Lately, Mullen and Century 21 have been killing it with fresh weekly, social content. The agency has completely redefined the speed and process by which it conceives and produces such digital treats as Tryptophan Slo Jam, the sale of Walter White’s house on Craigslist and most recently the fake introduction of Century 21-branded drone landing pads so you can guide Amazon’s delivery vehicles to your front door. Or poolside if you ordered floaties.
There is no end of BS being written about content, branded content, owned content, social content. But truth be told, most agencies are content to talk about it, blog about it and invent buzzwords to label it. They neglect to actually do it. Sure there’s an occasional Old Spice on Twitter or a big campaign like Daily Twist. But few brands have actually embraced the practice.
What makes the recent Century 21 stuff impressive is that it’s fast, fresh, topical, and creative. It’s not a simple post on Facebook, a question about what color you’d like to paint your new house, or even a crowdsourced photo contest. It’s original ideas, conceived, sold, produced and shared online under crazy timetables. Shit, it used to take (and in some cases still does) an agency two weeks to generate copy and layout and that was after a brief has been written, re-written, presented, approved and shared with the creative team.
But this is the future. So what does it mean? It means you better, pay attention to the world around you, filter it through your client’s brand personality, learn to generate creative ideas quickly and surround yourself with a collaborative team of makers. Get rid of of process, approvals and layers.
True if you’re not buying media you have to earn attention. Given that there’s a shortage of that rare commodity not everything will generate millions of views. But if it’s constant and produced regularly, over time it will attract both attention as well as a community of followers who’ll willingly welcome and share the best stuff. It may even be more valuable than that big budget media plan. And if it’s actually creative — original, new, something the world is seeing for the first time — it will, inevitably generate both press coverage and inbound links.
If you’re not doing this at your shop, you better get going. And if you’re a student working on getting into the business, time to get faster, more prolific and learn how to produce stuff yourself. Or at least make some friends who do.
(Full disclosure: Before moving on to BU, I was a partner and CCO at Mullen for years and remain there part time as chief innovation officer.)