By B&T x Facebook, 26.5.21
In the second of our three-part Discovery Commerce series from Facebook, industry experts explore how creativity is driving digital commerce forward. Read on to learn how seriously clever ideas are helping products find their way to receptive audiences.
We have reached peak content. There is more content and ads made every day than any of us could consume in a lifetime,” according to Dan Monheit, owner of creative agency Hardhat.
It’s no wonder so many brands are expanding their digital shopfronts and producing more content. According to a Kantar’s COVID Barometer study, 36% of people surveyed said they are now online more than they were in the month before the pandemic began, while 26% said they were using social media more across the same timeframe1.
Monheit believes the events of 2020 — which inspired droves of audiences to head online — created a disconnect between what consumers think they want versus what they really want. He says leaning into creativity is what advertisers need to do to help consumers bridge this gap.
Turning up in the Right Way
Monheit says the key to creating memorable experiences is balancing consistent brand messaging and eliciting an emotional response via the creative you present.
“You can swing from the rafters to get noticed. However, you need a commitment to consistency and turning up over a sustained period of time. That’s what builds familiarity preference from customers,” he explains.
The digital landscape may be cluttered, yet the importance of balancing emotional creative with a steady approach is a sentiment shared by Tony Bradbourne, founder and Chief Creative Officer of New Zealand creative agency Special Group.
“When it comes to digital, you need to have one really consistent brand strategy. You need to execute that with the goal of making a really distinctive, ownable, well-coded brand. That’s how you will stand out,” Bradbourne explains.
Bradbourne points to Special Group’s work with Tourism New Zealand for its Good Morning World campaign as an example of effective and consistent creative. Each day for a full year, the campaign saw Kiwis from all walks of life wishing the world a good morning from destinations all across the country.
Carmela Soares, Creative Strategist at Facebook’s Creative Shop, also points out the need for brand messaging that doesn’t deviate.
“To be able to connect in this new era of discovery, brands have to establish a set of values, and then manifest these values in their behaviour on the platforms in a consistent way,” she says.
“Consistency is key with how brands connect with their customers and brands have to be unique and true to themselves.”
Soares cites the ‘exposure effect’ — where people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them.
“The power of just turning up again and again with your brand codes in people’s universes, over a sustained period of time, can have a far bigger impact in their likelihood to purchase.”
Carmela Soares, Creative Strategist, Facebook’s Creative Shop
Repeated exposure brings a sense of safety for the consumer and a sense of ease of understanding. As Soares outlines, “You know what it is, you’ve seen it before. And that inherently makes stuff more likeable to us than things that are not safe and not easy to understand.”
The Value of Great Creative
Soares says creativity in your brand’s strategy and output can help you elicit an emotional response in your customer. This in turn builds long term relationships and brand trust.
“The thing about creativity is that it has to be quite compelling to get consumers to purchase. Creativity is crucial because your storytelling and your brand experience has to be unique, pleasant, or delightful to engage people at an emotional level,” she says.
Cadbury is one business that did this well recently, Soares points out. Its Secret Santa engagement over Christmas last year saw the confectionary brand partnering with Facebook to bring Santa to life via clever animation. It was a perfect example of creativity and technology delivering an emotional experience — allowing people to interact with Santa in their own homes.
“People saw Cadbury was giving them a moment of joy. The brand was being generous to them and offering an experience that they would have missed out on last year,” Soares says.
Providing people with something meaningful before they’ve sought it out is a valuable thing. Soares points to Facebook Discovery Commerce capabilities as a way of delivering these moments. This system of tools, now at marketers’ fingertips, is designed to provide customers with products they don’t yet know they want.
Creating these serendipitous experiences via exciting new discoveries gives people a sense of joy and further endears brands to them. According to Hardhat’s Monheit, “we humans are nowhere near the objective, rational decision makers we like to think we are.
“The vast majority of our decisions are based on emotion and context and biases. So anything we can do to show people things they didn’t know that they were into, is a great outcome for brands.”
Dan Monheit Founder, Hardhat
Community and Connection
Teeth whitening brand HiSmile has been built almost entirely using the principles of showing up in the right place with the right people, making it one of Australia’s biggest ecommerce success stories.
Co-founder Nik Mirkovic says when it comes to connecting with consumers at the right part of the discovery journey, creativity should be front of mind.
“Our messaging is quite concise — we stick to a few key points, a few key messages around the product and our mission. But the way we portray that through creative and different channels can vary from consumer to consumer,” he explains.
Creative cut through for the HiSmile team is balanced between communication and timeliness. According to Mirkovic, that personalisation allows them to reach consumers across the entire purchasing journey.
“We need to ensure that we’re trying to speak to the right person, and that products are offered at the right moment. So balancing the communication with the visual creative really helps cut through and get through to the customer,” he says.
Mirkovic says that 2020 also pushed HiSmile to look at new ways its customers could connect with the brand.
“Something creative that we recently did was for a product launch. It was essentially a trial that we conducted with some of our closest community members.
“We documented that journey — they tested, tried, and gave feedback on a product that we are thinking of bringing to market. This helped us reframe and reformulate that product.
“In the end, we cut up those bits of content and put that out as part of our marketing campaign. And it was something really authentic — it cut through and really resonated with our customers,” Mirkovic explains.
According to Special Group’s Bradbourne, developing standout creativity is more important than ever to connect with consumers in a digital landscape.
“It comes back to those fundamentals such as respecting your audience. Don’t dumb things down for them. Surprise them, delight them, give them things that are useful and elicit an emotional response. To stand out and cut through the clutter you have to be ambitious about how you’re reaching and engaging your audiences,” he says.
And while 2020 was a hectic year for many across the industry, Bradbourne believes part of a collective creative brief is to infuse some positivity into life.
“We need to try and do things that deliver light to an otherwise dark world. We should remember we’re here to create strong brand growth, strong businesses and to make the world a better, happier place. Because it needs all the help we can get right now,” he says.
Mirkovic believes that creativity combined with the power of the collective is the alpha and the omega.
“It’s about getting out there, communicating with the consumer, and not just yelling and screaming at them. It’s about getting that community together and getting them onboard with the brand and mission first, before looking to sell products.”
Nik Mirkovic, Co-founder, HiSmile
For Soares, pairing creativity with the ability to present products to those who will love them — the cornerstone of Discovery Commerce — is the recipe for success.
“If you ask anyone about creativity, especially agencies or creatives, they will say that it is more important than ever. It’s getting bigger and more complex, and the need to be more present is real. Because that’s how you’re going to find people and that’s how people are going to discover you,” she says.