One strategy is all we need
A view from Sue Unerman

One strategy is all we need

How many strategists does it take to create a campaign? Just the one. No joke.

People love a strategy. Before a campaign reaches the public, it may well have been through the rigour of a creative strategy, a media strategy, a content strategy, a direct response strategy, a digital strategy and a mobile strategy.

There is just one strategy – and I'd like us all to acknowledge that and call it a comms strategy. It is based on the consumer journey, online and offline, tablet and mobile. Everything else is a set of tactics and delivery executions to make it happen brilliantly.

Today, more than ever, the strategy should start with media first given the proliferation and diversification of channels. It’s crucial that the creative is devised to work in those channels.

We need creative in media channels that people will choose to watch, interact with, share and, increasingly, buy from. Too many campaigns still start life as audiovisual content that is probably designed for a cinema screen even though it is intended for a 40-inch TV. It is then recycled and repurposed for media channels with enormously different requirements, from the traditional (perhaps adapted for an outdoor execution that really should work harder than it does) to the newer (to run on YouTube, where it will mainly be skipped in five seconds).

The Campaign and MediaCo Outdoor CityLive Challenge aims to use the medium to its best advantage. This is how creative for digital outdoor should be devised. If digital outdoor is part of the comms strategy, then the creative challenge should be to deliver copy that works in that channel, not to adapt an existing idea.

At MediaCom, we believe there are at least ten criteria that should be considered before any audiovisual creative is signed off for use. These range from optimal time length (by design, not just a cutdown; Audi has an execution that is a superb use of YouTube, as the whole ad is intended to work in five seconds – the time it takes the car to accelerate) to if and how it is intended to be shared. They also include understanding the context of meshing versus stacking, and how active or passive the audience of the channel is.

One strategy, delivered with creative, designed for the media context.

Sue Unerman is the chief strategy officer at MediaCom