Beyond banners: linking brand experiences and smart digital strategy

Creating brand experiences online is nothing new. For some time, marketers and agencies have touted the importance and value of driving genuine brand engagement through compelling online experiences that offer more than just a website.

An increasing number of brands, from challenger to mainstream, are now doing a good job of developing smart digital content that not only provides a rich and valued customer experience but delivers commercial results too. Historically, however, driving traffic and matching these great branded experiences with smart digital strategy has not been as successfully executed.  

It was therefore heartening to see in the entries for Yahoo! New Zealand’s recent Digital Strategy Awards, that more agencies are stepping up and creating high calibre multi-layered campaigns that show evidence of strategic planning, start with digital rather than just reworking a TVC for online, create and place targeted custom content, demonstrate proof of success and, most importantly, deliver against the business objectives of the campaign.

The ‘Need2Know’ campaign by Spacestation for IAG, winner of the Yahoo! Digital Strategy Award, is a great example of how linking branded experiences with smart digital strategy can effectively drive engagement.

Following the Canterbury earthquakes, IAG needed to help educate New Zealanders about insurance changes and new requirements to insure properties to re-build value. Recognising audience diversity and tailoring communications accordingly, Spacestation created a multi-layered digital strategy that generated reach, drove quality traffic, delivered engagement on-site and encouraged people to use the Need2Know online insurance calculator.

Its strategy included online video placements on premium publishers supporting a range of video executions—from TVCs to long-format informational guides—to provide information and analysis of the changes, banner and link placements around news-based content and real estate environments, and appropriate advertorial to provide depth of content. In addition, display activity and search engine marketing connected people searching for insurance to the site quickly and easily.

Award runners-up Young & Shand’s ‘Ultimate After Party’ campaign for Hallenstein Brothers and the BNZ ‘YouMoney’ campaign by Mediacom also displayed creative and strategic use of digital media.

Aiming to shift the brand both in terms of image and target audience, Hallenstein Brothers’ Ultimate After Party campaign harnessed the power of social media and celebrity to re-position the brand to a younger audience, and increase on-going sales. Targeting key influencers on social media and their networks on Facebook in particular, created impressive reach and laid the foundation for future marketing activities via the collection of participant data.

And with digital truly at its heart, BNZ’s YouMoney campaign by Mediacom effectively used television to drive consumers to seek out digital ads. These seemingly simple banner ads—with a difference—placed on targeted niche interest sites and major portals, acted as gateways whereby consumers could drag and drop real money from the banner into a new YouMoney online bank account. The campaign achieved outstanding results and metrics against targets, and demonstrated the highly efficient creation of niche content.

OMD’s Air New Zealand Sunshine Coast campaign also deserves a special mention for its development of a total, integrated solution that demonstrates how brands can utilise premium publishers, such as Yahoo!, to create packaged touch points across both desktop and mobile networks simultaneously.

At the core of this campaign was a hub with four Sunshine Coast regional sections located in Yahoo!’s Total Travel site. Custom video and competitions provided more reasons for people to engage with content and learn about the Sunshine Coast, and an Air New Zealand booking engine closed the loop, helping to move people from awareness to action, by checking availability and / or booking flights. A Colmar Brunton branding study was commissioned prior to the campaign, followed by a complementary Yahoo! intercept survey to measure the shift in peoples’ perceptions, post campaign.

All too often in marketing campaigns, digital media strategy is the unsung hero. These campaigns all demonstrate how agencies are now beginning to overlay brand experience in a way that cleverly targets its audiences via the creation and placement of bespoke digital content, delivering not only customer engagement but also outstanding results against business outcomes.

  • Click here to find out more about the Yahoo! New Zealand Digital Strategy Awards and how you can showcase the role that digital strategy plays in the success of your campaigns.
  • Louis Niven is general manager sales at Yahoo! New Zealand.

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