On the MiC with Microsoft Advertising’s Jason Dailey

On the eve of his Advertising Week Speaker Series presentation, the Microsoft Advertising Canada country lead shares his thoughts on transmedia storytelling with MiC.

Microsoft Advertising Canada’s Jason Dailey is a featured speaker today at Advertising Week in Toronto, where he’ll be tackling the subject of connected experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum. On the eve of his presentation, MiC talked to him about connecting across multiple platforms.

MiC: Your keynote will focus on interactive media and how advertisers can create multi-screen stories around their brands. Who in Canada has done a great job of transmedia storytelling?

Dailey: I would have to say Unilever’s done a really good job with their brands. They’ve pushed the boundaries in terms of pushing their internal teams of thinking about what’s possible. They’ve been creative in terms of how they leverage their assets across different platforms. And a key element to what they do really revolves around storytelling, so they want to make sure that they’re not just putting a message out there, but they’re actually having a conversation and telling a story with their target audience.

MiC: Was there a particular Unilever brand that impressed you?

Dailey: Some of the recent stuff that they’ve done with Axe falls in the bucket, as well as some of the previous campaigns that they’ve had with Dove.

MiC: How do you think this media strategy will change planning and campaigns?

Dailey: Good question. There are a couple of things: it’s going to change media planning in the sense that planning now becomes more strategic. Because now it’s not just about the message, it’s just not about the creative, because how you actually leverage different touchpoints can have an enormous impact on the effectiveness of the campaign, and it’s going to take really smart people to understand what the different platforms are and how they work together. So I think the media planning and buying agencies – the smart ones at least – will take advantage of this opportunity and add strategic value to what they can offer their clients. You might also see some clients who see this trend as well, maybe bring some of this capability in-house. They’re not going to develop a full team that can maybe do all of it, but they might have point people who can lead and collaborate with all the key stakeholders to make sure they’re getting their messages in the right place.

MiC: Are different skill sets needed on the media agency side, or do different disciplines need to work together differently?

Dailey: I think it’s really about working together, and collaboration is so key in this environment. With the exception of a few players, there are very few companies who can deliver this kind of experience across the board. And even then, you’re dealing with a number of other key parties – whether it’s at the agency or at the client – so collaboration is definitely key. No execution that I’ve seen that’s been executed really well – no one’s ever done it alone. There’s always been a team with different organizations coming together to execute that. So I think that’s about actually actively managing that collaboration. It speaks to being transparent with kind of what your objectives are in sharing data, and also just being willing to give up some of the control to other parties if that’s where their expertise lays.

MiC: How far along are we? What percentage of campaigns do it well now?

Dailey: Some of the last data that I’ve seen, I think it said there was a survey of marketers that around 30% of campaigns are kind of multi-platform in essence, with that projected to grow over the next few years. The reason that that’s happening is that there are really three really core benefits. All of our clients and agencies, they see the fragmentation in the audience. So it’s harder to reach the target audience that they’re looking for, and it’s also difficult to engage them in a compelling way, and it’s hard to do that kind of storytelling that I was just talking about. This kind of integrated platform allows you to do that. Companies are also focusing on the bottom line and ROI, so being able to leverage assets across different platforms and it may take a different shape or form, but if you can take that asset and then put it in different places, that drives not only consistency in your campaign, but it also improves ROI.

MiC: Since involvement and connection is key, who in Canada – which brands or marketers – are using interactive media really well to contribute to brand engagement?

Dailey: I mentioned Dove. A lot of the CPG brands are doing that fairly well. So you see that with Kellogg’s and with Procter & Gamble as well. One of the interesting companies who is [also] doing it really well is TD. You would normally not think that a bank would be so invested in digital, but they really think creatively about who their target audience is, and what they’re doing in their daily lives online and or in different places around the network, and then leveraging what their value proposition is and speaking to them where they are.

MiC: What are the top three things brands should do differently – or top three don’ts – when it comes to building stories and using interactive media effectively across platforms?

Dailey: The one point I would reiterate is the piece on collaboration. I think that’s so key. It’s probably one of the easiest elements that you can miss out on if you don’t make it a point to include that as part of the strategy for your campaign, in terms of how the client and the agency and the media partners are going to work together.

The other piece that’s really important understands the context of the campaign and the channels in which you’re running them. And even though the cross-media and the cross-platform allows you to leverage assets in multiple places, maybe that’s not always the right thing to do or maybe you should leverage the asset in a different way. So you really have to be thoughtful and think about what the value proposition that you’re trying to communicate is. But then how does that relate to the specific medium that you’re communicating that message in? If it’s in a gaming medium, or if it’s in mobile, or if it’s online, or if it’s a communication in social networking, leverage the asset, but make sure you’re tweaking the message so that it’s appropriate for the actual channel.

And the final piece is just drawing out consumer insight. You can imagine with these kinds of campaigns that there’s tons and tons of data that clients collect around engagement, what people are doing on their sites. The data is kind of just there if you don’t do anything with it. So drawing out what some of those consumer insights are, listening to what your customers are telling you and then using that in a feedback loop to improve the campaigns that you have that go afterwards.