MiCpicks: ‘Three Things’ with GJP’s Joanne Fulford

The media director at Toronto-based GJP Advertising + Design fills us in on the three most profound changes she sees in the way media and creative work together to execute successful strategies.

To identify the work Canada’s media gurus think best exemplifies smart new media thinking, MiC regularly invites guest curators to share their thoughts on the Really Important Things That Are Happening in the mediaverse. Today, Joanne Fulford, media director at GJP Advertising + Design in Toronto, fills MiC in on three major shifts in the way creative and media intersect.

I consider myself a lucky media person. I have the luxury of working in a full-service agency, which gives me the opportunity to work alongside creative and interactive people. This also means that I get exposed to a lot of things that I might not otherwise get to experience. Therefore, I find it very difficult to think about media vehicles or strategies as standalone pieces that fit into a bigger communication puzzle. So instead, I have tried to think about the three things (of many) that I feel have had a profound impact on the way media strategies have evolved.

The race to the finish line
The trouble is…there isn’t a finish line. The digital space has lengthened our communication timeline indefinitely. We want consumers to become our friends and fans but, in return, we also have to account for the long-term relationship. Advertising isn’t like dating anymore: wooing consumers, tapping into their desires and then moving on. People expect more, and they will reward our efforts with a long-term ‘marriage’ as long as we play the role of understanding partner and listen.

By doing this, and responding to their needs, we show consumers that we care and value their opinions. I think that ING Direct has tapped into this extremely well with its Facebook, Twitter and kid-focused YouTube efforts. Having the company CEO (amongst others) posting and responding gives people a stake in the brand, which has value over the long term. As a media person, it is difficult to think about media as short blips anymore. There should always be thought in place for the long-term strategy beyond the honeymoon stage.

Demographics are dying

Long gone are the days where an adult 25-to-54 demo was enough direction to prepare and execute a media campaign, leaving creative to address psychographics, habits and lifestyle. Media today has to be equally strategic and aligned with the creative. Collaboration between media and creative is key to successful campaigns. As campaign tracking and ‘what’s working’ move to the forefront of everything we do, technology needs to become the common ground.

Once we all understand how and why our digital world revolves, then we can all collaborate on how to engage consumers. We found this understanding critical when we were working on the ‘Probably the Best Mate‘ campaign for Carlsberg Canada. Although traditional media was the campaign support, the majority of our internal teamwork was focused on understanding what drove people to engage in the competition – and those were the people we wanted to involve.

Influence the out-fluencer
It is becoming more and more apparent that what we say as marketers matters less and less to consumers. It’s almost like the world has become one big un-staged testimonial. Through the explosion of social media platforms and online communities, people have come to trust the influencers. And maybe this was always the case, but now the tools are in place to make it public and easy to share. The Nissan Cube launch was a great example of this. Cube enthusiasts were given the tools to promote, share and engage with their ‘followers.’ Finding advocates to become the core of your business and the voice of your brand has become a key strategic decision that needs to be made long before the ads go out.

There are so many great ideas and campaigns that have hit the market over the past few years and they really reflect new ways of thinking and communicating. I am excited to be a part of this industry and anxiously await what else is to come!