Imagine discovering the latest addition to your high street was a brand new store inviting you to design your own robot. Not some whirring lunk, but a hyper-real, synthetic human.
After the initial drop-jaw amazement, how would you react? Perhaps fire off an excited tweet or upload a futuristically filtered photo of the storefront to Instagram?
This scenario played out for real on London’s Regent Street last year. And, no, it wasn’t the first act in a nightmarish tale of robot rebellion. The pseudo store — and the fake TV ads for ‘Persona Synthetics’ — were part of a geniously designed marketing campaign for the UK Channel TV 4 drama, "Humans."
This was non-linear marketing at its smartest, converging online and offline experiences to shape the channel’s most successful drama in 20 years.
What Is Non-linear Marketing?
A straightforward TV advert is a fine example of linear marketing. It takes place at a set time, for a set duration. The audience views the content. The end.
But what if we stamp a hashtag in one corner, drawing our audience to a Twitter account?
From there, they peel off to a Vine feed, or a behind-the-scenes YouTube video. They share the online content with their own social networks, comment on it, and their friends do the same. Some are even inspired to create their own, user-generated, content, becoming part of the narrative, shaping its destiny as it pinballs around platforms and media in a manner that is distinctly non-linear.
The Rise of Omniscreening
In this digitally connected age, the best video marketing campaigns pursue a non-linear strategy. In fact, audience viewing habits make the non-linear model almost impossible to ignore.
We’re all guilty of swiping through our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram feeds during TV ad breaks, or googling a TV program while we’re still watching it. Consuming content in this way is called omniscreening, and harnessing it allows video marketers to break out of the TV screen, colonizing multiple platforms and devices with their brand narrative.
Fast food giant Domino’s created a Tummy Translator app that "translated" the rumblings of a hungry tum into a pizza order. And fashion chain Topshop will take things to the Nth degree at London Fashion Week this year, building on the live-stream runway shows it pioneered in 2015 by posting images to its 6.2 million Instagram followers and broadcasting the whole shebang via a 3D window display at its flagship Oxford Street store.
Understanding Your Platform: Minutes and Moments
Our content marketing white paper details how you can make yourself stand out from the online crowd, but hopefully you’re already creating great content that elicits an emotional response — be it funny, sad, outrageous or memorable. In short, you want it to be shareable, transcending your own channels and taking on a life all of its own.
But it’s not enough to roll out that same content across different devices and platforms, and simply cross your fingers.
You’ll need to work out where your audience spends their online time, what websites and social media channels they use and on what devices. At best, content will need tweaking to make the best use of any given channel, platform or device, and to hone in on its users.
Think about how you’d convey your brand message in the moments (six seconds!) you have on Vine, or in a shared Facebook or Instagram clip, compared with the ‘minutes’ you have on, say, YouTube. Moments help build a bigger picture, with zappy, bite-sized nudges and pokes reminding your audience about your brand, hopefully drawing them into the ‘minutes’, and the nitty gritty of your product or service.
In these days of forever-connected screens, the windows of video marketing opportunity have never been more prevalent. Quite literally, they are right there at our fingertips.