Andrew Strickman (SVP, Head of Brand & Chief Creative at Realtor.com) has worked for two decades as a creative innovator, brand marketer, strategist and social media obsessive focused on drawing consumers and brands closer together through rich, joint storytelling. He spoke on this subject this past July at Elevate on a panel titled, “Taking Action,” which focused on distribution in the age of new media. Brand Storytelling connected with Strickman to discuss the plethora of channels and distribution opportunities that present themselves in the current media environment, the importance of understanding the differences between platforms, and the significance of considering where your content will live before spending on that content.
In the modern age of distribution, it seems as if there are unlimited options to choose from. How does one even begin to decide where to distribute their content?
I think it always helps to start before the content is created by determining what you’re trying to accomplish (objective), who you’re trying to reach (audience) and how you’re going to determine its level of success (measurement). Any good creative brief will start there. And from that point, the pathway to successful distribution is making sure the content you create tells the right story, in the right way, at the right time to the right people.
Alternately a brand can start with a distribution channel in mind, understand who the audience is for that channel (think of differences between the audiences on Buzzfeed vs. Times Digital or Quartz vs. The Onion) and craft content that speaks directly to that audience in their own language that’s relevant to that audience and platform.
What can brands do within their chosen avenue of distribution to enhance and increase engagement?
I can’t stress the importance of creating content that is tailored for either your existing audience, or new audiences that you’re trying to reach. If the content makes sense and is developed in the right format, engagement — or time spent with the stories — will be higher, and even better if it’s in a format that is shareable across whatever social platforms align to your strategy.
How does someone like you measure the success of a campaign once its been distributed?
The metrics we use to measure success are customized for the type of campaign we are running. Our TV campaigns are primarily about raising awareness first, and driving audience growth second — so our primary tools for measuring the former are ongoing research we conduct nationally, and web/app analytics for the latter. For our digital content, which is infinitely more measurable from a quantitative perspective we consider the objective — is it meant to raise awareness and create future audience, or is it meant to drive people directly into our site or app to take an action? Ultimately we also look at the cost of the media and come to some clear benchmarks on what we should be paying for a completed view (CPCV) or a click through (CPC) and use those benchmarks to optimize our buys.
What are you looking forward to seeing and hearing this winter at the Brand Storytelling?
I’m really excited to see and discuss the great work that’s been done over the last year, reconnect with others across the industry who were at Elevate this past summer, learn a lot about how people are finding success in the space, and really elevate (no pun intended) the conversation about brand storytelling. The quality of content being produced by brands and media partners continues to reach new heights, and the biggest beneficiaries are the consumers who now have so many different, entertaining ways to engage with us and the work we do. While we all benefit from having a different, deeper connection to these same folks.
You can hear more from Andrew Strickman and the rest of our advisory board in January during Brand Storytelling at Sundance Film Festival 2018. Please visit our website for more information on how you can attend this one-of-a-kind event.
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