New media opens up a world of possibilities for storytelling. We chatted with Prerna Mehra, Creative Director and Head of Design for MullenLowe MENA, about ad land's affect on social media and how the use of relevant data can lead to a future of content that makes consumers feel more engaged and valued.
The rise of social media platforms has made them the key to brand recognition. In what ways does your agency utilize social media to inform/engage your audience and how do you see that evolving?
Social media platforms are not just important mediums, but I would say crucial when it comes to brand recognition. 3.96 billion people use social media today, which accounts for roughly half (51%) of the global population. With 1 million joining on a daily basis, the world is there, and agencies know that. They are using it to their benefit.
MullenLowe MENA has been using various tools to engage audiences, whether it was the Banksy Campaign where we used the strength of social media or the latest campaign ‘Chocapologies’ where we apologized on behalf of the internet to people who have been cyberbullied and trolled online. We used social listening tools on social media platforms to find our victims and send them ‘Chocapologies’ – which are gorgeously designed chocolate-coated apologies.
They in return engaged with their followers and offered them ‘Chocapologies’ if they think the internet owes them an apology. In just a week we have +208% more followers and interactions are up 134%. Where else do you get to see such close interactions with brands?
In my opinion, in the near future, content is going to get richer and more personal. Consumers will feel more pampered, entertained, engaged, and valued.
How has the pandemic affected the way consumers use social media and which platform is the most relevant to your agency?
I think pandemic has brought us closer (I don’t want to call it addicted) to social media platforms. We rely more on them for news and information, for our daily dose of entertainment and education. It has made us better chefs, fashionistas, artists, creatives, singers, actors, and more. It has got us to better ourselves with each content piece, with each post or reel. It has become a part of everyone’s life. Young or old.
We have been playing with Instagram and are now experimenting a bit with TikTok. We flirted with Clubhouse last year, just as an experiment to see how it performs.
To what degree does the innovative use of media by agencies and companies shape the way new media evolves? (eg: interactive campaigns)
It is opening up possibilities. For example, with the ‘Chocapologies’ campaign, we are hoping that the biggies - the TikTok and the Metas of the world take notice and introduce stricter ways to moderate content. One should not be able to post offensive words or words that harm people.
It’s the creativity of the agencies that are also pushing them to reassess and modify their product (ie: their platform). The insights of consumer behavior on social media applied to agencies' creativity are giving birth to innovation on social media platforms. Whether it is bringing new filters, the in-shop features, etc. are inspired by the need and the opportunities agencies are creating for social media platforms. These platforms if you notice are also hiring people from creative industries/agencies to bring in the science of advertising to their products.
How do you utilize data analytics to create more engaging campaigns?
Data Analytics is the new favorite word in the world of advertising and why not? Since there is so much data that can offer actionable insights, which can be used to reassure that the campaigns that we are running are using the right mediums and at the same time are targeted to the right audience. Data analytics also help agencies efficiently monitor their omnichannel efforts. And the use of data in the right way is only going to give you more relevant data to make your campaigns stronger.
Going back to ‘Chocapologies’, we made sure we sent our chocolate-coated apologies to the right people who have been victims of cyberbullying to create the right engagement and conversations. Making the campaign more relevant and effective.
What contemporary forms of new media are you planning on using to reach audiences?
We are trying to explore the world of NFTs and the Metaverse. Though you could say that it’s a new FAD, at the same time, it is the future that is now.