In 2018, it’s not just brand VS brand in a good old-fashioned advertising fight. Your brand is now competing for moments—all day long. People consume hours of messaging every day online, offline, on their phone intentionally or not. This flood of sensory information has resulted in a fragmentation of a marketer’s most prized possession: consumer attention.
As a brand manager today, it’s easy to find examples of beautifully crafted campaigns that have been unhooked by store associates who chose to advocate for the competitor’s brand (see Understanding Brand Action). And if your many well-produced ad videos have gotten buried by a single video from an amateur content creator, don’t worry, you are not alone.
Journalists, investigators and marketers alike have relied on Aristotle’s Elements of Circumstances—who, what, when, where, why—as the fundamental part of their annual planning and creative strategy. Who is the target? What is the message? When are the moments that matter? Where is the touchpoint? Why is your brand needed? In today’s world, there are more audience stakeholders, so the Five W’s seem to be smashed together, and the advocate, or naysayer, has real skin in the entire game.
Now, let’s think about the Sixth W—How. Often overlooked and left for the consumer to figure out, the means in which messages are consumed is now the critical context and plot to connect with audiences. How Is a great place to start. It orchestrates the five W’s into a high-performance engine—speed through mastery of technique. How is a harmony of brains and brawn, but not a prescriptive framework. How jump starts an iterative process that is always evolving. How requires commitment and endurance and is going to take grit to get right. The word, how, is easy to say and hard to do. There is a new wave of thinkers and doers who are just crazy enough to do this right. They have capitalized on the shift in consumer behavior and have done it by obsessing about the simple question that others had forgot to ask. How?