Instant access has completely revolutionized web design. A few years ago you could get on the internet from a wireless access point at a coffee shop or a hotel. Now, Wi-Fi exists practically everywhere, from burger joints and libraries to Amtrak trains and they barely scratch the surface of Internet availability. Many users shop on their smart phone for easy Internet access to mobile broadband, particularly on social media sites and news outlets. Ultimately, though, the best way to get web access across the country is with wireless broadband. Using a cell phone to pull in signal which is then sent to a laptop, you can connect to the Internet anywhere you can maintain a strong enough cell phone signal.
Due to these changes in the way we access the internet, web design is being forced to change the way it handles the Internet. Rather than putting up page after page of text tech web post , writers post information in small short bursts (from the miniaturized article, the blog post, to the incredibly short burst of words that can be fit into a tweet). Instead of developing a complicated logo, designers develop a smooth, clean image that is easy to recognize and translates well to the small screen of a cell phone. Contests and sales are more interactive and involve pulling others to view the same site, increasing both page views and final purchases.
Each of these seemingly minor changes is an initial reaction to the constant availability of the Internet, but they are certainly not the end results. Over the next several years we will continue to see significant changes in the way we do things on the Internet, and most of these will be driven by the consumer’s desire for information and the individuals desire to be connected with their network of friends and family.
How do you deliver a marketing message to a Web-audience that hates advertising? A few years back I proposed a solution based on short-form television-style programs: the “120 Second Solution,” two minute brand-story commercials formatted in a mini three act Web-video presentation. Today this concept is called Branded Entertainment: a two to seven minute commercial that combines content, advertising, and entertainment in a brand story format designed to attract and hold an audience’s attention while delivering a memorable core marketing message.
The concept has been a hard sell as it flies in the face of a lot of conventional wisdom about advertising formats, attention spans, and content credibility. Like most good ideas it seems that branded entertainment’s time has finally come. Various marketing blogs are all a twitter about Orbit Gum’s new campaign called “Dirty Shorts” featuring it’s first branded entertainment effort, a 5:17 minute branded video from Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. It seems these well-known actors have enough faith in this advertising format that they’ve formed DumbDumb, a branded video production company. Their first effort, “The Prom Date,’ was viewed 110,000 times in just three days.
Of course not everyone has the deep pockets required to hire Jason Bateman, but with proper planning and implementation a branded entertainment video campaign is within reach of most successful small and medium sized companies.
The single biggest obstacle in implementing this kind of campaign is not the cost, but rather, the commitment to a style and format most business owners find hard to swallow: the need to focus on a single core reason why customers should buy your product or service and to deliver that message in some bold or offbeat manner.
All to often entrepreneurs think of advertising in conventional terms like display, banner, and classified (e.g. Adwords). Even Web video has been pushed, prodded and crammed into pre-roll and post-roll television style spots. The Web isn’t television; it requires a whole new way of thinking when it comes to marketing presentations.