Andrew Bleeker, global digital lead of Hill + Knowlton and head of Obama’s electoral campaigns in 2008 and 2012, gives his top tips to winning in the digital space.
1. Social advertising is the future.
With the popularity of Facebook-sponsored ads, Bleeker forecasted the future of advertising to be in social media, where “interesting content is shared among peers”.
“That’s how word will spread – from people – not from seeing an ad randomly,” he said. “Social channels work because we’re also pushing action – where your fans are liking and sharing – as well as information.”
2. Make your content interesting
If the future of online advertising lies in social sharing, Bleeker emphasises on the creativity of content. These social hubs, in other words, become “investment banks that manages a portfolio of content.”
“Take really popular websites, like BuzzFeed or Reddit, for example. The popularity of content is optimised through an algorithm where people vote up or down or is dependent on how many people read it. So for marketers, it’s about grabbing eyeballs for these viewers by making things eye-popping.”
3. It’s not about engaging current customers.
“It’s about making these existing customers act as a messenger for you.”
4. For mobile app makers, it’s all about utility.
Though every brand is trying to get on the mobile-app train, they need to give fans a reason to keep them on the phone. One of the best examples he’s seen is Nike’s running app.
“There are so many brands that people use every day: why do I have to keep it on my phone? It has to help me with something – make my shopping easier, make me feel good, help me out with life. That’s the biggest challenge that I see now.”
5. Don’t jump on every bandwagon.
Linkage with current events work, said Bleeker: but not every piece of news out there is good for the brand. As such, marketers should plan campaigns around organic moments – i.e., product launches and sales – and creative moments, where things happen out of your control – like a celebrity wearing your dress.
“But bear in mind that not every story is suitable for your brand,” he said, citing the recent haze in Singapore and Malaysia to be an opportunity and a risk, whereby the brand can act as an advisor on health impacts but shouldn’t appear like it’s profiting from the weather.