Today, it’s not enough to create the high-impact headline that grabs attention. Creatives are now on the hook for real results in a world of fragmented media and messaging. The incessant rumble of change is shaking up marketers at our very core, particularly affecting creative teams and the new strategic demands placed upon them.

Yes, breakthrough, knock-your-socks-off concepts still matter. But the proliferation of digital media and communication channels demands a more strategic approach to campaign development. In our short-attention-span world, marketers must find ever-more diverse and engaging ways to forge and maintain a connection with their customers. The old campaign model of TV spots supported by print ads in traditional print publications has gone the way of…well…traditional print publications.

Even the web isn’t hot anymore. Now our creative has to be effective on the tiny screens of our smart phones. And campaigns like this past summer’s Old Spice viral videos and other social media-driven “events” present new challenges to traditional creative thinking.

The traditional creative team is also getting a makeover in the wake of this continuing media quake. The traditional art director/copywriter creative team approach is no longer relevant, notes Sean Duffy of The Duffy agency. “Our campaign solutions must do more than combine words and images to inform, inspire, and motivate. They must deliver business value in new ways that maximize the potential of digital media as well as traditional media.”

So the new media era has ushered in a new model for the creative role, one in which strategy is imperative. The term “creative strategy” itself has taken on a new shade of meaning. It’s not just about the great concept that pulls all the right emotional strings; it now must link directly to business results.

Meanwhile, social media is giving us more customer feedback, on a faster track. That means we have to be faster to react so we can control the conversation with messaging that corrects potential social media distortion (digital lynch mobs and the like). And THAT elevates the importance of brand messaging and the need to maintain messaging control and consistency across this evolving media frontier. So message control, creation, organization and access—that messaging governance thing we’ve been talking about—becomes more critical than ever.

The messaging governance best practices we’ve outlined earlier, including having a “designated driver” (brandmaster) can keep your brand messaging on the right trajectory as it makes its way at light-speed across the digital universe. And you can make the process more seamless for your organization by employing the right technology for the job. That’s why 9align (a business unit of StudioNorth) developed Message Mapper.

Message Mapper is a content strategy tool that unites business and creative processes. It doesn’t replace creative people—instead it focuses their efforts, helps their creative become more results-centric, and frees up creative time for more breakthrough thinking. Message Mapper’s role is to provide the business due-diligence, process, and governance framework to ensure that creative is built on a solid architecture that delivers real business results.

The messages that come out of the Message Mapper process still need to be finessed by professional communicators. Ideally content professionals can play a key stakeholder role in the process. Taken a step further, in fact, it empowers them to create more polished voices for the masses, feeding back their wants and needs in the form of branded solutions.

At the end of the day, the tools may change, but the craftsmen will remain the same.

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