Creativity and innovation have come a long way in media and in this frenzied, omnichannel world it has become a great way for brands to achieve effective standout.
As innovations director of Talon I have the pleasure of seeing the young acorns of media ideas before trying to help shape them into mighty oaks.
It is a genuine perk of the job to have people come to me asking "is it possible to...?". The human ability to be creative and inventive is wonderful to behold. And best of all, ROI metrics are showing that investment in innovative media can deliver real results.
Working in Out of Home, we are in the enviable position of working in an incredibly creative, versatile and imaginative medium.
Compared to many other channels, practically anything is possible. Advertisers are increasingly looking to OOH as a medium to deliver the engaging and PR-worthy element of a campaign, not simply as the medium to pull together other elements of their comms plan.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
Historically there was a habit of advertisers requesting that their campaign "needed a media first". And that was the brief. No brand truth. No comms platform. No moodboard or KPI or business objective.
Merely wanting a media first is not a marketing strategy. It is an ego trip. Or perhaps a reputation saver.
A genuine media first in any channel is often a thought-through, integrated, PR-planned, risk-assessed bi-product of a clear comms brief or creative platform. But it is an output, not an objective.
And more often than not when presented with a list of ideas that could be considered media firsts, a client who has requested one would find it impossible to make a decision as to which was best for their brand. The reason being that there were no clear objectives to assess an idea against.
Now we are working with advertisers and agencies who recognise the role innovation plays in their comms planning, and how to amplify it using natural and paid-for PR.
The best media firsts we have executed have been as a result of a clear comms or creative strategy against which a unique idea can be objectively assessed.
So if you have a creative, commercial or even a personal ambition, let's remember to put our media first and our egos second.
It's only by adopting this approach will we keep on making amazing media firsts with impressive results that truly deliver.
Richard Simkins is head of innovation at Talon