What I really wanted to do was write about the top five German multi-screen campaigns. That was the plan. But while trying my best to remember successful campaigns… I drew a blank. Even while actively researching for creative, innovative and of course multi-screen examples that I might have missed, I found nothing.
Full disclosure: I am as digital native as it gets. I live and love online. So it takes quite a bit to impress me. What I want from German marketers – and brands all over the world, for that matter – is to be more “Harry Potter” and less social media kindergarten.
Kindergarten is running your social campaign without mobile-optimized websites. Which sadly still happens all the time, and not just in Germany. Or doing a TV campaign without sensibly adapting the contents for smartphones, tablets or PCs. Or keeping your event awfully one-dimensional and not enabling feedback or meaningful conversation through social channels.
What really knocks me off of my feet are brands that I can reach via any of my digital gateways (smartphone, tablet, PC and console). Brands that enrich my life with their contents, expertly adapting those contents to the device that I am using. They understand that one size does not fit all – you can’t post the same video for TV, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
The two main keywords here are storytelling and content marketing. Yes, everyone is talking about it. But that doesn’t make it bad. In essence, those two terms are what has made communication great since the beginning of communication. To master multi-screen marketing, one must master transmedia storytelling first. It is the art of telling a single story across multiple digital platforms and formats. What do you need for successful transmedia storytelling (aka multi-screen-storytelling-content-marketing)? A damn good story and a thorough understanding of the individual platforms.
Of course there are brands that show a hashtag in their TV ad. Or that continue their campaigns via Twitter. Or that include QR codes in print. For some this might be exciting. For me it is incredibly boring. It doesn’t nearly go far enough. That’s not multi-screen. That’s a bit of social media sprinkled into the mix because it’s trendy.
Marketers are stuck
It’s the beginning of 2015, and I don’t see a single non-entertainment brand that has implemented a truly successful multi-screen concept. I am not talking about Facebook communities that are displayed appropriately on all screens. I am talking about brands who create their campaigns multi-dimensionally, not just multi-channel.
Why is that? In my opinion, the well-known barriers still stand in the way of true innovation. We still think in short-term business quarters and fragmented silos. Successful multi-screen marketing requires long-term planning, higher invests and cross-sectoral collaboration. On top of that it requires a real understanding of the needs of our customers in exactly those situations that they interact with us through their various devices.
Multi-screen needs content
As a marketer, without question it’s difficult to convince your executives of a long-term, cross-functional storytelling approach spanning fiscal years. But communication is nothing without great stories. And multi-screen needs them more than ever. To go in depth, you need exiting and broad stories. It works like a tree – the trunk is your central storyline, the branches are the story’s strands and the leaves represent the different digital touchpoints.
I hope that in 2015 we’ll see brands that know exactly who they are and dare to turn themselvesthe into the story. I hope that they’ll actively involve their customers and fans. And that they’ll think about using the entire digital spectrum in a way that makes sense and drives the story.
Above all, I hope that brands will start something that it’s worth staying tuned for.
Picture credit: Gratisography, http://www.gratisography.com/