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In the world of tight budgets, lo-fi content might just be your solution

In the world of tight budgets, lo-fi content might just be your solution

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Lo-fi content isn’t exactly new, but increasingly, marketers are catching up to the benefits of using it as part of its content and ad strategy.

For the uninitiated, lo-fi content is essentially content which is rough around the edges and contains imperfections or low quality. Abbreviated from 'low fidelity', this type of content is often shot and edited directly on phones which lets brands take risks and experiment without a heavy investment.

To many, lo-fi content is said to have more character than the carefully curated glossy pieces of content.

Don't miss: Study: 97% of brands identify content creators as influencers

One brand that has recently embraced lo-fi advertising is Zara which posted images of its latest collection with models seemingly shooting the content on their phones. Zara is not the only brand to have embraced this strategy. Loewe, Toyota Indonesia, Chipotle and many others have also jumped onto the trend.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE Shrey Khetarpal, head of consulting at VaynerMedia Asia Pacific, said the traditional model of creating a key brand visual with matching luggage and outfit that looks perfectly curated across consumer touch points has become outdated as the world shifts attention to pet reels and memes.

So, when someone sees an image from a brand that looks like a selfie they could have taken while on vacation or while getting their morning iced coffee, they relate to it, he explained.

“The emergence of lo-fi content reflects what VaynerMedia and our CEO, Gary Vaynerchuk, have always championed — relevance. It's the biggest elephant in the room that most brands and agencies have been ignoring,” he said.

“In a world of glossy AI content, lo-fi content is the equivalent of a hand-rolled cigarette,” said Robert Gaxiola, founder of PLAYBOOK XP. While it is hard to pinpoint when exactly the trend picked up, Gaxiola is of the view that it started in the mid 2010s with Instagram Stories and Snapchat gaining prominence. However, the real acceleration happened with the advent of TikTok, which made lo-fi its native language with that shoot from the hip style.

“Of course, the trend reached new heights during the COVID-19 pandemic when people sequestered to their homes started recording some really raw stuff,” he said.

With user generated content or UGC also being a key proponent in driving sales, with 52% of consumers in APAC trusting peer reviews, can UGC be considered a lo-fi content strategy for brands?

Keeping it all in the family, Gaxiola explains that lo-fi content and user-generated content (UGC) are akin to first cousins. Lo-fi content is intentionally created by brands or influencers to appear raw and unpolished, whereas UGC is the real deal and content organically created by users without any brand intervention.

The difference lies in the intention.

How to make the best lo-fi content

Overloading the content and trying to include too much information or too many elements in one piece of content, which can make the content cluttered and hard to follow, reducing its impact is one sure shot way of failing at this strategy said, Melissa Laurie, founder of Oysterly.

However, taking too casual an approach and producing content that looks careless or sloppy can also reflect poorly on the brand and may be perceived as unprofessional.

“You must use minimal production and get comfortable with the content looking unpolished. A golden rule is not to jam-pack too much into one piece of content. Remember that each piece of content can have a different purpose, and now that there are so many short video styles available, there are numerous authentic ways for a brand to create lo-fi content,” she said adding:

Even though it might look unpolished, a lot of thought goes into the backbone of a lo-fi content piece.

At the heart of all marketing executions is purpose, and this should be no different when creating lo-fi content. Khetarpal explained that it is important to create for humans with varied interests and behaviours, rather than a broad demographic market. It is also important to create natively to the platform you’re trying to reach this audience on.

“So, a lo-fi strategy isn’t just about making casual-looking creatives. It’s about truly understanding your audience's behaviour, the channels that hold their attention, and creating what’s relevant,” he said.

Toughest part for traditional brands

Yingting Low, social content director at iris added, “Participation is our ethos at Iris Singapore and what guides our content strategy is simply asking ourselves: Will I share it?”

Low also warned brands not to simply just halt lo-fi social content creation just because it doesn’t show results. She added:

Testing and learning is key to find the sweet spot of what your audience will like to see and makes sense for your brand

“When venturing into lo-fi content creation, it is important to remember that the magic lies in its genuine simplicity. This will be a challenge to a lot of traditional brand guardians, but surely worth the risk. Testing a few lo-fi posts is one way to see if how your audience responds."

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Report: Local nuance and trust needed for influencer marketing in SEA
Study: 97% of brands identify content creators as influencers

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