This fall, Verbal+Visual teamed up with our friends at Direct Agents for Digital Pop, an invite-only digital media mixer and launch party for Direct Agent’s new creative studio, Digital Content Lab. The event was studded with an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, an Oculus VR station, an Instagram-worthy photo booth, and DJ Miss Sabado spinning tunes all night. It was a great occasion to gather some of our favorite clients, e-commerce directors, and VP/CMO marketers for a chance to engage and connect prior to the holidays.
We kicked off the evening with an informative panel discussion, Personalization & Customization: How to Tell a Brand’s Story.
Megan Conahan, SVP at Direct Agents moderated the event. The panelists were:
CEO at Verbal+Visual
Creative Director/Co-Founder at Direct Agents
Partner at Prophet
The panel discussion focused on what personalization and customization mean for brands today. Here are our main takeaways from the panel:
Find a deeper level of connection.
Dinesh illustrated that their mission each day is to dig into data and find a deeper level of connection with their audience, as well as to test and optimize what they do on a daily basis. Mat found that clients are curious; they want to make sure that all this deep-diving really is worth the effort. Clients want to be sure they’ll perform better and achieve stronger brand affinity with their investment. He emphasized that there are a wealth tools and techniques available, which make deep-diving into data both easy and efficient.
Personalization is key.
Anshey believes that personalization is key for brands today, especially in the retail space. Brands such as Bonobos take your size and style preferences, and create a tailored experience on both their website and in their stores. Personalization is essential if you seek to stay relevant; any lack simply puts you behind.
Learn how to tell an interesting story.
Mat discussed the old way of telling a brand story, which involved gathering personas, getting to know the target audience, and delivering the message. And then a shift occurred: the rise of user-generated content. Where creatives once relied upon a process to extract the story, personalizing a brand story has become more interactive. Personalized stories offer transparency and show the people behind the brand, which then helps consumers see themselves in the brand. Mat believes in storytelling through behaviors rather than through demographics, and pointed out that no one has cracked interactive video yet.
Dinesh highlighted that we live in an era of incredible content production. We’re up against people with iPhones shooting quality photos and kids flying drones and posting those photos online in real time, so it is crucial to have brand messaging that is both creatively strong and aligned across every medium.
Give your About page some love.
Mat pointed out that About Us pages have been underutilized, even though they’re the first — and perhaps only — page where a brand can tell their story 24 hours a day. He did a study of 100 companies’ “About Us” pages to see who has taken advantage of this, and the results were alarming. Most companies are sharing minimal content, and very few are being interactive. If you want to examine brand storytelling in the most revealing format, check out “About Us” pages and judge by that.
Collect quality data.
Anshey shared the importance of collecting quality data, the root of which is ensuring that your analytics are set up for success. You should be able to examine the basics such as conversion rate, while also being able to dive into data on a granular level, such as cross-referencing conversion rates with time of year and other data points of interest. Knowing up front what data points you need when you’re establishing your brand is absolutely vital, as is being able to tell a cohesive story with your data.
Mat further emphasized thinking about data as an asset. He differentiated between what he termed “data-poor brands” and “data-rich brands.” A data-poor brand has a wealth of data, but doesn’t understand how to use it, while a data-rich brand, such as Ford, channels their data-based findings in interesting ways.
Augmented Reality will grow in 2018.
Anshey revealed that Verbal+Visual is currently working with a home furnishing company to create an experience where customers can select a piece of furniture and customize it by color, surface, etc. Verbal+Visual is implementing an augmented reality solution for the home decor client oomph home where you can move your phone around, tap on a location, select a product, and then choose customization options with that product actually set within the space. This allows you to customize a product, see how it will look in your space at any angle, and then simply tap to check out.
Given that Apple has rolled out the AR kit for augmented reality and IKEA has made their app augmented reality-compatible, we can be confident that this area is going to grow in the new year.
Customers are enticed by a personal connection with brands, so remember to dig deep and find a deeper level of connection with your audience. Utilize quality data as an asset — it is the one solid thing you have to set you apart and set you up for success. Wrap this all together with a solid interesting story to share with your audience by maximizing various ways to express your brand through strong creative branding. Customization and personalization are essential for having a successful brand presence.
Please enjoy the full panel discussion in the embedded video above, and sign up for our mailing list so we can include you in fun and informative events in the future.