November 29, 2017 - No Comments!

Insights From Inside: Peeling Back The Polish

by Susannah George, CEO & Founder

I am a total perfectionist and for the last two years, the building momentum around real time media has made me want to cover my eyes like the see-no-evil emoji. (🙈)

It’s impossible to ignore the deluge of instant content that’s blowing up across Snapchat, Facebook and the now-leader, Instagram. (ICYMI, Insta Stories surpassed Snapchat’s daily users early this year, on their first birthday.) And quite frankly, peeling back the polish that I’ve prided our brand on has made me feel unbelievably exposed.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in that. The idea of reducing the control around our brands, and our clients, feels like a minefield. And yet, many of us are conscious that it’s also one of the greatest opportunities we have. That we need to learn to manage the risk to reap the reward.

As to how the O.G. Snapchat was about to amass 170 million daily users and disrupt the Facebook empire sufficiently to follow suit? I have my theories… Certainly, a growing trend toward capturing moments to prove they transpired. (Enter, #picsoritdidnthappen) Though perhaps more poignantly, it all boils down to the age old need for trust – a growing preference to share in a version of the world that’s more authentic, more true; a backlash, led by millennials, in the face of over-filtered celebrity snaps, hyper-saturated sunsets, and seriously misleading food porn.

When butts are so high they warp doorframes...

Complexions are all shades of flawless…

And breakfast that looks like it was served in the post-Oz land of technicolour dreams.

Quantity Over Quality

Where once millennials curated their social feeds more religiously than brands, today they’re opting for quantity over quality. They create hundreds of millions of content pieces each day and are shifting their consumption behaviour to dedicate the majority of their time perusing the real-time carousel; thumbs tapping the right-now in lieu of scrolling through the feed of things shared more than 2 hours ago.

And unlike mid-30-somethings like me, they could care less about the longevity of their content. It’s not a treasured archive of experience, but a stickered snapshot in time – a RN (right now) look at #lyfe in all its unfiltered glory.

Timeliness = Relevance

Being both a publisher, and a perfectionist, the idea of peeling back the polish and the production value is quite daunting – producing content that isn’t lauded for its cinemagraphic brilliance, but its timeliness.

And inherent in that timeliness lies a new measure of quality – one that shows, first hand, that we as publishers and as brands, have relevance in culture. And that relevance presents an invitation to their lives.

This perfectionist is a convert.

Real time content represents one of the most under utilised opportunities, both for media and for brands. And while some waste time rendering style guides on to the new genre, hundreds of millions of people are consuming the content of those who were prepared to take the leap and fly.

The Proof

Each week, we see our Insta Stories racking up 450,000+ views – half a million eyeballs actively engaging with content that could just as easily, and relevantly be produced in collaboration with partner brands.

Half of our team watched the YES announcement crowded around Facebook Live (despite the oversized TVs dwarfing our board rooms) – testament to the relevance of this channel over broadcast. Ed note: Facebook Live is a space we’re just about to navigate through the talents of our new Branded Content Director, and former MTV Editor, Leni Andronicos.

And while the commercial opportunities of Snapchat are still being tested and trialed, this is a platform that our audience adores and as such, in 2018 we shall be showing it some love and getting on board.

We’ve always been committed to storytelling, where, when and how our audience wants it. And today, it seems they’re asking us to cut the brand conservatism and get real.

Top Tips From Our Editors
  1. Don't fight the medium.
    Higher production value does not equal increased impact. Produce content that pairs with the strength of the channel, and make use of it's native features (like polls, stickers and Facebook Live's functionality that allows you to create/edit some of the content in advance).
  2. Just because it's live doesn't mean that you can forget the narrative.
    This is still content and it should tell a story. Plan what you want your audience to take away from the experience, and look for elements that bring this to life.
  3. Authenticity is the aim of the game.
    Brand integration must be carefully considered, and used sparingly within the first 5 seconds unless you're in the fortunate position of being a socio-cultureal phenom. Arnotts & Peters Iced Vovo ice-cream collab, and unicorn Gaytimes, we're looking at you.

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