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13 April

Tearing Down Walls and Bringing People Together in Digital Times


In building assistive experiences across the customer decision journey, effective channel strategy is key. Tobias Wilson, VP of Growth, recently made this point clear to Campaign, where he advised brands whose strategies were affected by COVID-19 to “pivot in a way that makes sense. If the channels you’d invested effort in were no longer viable (such as out of home or in-person experiential, in this case), the worst thing you can do is just try to haphazardly replicate that activity online.”

This requires brands to not only look at digital channels they may know, like owned social feeds, but beyond what may have been previously thought possible, reaching audiences where they’re at in this moment. This need led MediaMonks, Reporters Without Borders and DDB to collaborate in building the Uncensored Library, a Minecraft map that users can explore to discover stories written by journalists who have been jailed, exiled or even killed for their work, even if censorship stops them from accessing such stories through other channels. Recognizing Minecraft as an increasingly important space for global youth to gather, socialize and exchange ideas, the virtual library demonstrates how far brands can go to actually connect audiences like never before.

We’ve long advocated for digital, user-centered strategies, which are even more critical as brands look for ways to connect with socially-isolated consumers. We find that customer obsessed organizations (which we explore in-depth in our latest report) are better set up to reimagine what these connections can look like and execute them swiftly.

“Astute brands seize the power of digital and flex it to their categories’ unique need profiles to build experiences of irreplaceable value,” according to Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester, et al., in the report, “Generate Brand Energy With Digital Experiences: Engage, Excite, And Entangle Your Customer.” Focusing on user needs is vital for brands that want to maintain and improve their connection with consumers. By reinforcing native user behaviors and aligning them with brand values in a creative way, brands can offer relevant solutions that build an emotional impact.

Improve Connections by Fostering Interactions

In today’s changed landscape, brands can no longer rely on face-to-face interactions with their customers. “As we come to grips with a world where we can’t shortcut to experience through physical engagement and personal proximity, the challenge is to deliver on the original intent of digital,” says MediaMonks founder Wesley ter Haar. “Interactive, tactile and personalized moments of magic that create conversation, conversion and commercial opportunities.”

“Interactive, tactile and personalized moments of magic that create conversation, conversion and commercial opportunities.”

Wesley ter Haar

Founder, MediaMonks

Spotify has exhibited these moments of magic since its start, by receiving, connecting, and interacting diverse social and cultural inputs from thousands of channels and content. One such event is Spotify’s recent digital-native take on musical award ceremonies, including a livestream around the world and via TV broadcast, awarding winners across 57 different categories chosen by user-driven data.

In the months leading up to the ceremony, fans were encouraged to promote their favorite artists and music on social media to boost their chances of winning. “Knowing that their behavior could have a real impact became an incentive for fans to help their favorite artist win by consuming their music on Spotify, whether it was by listening to their tracks, adding them to playlists or following them on the platform,” explains Alejandro Ortiz-Izquierdo, Creative Director at Circus, which merged with MediaMonks in January 2020. 

Tasked by Spotify to build the visual identity surrounding the show, the creative team led by Ortiz-Izquierdo and Alberto Guerra, used a data-driven approach as inspiration. Its main motif was the polygon, designed by connecting the top five streaming cities in Mexico, the regional focus of the show, together. Other polygons took shape by connecting the top streaming cities for different artists, resulting in a series of unique shapes used to develop graphic materials for all communications. “After this, we launched a personalized campaign that focused on celebrating the power of the fans through the data that they generated on Spotify,” says Ortiz-Izquierdo. From the get-go, there was a great response from the users, with a lot of excitement, engagement and involvement. When we launched the awards, people actually campaigned for their artists.”

Users’ excitement to engage highlights an important part of meeting consumers’ needs in impactful, new ways: operating with transparency. With a focus on user-generated data at every level of the award show’s planning and visual design, listeners understood how their actions made impact. And it drove results, too: “With the event, the number of conversions to premium users grew; new users, streams, and general behavior on the platform increased from the moment we launched the list of finalists,” says Daniela González, Head of Digital Strategy at Circus.

There Are No Borders, Your Playground is Digital

In a world defined by globalization, digital platforms allow users to connect, engage and share with people all over the world, irrespective of nationalities, languages, or cultures––and this, in turn, helps them define their own identities and the communities with which they seek to connect. 

If brands want to connect with their target audience, especially with Gen Z, it’s vital for them to remain aware of how communities are built and redefined. This includes understating the new ways that younger consumers reshape the ways they gather, build identity and engage with brands, which is the focus of a recent whitepaper from IMA, our influencer activation team.

Social channels, in particular, have allowed people from different backgrounds and across the world to connect in virtual spaces, where they can congregate with others who share their interests, beliefs and values. But to recognize these interests and what truly resonates with audiences spread across the CDJ, brands must improve their digital maturity through smarter investments in personalization.

“Social media has become a true melting pot, where everyone and everything fits."

Bruno Lambertini

Founder and CEO, Circus

“Social media has become a true melting pot, where everyone and everything fits; interests, similarities and differences in culture, ethnicity or gender, as well as attitudes, personalities and values. Making room for all users to feel at home within a massively globalized world,” says Bruno Lambertini, Founder and CEO of Circus. 

The rate of hyperadoption, in which consumers quickly develop new behaviors, has picked up at a critical time when meeting consumers’ needs across the customer decision journey has become table stakes for brands. By recognizing and rewarding such behaviors through relevant channel strategies, brands better position themselves to bring diverse audiences together online ––and across the world.

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