Standing out from the ‘digital’ crowd

Today’s messaging has to be simple, succinct, easily accessible and instantly capture audiences’ attention, especially in the digital space. Of course, that’s easier said than done. It can be a long and challenging journey arriving at the perfect message, with many unforeseeable obstacles along the way. The world we live in is constantly changing and to stay on top we must not only adapt but lead the way forward.

At a recent Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast: Press and Promote, Damian Bates, editor in chief of Aberdeen Journals and Ed Brooke, head of The Leith Agency, explained their methodology in successfully tackling this difficult task. One from the editorial perspective and the other from an agency’s point of view.

Damian began by referring to the humble beginnings of The Press and Journal. Founded in 1747, it’s 29 years older than the United States of America. Since then, the publication has evolved in line with the ever-changing digital space. The Press and Journal is now platform agnostic.

To stay profitable in the digital space, Damian’s plan is heavily dependent on attracting more advertisers. The publication has transformed its digital studio to a more efficient business operation by upgrading its technology. This was done to meet the needs of its highly successful online platform - Energy Voice. The website launched in May 2013 and caters to the international energy industry with a big focus on oil and gas. In a short period of time, the website has grown exponentially resulting in a vast global readership. It is now the go-to-place for energy news.

The Press & Journal’s digital strategy involves using data analytics to appeal to new advertisers allowing for easy access to their target audience. With this plan in place, the publication aims to remain Scotland’s leading regional newspaper for years to come.

The Press and Journal's first 'homepage takeover' by Nexen. 

From a messaging side of things, Ed Brooke’s presentation was full of insightful nuggets and relevant case studies. Right from the get-go, he set the scene by saying that we see over 3,000 marketing messages a day but most of us struggle to remember a small fraction. That means 89% of marketing messages go unnoticed, 7% are remembered negatively and only 4% are remembered in a positive light.

He described how distilling client briefs to come up with a succinct memorable message can be a rigorous and ruthless process in order to produce the 4% kind of work. Seeing concrete examples helped us visualise and appreciate the cream of the crop campaigns. Check them out for yourself: ‘No Knives Better Lives’, ‘Breast Cancer Awareness' featuring Elaine C. Smith and the ‘Irn-Bru Snowman’ campaign.

With so many companies competing for our attention, we have become less receptive and open to receiving new messages. No longer can companies get away with publishing overdone cliché campaigns. We are a tough audience to please, it takes something special to capture our attention and hold it.