I’m a sucker for good metaphors. So when I heard about a new camera from Lytro on my way in to work, I almost drifted off Austin’s Congress Bridge into Lady Bird Lake.
The concept for Lytro’s revolutionary camera is simple: Ready, Fire, Aim. In a single shot, the camera captures much more data than a conventional camera, allowing users to retroactively focus their blurry images into perfect shots. No more smiling ’til it hurts while dad apologizes: “Just one more, everybody!”
This got me thinking: can companies create and disseminate successful content online with a philosophy of Ready, Fire, Aim?
I’m guilty of using this saying to describe people so focused on accomplishing tasks, and yet so unconcerned with collateral damage down the line. But this camera gave me a different perspective, as if telling me: “Don’t worry about absolute clarity – it almost never comes. Take action in the right direction and sort everything out as it develops.”
Brand content – especially when positioned online – requires a great deal of attention paid to consumer research, trademarks, taglines, keywords … the parlance companies spend millions to develop. These are all very important and I don’t mean to devalue them. But they also have the effect of stalling new communications, when in fact they should be driving them. It’s not that companies should be careless and abandon their research, but rather use it to inform and facilitate new and opportune content.
Timely, relevant brand communications have never been more vital. Today there is a premium paid for real-time content, and it’s paid in a consumer’s time and attention. This is why communications and course-corrections must now become parallel actions.
Perhaps the most natural segue into this mode of rapid-fire content (and where some companies are already finding success) is event communications: industry conferences, sponsored sporting events, cultural happenings, etc. Here are two examples care of my colleague Brad Mays:
Both brands used timely content in the form of blog posts, video and images to become relevant during these events and reach a larger audience (Chevrolet even secured a spot on the 2011 SXSW Conference official site). And as such content campaigns grow in effectiveness, they will ultimately evolve beyond solitary events toward steady streams of content published to engage a growing audience.
Like Lytro’s new camera, communicators and marketers should continue to collect as much consumer information and market data as possible to ensure they are pointed in the right direction. But once there, start taking action: Introduce new concepts; Inform the audience; Inspire new ways of thinking; Incite to action.
Companies successfully accomplishing this will raise the communications bar and outpace the competition significantly.