in your feeds and part of the shows you love to watch. They provide the landscape in the game you are playing and are probably in the songs on your playlist. In addition, the rapid rise of mobile as an advertising medium has challenged everything we have learned about how to capture attention and tell stories. Advertisers had decades to get familiar with and proficient on traditional mediums like TV, but mobile is presenting a whole new set of opportunities and challenges. Given the potential for consumers to see lots of ads, it is even more important that if we want to stand out in this crowd that we work at being creative. That is, being imaginative, original and emotionally compelling.
Facebook recently reported that in their analysis of over 800 video ads from 2015 and 2016 of major advertisers in North American and Europe, only 22% could be understood in the first 10 seconds without sound. That presents a huge missed opportunity as consumer’s attention spans are shrinking given the number of exposures and viewing options. I agree with Barbara Dyer, president and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation, when she said that creativity is rapidly shifting from a “nice to have” to a “must have” quality for all types of successful organizations – from delicatessens to design firms. A firm’s embrace of creativity in their workplace culture requires a disciplined approach to unleash the chaos of inventive ideas.
Here are some of the things we can do to cultivate a culture of creativity among our teams according to Inc. magazine to ensure that we are developing work that will be seen, heard and experienced.
1. Build a Diverse Team – Having everyone on the team look alike and come from the same background stifles creativity and presents a missed opportunity for your company and team. Seek to build a diverse team whose strength lies in its members' range of work experience, education and cultural backgrounds that play off of one another.
2. Surround Your team with Inspiration - Whenever you see something from the big wide world that captures your attention, put it on display. It can be any discovery: an awesome ad in a magazine, an unusually arranged menu, or even a well-written email that made you laugh. The more provocative, the better!
3. Flip Your Assumptions - Over the course of the day, identify all the tasks you do without thinking. Take a moment to talk about how you could do them differently. Sometimes it won’t work (spell check might always be the best way to proofread your work). However, it will often lead you to find a new way of doing the same old thing.
4. Bring it to Life - Put your thoughts into words, your words into pictures, and your pictures into prototypes. When people can see your idea, they’re less likely to forget it and much more likely to take it seriously and become involved in its development and bullet-proofing. Even a bad drawing is better than no drawing.
Happy New Year! We are all saying and receiving that greeting, a lot, these days. As it fades into the background amidst the noise of the work that awaits us, at Orbital Socket we are reminded of some key fundamentals that will help it indeed be a happy new year. We call them the "Three C Essentials" for a happy new year.
As we execute our plans to continue to help world-class companies win in the modern marketplace, we are reminded of these fundamentals that help keep us focused and inspired. It involves calibrating ourselves and our teams for impact as we help our partners see what’s possible. It is incumbent upon us to be very clear about what is working in the marketplace today and what our over 25-years of working with world-class, game-changing brands has taught us. Wisdom.
So, our simple but effective prescription for a prosperous new year calibrated for success is about Clarity, Conviction and Courage.
The Three C Essentials
Clarity – It is essential that we have a clear vision about why we do, what we do. We must pause for a moment to either remind ourselves of our vision or discover our vision; our reason for being. It is also critical to note, that before we can discover it for our teams, our company and our partners, that this must become a personal realization. Do I know why I do what I do? As we define or rediscover our “why” we become centered which helps us live our purpose and powers us to be more effective as we contribute to our team’s and our partner’s success.
Conviction – Now that I am clear on my “why,” the second step in calibrating for a new year is conviction. Conviction is about the quality of showing that one is firmly convinced of what one believes or says and the ensuing actions that result. If we have clarity, it is critical that we have conviction or actions that support and power our clarity. What am I doing that demonstrates my clarity? Based on what you stand for, how does that give energy to a platform that propels you forward? It is about being convinced that the plans you have made are right and allow them to fuel your platform. How do you show up? What are you communicating and what is the desired outcome?
Courage – Many dreams are being snuffed out simply because we lack the courage to pursue them. Three years ago my partner at Orbital Socket, who also happens to be my wife, and I set out to act on our convictions, with courage, that were based in our clarity that we could create a world-class marketing communications organization. An organization that would give an authentic opportunity for all people, especially people of color that have been by and large shunned from the advertising and marketing industry. It took us being clear about our purpose and putting action to plan with conviction, but it also took a lot of dag gum courage (in my Roy Williams, UNC Basketball coach voice). You got to be brave. With courage, you can stand when it gets hard and the doubt surfaces from both external and internal sources. The world is depending on you to succeed. SO, GO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
That’s it. Sweet and simple. I recommend at least a daily dose of the "Three C Essentials" for the first week and then a weekly dose for the remainder of the year. Monday’s preferably.
Oh, and Happy New Year!
Strategic Innovation + Experience Design = Shareable Brands
Real power in the modern marketplace comes from igniting innovation and creativity. Experience design unlocks the power of innovation and creativity, creating paths for people to connect with a brand in a meaningful and engaging way. That is at the core of experience design. At Orbital Socket, we define experience design as the practice of designing products, processes, services, events, multichannel journeys and environments, with a focus placed on the quality of the user experience within culturally relevant and engaging solutions.
A particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing something.
Design is a process to develop purposeful and innovative solutions that embody functional and aesthetic demand based on the needs of the intended user. It is applied to digital and physical services, processes, and environments.
Experience design is about telling great stories and creating dynamic adventures for your customers to travel along with you. It’s about helping them see the value of your product or service and how it meaningfully aligns within their lives in ways that feel organic and intuitive. They discover your product or service along the way, adopt it as their own, and become a co-creator of what the brand expression ultimately becomes.
Strategic innovation takes the age-old marketing principles that have worked for a long time and dips them in modern marketing approaches and roles them in innovation.
It forces relevant and meaningful differentiation that leads to new spaces where new conversations and customer engagement is provoked.
It answers questions like who do you want your customers to be and who are they trying to become? What is your highest most exclusive value and how does it align with their journey? It sets in motion, keyword “motion,” a sustainable platform and engine that will fuel growth for a prolonged period of time. It is anchored in digital realities and energized by technology.
It is steeped in ideology and a deep sense of thoughtfulness around behavior and how and why people do things that lead down paths of how they can and will do it differently.
We help you discover, through strategic innovation, how you can see clearly in the marketplace to WIN! Consistently and effectively. It makes you a hero while making your brand king of the category. A category that you define and own and your competitors envy and want to emulate.
Now, who doesn’t want that?
One of the most important dynamics for brand building in the modern marketplace is creating a brand that is shareable. At Orbital Socket, we have made this a core part of our offering and our approach to building successful brands that win in the modern marketplace. Sharing among people has clearly proven to be one of the most powerful ways for brands to win Fueling that process is the challenge and opportunity. Once you figure out who they are, where they are going and what drives them to share, you are much closer to having big consistent wins in the marketplace. The core dynamic of sharing is primarily fueled by relationships. That would include the relationships that people have or can have with brands but more importantly, it is about how brands fuel engagement between people.
The New York Times Customer Insight Group discovered that there are five key reasons people decide to share things with others. This study on the psychology of sharing and word-of-mouth movements presented a critical opportunity for marketers who want to connect more deeply with their audience and engage with them in the sharing process. If we can better understand why people share, then we can leverage this information to drive key drivers of brand and business growth.
Most experts will acknowledge that people buy (and share content) from those that they know, like, and trust. Most sharing, as it turns out, is primarily dependent on the personal relationships. The 5 most common reasons people share are:
It was also found that some users share as an act of “information management.” 73% of respondents said that they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it.
So, how can we make this work for your brand? Here are several ways that can be very effective and game-changing.
Source: The Psychology of Sharing: Why People Share Online, The New York Time Information Group, October 2011
The most significant challenges often produce the greatest opportunities. The challenge of keeping pace in the constantly changing digital landscape presents many opportunities to connect with people at a deeper level. This more precise engagement leads to stronger relationships with a greater lifetime value.
Orbital Socket is a brand engagement company that creates captivating brands, igniting business growth by building relationships between brands and people. We develop innovative marketing platforms built around storytelling that captivate people, activating these relationships - moving consumers from transactions to relationships and increasing their lifetime value for the brand.
We do this through The Human Exchange of Ideas, a methodology that encompasses the dynamics whereby ideas move from one person to another and from one group to another. No matter how much we inject technology into marketing and the concept of activation, its essence will always be human. Humanity is the center of it all, and captivating brands understand this.
Give us a call today at 704-931-3529, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to helping you #seewhatspossible.