Marketers have long followed the mantra of maintaining brand consistency, yet with an endless array of customer touch points available to us, is consistency really what we should be striving for? There’s a whole new world of user experiences to capitalize on, and we need to treat each medium differently. Brands need greater flexibility to make the most of each medium in a way that still captures the spirit of the brand.
Justin Cox of Pereira O’Dell recently led a panel discussion at SXSWi on behalf of brand inconsistency. In fact, he contends, brand consistency is killing digital advertising.
In advertising, you can come up with a great idea but if you have to force it into another campaign for the sake of uniformity, it quickly squelches the creative process. Cox shows us that there are many opportunities that lie in letting a brand be inconsistent. “Release the self-imposed shackles where everything looks and feels the same,” he advises. “Brands don’t have to look the same. They just need to ‘feel’ the same. If you have a strong sense of who your brand is and what they’re about, you have the flexibility to bring an element of surprise to its campaigns.”
Cox advises brands to break free from the focus on consistency. “If you think about the way we consume information, we’re not one-dimensional people,” he explained. “We have unprecedented ways to reach people in digital mediums, so why not build a campaign that’s integrated, but where no two ads are alike? If every element is moving toward the same goal and is speaking the right way, there’s no need to be restricted to the same copy and visuals across all touch points. We’ve gotten into the habit of assuming that consumers can’t understand a brand unless the TV ad matches the billboard and the web ads. But if we’re just blanketed the entire market with consistency for the sake of consistency, we’re not doing each media type justice.”
Worse, this focus on uniformity can lead to mediocrity. Cox points out that a marketer’s job is to bring a fresh perspective to a brand. “A brand can be unwavering in its identity, yet flexible in the way it expresses itself.”
This new flexible approach to marketing campaigns is causing many brands to rethink the way they hire creative talent. Instead of seeking a “jack of all trades”, many are now leveraging freelancers who specialize in discrete skill sets, such as mobile marketing, social media, virtual reality, and more.
Catch Justin's Presentation at the Aquent/AMA Webcast on Thursday, November 1 at 1 PM EST.