In the latest installment of our ongoing series on Direct-to-Consumer marketing, we chat with Melanie Huggins, Chief Strategy Officer at Ogilvy Paris, about how they achieve brand consistency and fulfill personalized experiences within a cross-channel ecosystem.
Without spilling your secret sauce of course, what is your pitch on DTC?
We like to imagine DTC as an intimate tango between the brand and the consumer; a more fluid and natural brand-consumer relationship, placing both on the same pedestal. It’s another way in which we establish more meaningful connections, a more personalized and engaging experience of selling products directly. Increasingly, it provides some efficiencies financially and streamlines the sale, eliminating a few customer service steps and make it easier for people to buy; As it’s a channel that optimizes the Internet, it provides real-time data from customer tracking.
What DTC is not, however, is a step removed from the customer’s expectations of the brand experience. It’s become more important for brands to be available to their consumers when, where and how the consumer wants to engage; it’s the total brand experience, at all possible touch points, that needs to fulfill the consumer’s positive beliefs about the brand.
November is a popular month for retail and ecommerce campaigns. How does your agency cut through the noise to stand-out and engage with your target audience?
As we step into the festive year in Europe, all the big retailers and many other brands are going big with some of the best advertising of the year.
If you take the latest Coca-Cola film “The World Needs More Santas” from our WPP Open X team, it’s proving to be highly effective (System 1 rating is exceptional) and it has created a lot of buzz. But what we love most about it is that beyond the brilliance of the film, the campaign goes much deeper.
Coca-Cola culturally owns Christmas and it understands the entire experience it wants to give its consumers during the festive period. There is a huge experience map that moves from mass awareness through advertising, encouraging everyone to ‘find their inner Santa”, through to digital and in-person channels. A ‘Find your Santa’ quiz on the brands app and mobile sites determines a personal ‘inner Santa’ type that people can share in social media. Once people are on the app or site consumers can get location- based offers, learn about their latest product news and earn rewards. There’s also an expansion of the ’create real magic’ AI platform assisting with insights, market data, research and trends. There are many more elements to it too, giving people a unique brand experience that moves through the path to purchase.
How do you manage a cross-channel experience that encourages community engagement and at the same time, remains true to the brand?
There is only one way to do it correctly and that’s by putting ourselves in the consumer’s shoes. Humans need to be at the heart of everything we do in whatever bit of marketing or communications we work in.
Our Experience team create Consumer Journeys and Experiences Maps, not for decorative purposes, but as tools to help grow brands. Every single insight during the experience - when they think of the brand, when they consider buying it, when they interact with it or when they advocate - can be turned into a creative brief to better engage our consumers and engage them with the brand.
And it’s by putting on our consumers’ shoes first that we can then stretch our idea to achieve brand consistency and fluidity within our cross-channel ecosystem.
As AI and social media continue to evolve, how you see them expanding opportunities for direct-to-consumer marketing?
By using AI in social media marketing, we can better understand what the audience is interested in and what content resonates with them. This can help us develop deeper, more relevant content and targeted campaigns. It also allows us to get a sense of what times of the day are ideal for posting to get the best response.
User engagement is one of the most critical metrics in social media marketing. The more users you can engage with your content, the more likely they are to take action, so this can be about sharing content, or providing feedback but it’s also about getting people to buy directly your product through insightful communication that helps to overcome the barriers to purchase.