Tag Archives: Branding

Marketing a pencil

A discussion of interactive marketing campaigns used “the pencil analogy” to change my way of thinking. On one side of the spectrum there is a standard, #2 pencil…on the other is a military helicopter.

Anyone can use the #2 pencil. It has the ability to write and erase. There is no user manual, online tutorial or insider tips. Everyone can pick it up and immediately start using it. Then there’s the military helicopter. The helicopter uses hundreds of buttons, knobs and levers to control the way it operates. An individual is required to complete moths of tedious training and virtual simulations before ever being allowed to sit in the pilots seat and raise the machine off the ground. In essence it is impossible to fly without any previous knowledge.

Currently, the majority of interactive marketing campaigns function like the military helicopter. The interfaces are complex and users require above average understanding of programs to access them. The session entitled, “Interactivity Beyond the Screen: Branding in Four Dimensions” concluded that to be successful these campaigns need to function like the pencil, at the most basic levels of understanding.

While I agree that interactive campaigns need to take into consideration the reach of their messaging, I believe a campaign can find a middle ground to reach all audiences. A pencil campaign will quickly lose the interest of the technological and intellectual elite, while a helicopter campaign is too complex for the average consumer to keep up with. Instead, brands need to develop campaigns that use a common voice to embrace the pencil for the common citizen and the helicopter for enthusiasts.

The future of interactive marketing requires engagement and a meaningful dialogue between branding campaigns and a range of audiences. Until this is achieved on an interesting , multi-platform level brands will suffer.

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