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Friday5: Hispanic Heritage Month: The Digital Trailblazers

September 15 through October 15 was Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. This is the final article in the Friday5’s Hispanic Heritage Month series. Find all the articles diving into the Hispanic community’s digital trends at EdelmanDigital.com.

U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital media. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption. The U.S. Hispanic community is a vastly underserved market, and the opportunities to reach them through digital remain largely untapped.

With a population of over 50 million and a buying power of over $1 trillion, Hispanics are a coveted—and growing—audience for marketers to target. Hispanic consumers are on the web, and they’re setting trends in digital media. Let’s look at how brands can reach the Hispanic community with digital media.

1. Be Mobile

According to a Nielsen study, among smartphone owners, Hispanics are 17 percent more likely than non-Hispanics to access the Web through their phone vs. through a computer. They’re also more likely to upgrade or replace their mobile headsets and buy tablets. A lot of that video watching happens on mobile, as smartphones are becoming the “first screen.” Nielsen states that 10 million Hispanics watch mobile video for an average of more than six hours per month.

When it comes to mobile, figure out your mobile-centric use cases, create mobile-first destinations, drive ROI and branding in mobile-specific ways and integrate mobile prominently into multi-screen campaigns.

 2. Use Video

Two brands that have taken this lesson to heart are Universal Pictures and CoverGirl. Universal Pictures has a dedicated Latino channel on YouTube where it distributes custom spots, featurettes, clips and content. CoverGirl sponsors Becky G, a Mexican-American singer/dancer who has a huge following on YouTube among U.S. Hispanics.

3. Connect and Engage With Cultural Relevancy

Constantly connected consumers are influential ones—spreading ideas, culture and content. The Hispanic audience is very connected. Brands can make great use of digital media to connect with this audience. The key is to create culturally relevant experiences that resonate with these consumers.

An example of this is Starbucks “Noches Culturales” (Cultural Nights). Starbucks*, in partnership with the Edelman Multicultural team, helped the brand engage with the Hispanic community.  The program included a series of in-store concerts, highlighting local Latino musicians and giving them a platform for discovery and engagement with their fans.

4. Speak to Their Culture 

Language isn’t enough. To really speak to Hispanics, you need to be culturally relevant. Take, for example, Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me 2. Universal found a way to extract storylines, show relevant talent, use music and use the Spanish language when appropriate—all ways to help make the film attractive and culturally relevant to Hispanic audiences.

 5. Give Them Choices—más opciones

Too often, marketers think they’re reaching U.S. Hispanics by simply translating ads and websites into Spanish. The truth is, this audience is diverse and often bilingual. Through digital, marketers don’t need to take a one-language-fits-all approach—and they shouldn’t, because there is a big opportunity to reach these consumers in both languages. Let the users pick which language they prefer.

Mattel is adopting this approach, creating bilingual versions of its campaigns. Last year, it launched a cross-brand Hispanic-targeted holiday campaign, “Toy Feliz,” which included a bilingual website.

How have you seen the Hispanic community influence digital media?

*An Edelman client

Friday5: 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month: The Hispanic Mobile Community

September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. During the next two weeks the Friday5 will focus on the digital trends regarding this influential and growing audience.

Hispanic consumers are not only the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., they are also leading growth in the ownership of mobile devices. According to Nielsen’s recent Digital Consumer Report, 72 percent of U.S. Hispanics own smartphones. According to BIA/Kelsey’s Consumer Commerce Monitor study, Hispanic consumers also spend more time using mobile devices and are more likely to use those devices for local shopping. Here is some key insight to consider when designing multicultural marketing strategies for mobile campaigns.

1. Hispanic Gen Xers Lead in Daily Tablet Usage

U.S. Hispanics own tablets at a higher rate than the general population and Hispanic Gen Xers are leading the way. According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report, nearly two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics between the ages of 35 and 49 use a tablet every day, making them the leaders in daily tablet content consumption.

2. Latinos Lead U.S. Smartphone Use

According to a Nielsen report, Hispanics are purchasing smartphones faster than any other group of consumers. The report shows that 72 percent of Hispanic adults own smartphones, which is approximately 10 points higher than the national average. Nearly half of the Hispanic consumers surveyed in the report said they planned to upgrade to new devices within the next six months, which is a reflection of their willingness to adopt new technology.

3. Hispanics More Likely to Use Social Apps and Text

A PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report found that 74 percent of US Hispanic mobile phone users used apps to access social media at least once per week, compared to 73 percent for non-Hispanics. U.S. Hispanics were also more likely to communicate on a weekly basis via text messaging. Ninety-six percent of U.S. Hispanics used text messaging on a weekly basis compared to 92 percent of non-Hispanics.

4. Why Pandora is Booming with Hispanic Users

According to ComScore, Pandora was the No. 1 music streaming service for Hispanics for the month of June. Hispanics accounted for 25 percent of Pandora’s 76.4 million actively monthly unique visitors (MUV’s), which represents approximately 19 million Hispanic MUV’s. According to Experian’s 2014 Market Overview report, Hispanics are 17 percent more likely than non-Hispanics to access the Internet through their phone than a computer. In a move that recognizes this trend, iHeartMedia announced it will produce its first-ever Latin music festival in partnership with Live Nation. iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina is set to take place Nov. 22 at the Forum in Los Angeles and will feature performances by Ricky Martin, Daddy Yankee and many others. iHeartMedia’s music streaming company iHeartRadio is Pandora’s direct competitor.

5. US Hispanic Millennials More Receptive to Mobile Ads

According to an Experian report, U.S. Hispanic Millennials: Bridging Cultural and Technology Gaps, Hispanic millennials are more receptive to mobile advertising compared to their non-Hispanic counterparts.  The study found that 18.7 percent of Hispanic consumers ages 18 to 34 were open to receiving ads on their mobile devices as compared to 8.5 percent of non-Hispanics in the same age group. 40 percent of Hispanics in this age group preferred to receive mobile ads in both English and Spanish.

What tips do you have for targeting the Hispanic mobile community?

This post was written by Melissa Quinones, Yocasta Shames & Will Ayers

Friday5: 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month: Tailoring Paid Campaigns to Reach Hispanics Online

September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. During the next two weeks the Friday5 will focus on the digital trends regarding this influential and growing audience.

“Pay-to-play” has become the defining phrase in digital communications over the past few years, and it’s even truer when trying to reach the multicultural audience. As paid promotion becomes increasingly important online, here are a few tips to ensure you optimize your next paid media campaign to reach the Hispanic community:

1. English vs. Spanish

The Hispanic community is becoming increasingly bilingual – primarily Spanish and English – and their online habits reflect this trend. Nearly three-fourths of U.S. Hispanics speak Spanish at home, yet 45 percent of Hispanic Millennials prefer to browse in English. Many paid distributors allow targeting based on browser language setting, so consider targeting both English and Spanish browser settings in your next campaign – regardless of whether the content is Spanish or English.

2. Mobile vs. Desktop

More than any other community, Hispanics connect using mobile devices – namely smartphones. They browse social networks, read news and stream video all from their phones, so it’s essential that your online campaign is designed to have mobile reach. That means if you’re creating digital assets for a campaign, make sure they are mobile optimized; and incorporate mobile targeting in your paid media plans.

3. Online Video vs. Television

Beyond heavy mobile use in general, Hispanics watch disproportionately more video on their phones. On average, Hispanics spend eight hours each month watching online video, compared to 6.5 hours a month for the average American. Short form videos (3-minutes or less) are increasingly popular among this audience and surpassing television viewing for the younger Hispanic generations. As part of your next Hispanic-focused program, consider incorporating shareable video as owned content or creative for a targeted paid campaign.

4. Micro-targeting vs. One-Size-Fits-All

“Hispanic” cannot be used as a blanket term. Hispanic men differ from women, Hispanic youth differ from older generations, and Hispanics in California may differ from those in Miami in how they use the Internet and the type of content they consume. Therefore, micro-targeting across demographics is essential. Craft tailored messages for specific audience segments and do not be afraid to experiment with new platforms to reach different groups within the Hispanic community.

5. Test and Test Again

Statistics are great, and they lead to audience insights that we cannot always gather first-hand. However, at the end of day, testing is the only way to know what truly works on a case-by-case basis. Plan your digital campaigns to be flexible, so you can test and tailor key messages and delivery of your ads. Experiment with new creative and different platforms to see what performs best and, ultimately, fulfills your campaign goals.

What tips do you have for targeting the Hispanic community online?

Friday5: 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month: Latinos and Social Media

September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. During the next three weeks the Friday5 will focus on the digital trends around this influential and growing audience.

Latinos make up 80 percent of active users on social media, surpassing the non-Hispanics by 10 percent, according to a Pew Research Center’s Internet Project. In order to connect with this burgeoning community, it is extremely important to be culturally relevant and consistent. The bottom line is that they need to know that brands understand and value them to drive engagement and sales.

Here are a few social media channels that your brands should be engaging this community with:

1. Twitter

In a Pew Hispanic Center survey, about 58 percent Latino Internet users on social networking sites like Twitter. Latino users are looking for a way to engage in a two- way conversation with brands. The platform has some of the highest brand-to-consumer engagement which ultimately drives to sales.

2. Facebook

Facebook has seen the importance of connecting brands with the U.S. Hispanic community and developing a market strategy to serve agencies and advertisers and help them target this community. The strategy plans to create an online social engagement platform which embraces their feedback and flows into the brands innovation pipeline.

3. Tumblr

Tumblr serves 2.3 million unique Hispanic visitors monthly and, at least online, it rivals the likes of Univision.com, terra.com and MNS Latino. Nielsen notes that among the top social networks in the U.S., Tumblr has the highest concentration of Hispanic visitors.

4. YouTube

Over-indexing in video consumption, YouTube presents the opportunity to create content that represents and connects the Hispanic community. A production company, MITU, has gone from making television programming to developing a whole network geared toward Hispanic-Americans. It’s a multi-channel network that has assembled the largest collection of Latino content creators on the Web and has become one of the largest media companies providing digital content to the Latino market globally. Now in 2014, the network has four channels and over six billion views.

5. Instagram

According to Pew Research Center study, Latinos are more likely to use Instagram than other groups. Some ways that brands can connect with this demographic on social channel is by focusing on healthy lifestyles and celebrating Hispanic culture.

Is your brand incorporating social media an integral part of its Hispanic marketing strategy?

This post was written by Fabiola Nunez, Melissa Quinones, & Yocasta Shames

Image credit: Al_HikesAZ

Friday5 – 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month: A Hyper-Engaged Community

September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. During the next four weeks the Friday5 will focus on the digital trends around this influential and growing audience.

Latinos have a remarkable presence in the U.S. – they are the largest minority in the country with more than 54 million Hispanics (16.7 percent of total population) as of 2013. This is just the tip of the iceberg – Latinos have a purchasing power estimated to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015, while Latino consumers are approximately 10 years younger than the average consumer. Latino digital presence is a force to be reckoned with as they are more likely to download apps, chat, stream video, listen to music and play games than non-Hispanics, making them a hyper-engaged group.

1. Younger and connected

As one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, Hispanic millennials are mostly native-born and prefer English over Spanish while still embracing their Hispanic roots.  AdWeek dubbed Latinos as digitally savvy, young and socially connected – a marketer’s dream come true. Latinos are part of native mainstream media and pop culture but possess a deep understanding of their origin.

2. Social media, social media, social media

Technology has fortified the link between Latino’s passions and their peers. According to eMarketer, three-quarters of the growing Hispanic population actively utilize social media (72 percent of U.S. Hispanic Internet users will use social networking in 2014 vs. 68 percent of the total population in the U.S.) For brands, this digital influence makes Latinos an ideal community to target.

They are also savvy shoppers who tend to engage with peers about their purchases through social media. They also maintain a strong connection to traditional media outlets. Compared to non-Hispanics, Latinos are overwhelmingly more engaged with radio, infomercials, and billboards.

3. Do not generalize!

The Latino community is as diverse as it is substantial. There is no neat, specific classification that defines all 54 million of them. Brands are reexamining the way they target Hispanics and throwing out old clichés in favor of more culturally relevant. “[Latino millenials] are a versatile bunch. They ping-pong between cultures, languages, interests and behaviors,” said Andrew Orcí, CEO of California based multicultural ad agency, Orcí. As brands begin to embrace the diversity within their community, marketing methods will evolve.

4. Brands attempting to tap this market

Some brands are doing it right. In 2013 Univision launched a bilingual UVideos digital platform meant to target young Hispanics. Unilever* also launched a campaign in 2006 called Vive Mejor (“Live Better”), a Latina-inspired effort to offer beauty and household advice for Hispanic women. The campaign works across different platforms, starting with the ViveMejor.com website, as well as renowned spokespeople, social media activations, and events across key cities. Competitors, such as P&G, were quick to follow these steps.

5. Early adopters and Trendsetters

Relative to the rest of the population, Hispanics are more often first in line to purchase new technologies, including smartphones and tablets. Not only do they enjoy trying new products (31 percent of Hispanics, as opposed to 14 percent of the non-Hispanic population), they set the trends. Nearly a third of Hispanics also enjoy telling their friends about their new purchases.

How does your brand address the growing Hispanic market in the U.S.?

*Edelman client

This post was written by Melissa Quinones and Yocasta Shames.

Image credit: moodboard

Friday5: Keep Your Eye on Social Media Week

Social Media Week is upon us once again. The second, weeklong conference of 2014 kicks off on September 22 in cities around the world, including São Paulo, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and Berlin. Social Media Week brings together some of the top thinkers and professionals in the industry to share ideas, best practices and future insights in to the fast-paced and constantly evolving digital medium.

Here are a few key themes to keep an eye out for:

1. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology has been discussed for a few years now. Whether it’s a Wi-Fi enabled watch or a pair of hi-tech glasses, wearable technology is shaping up to be the next big consumer product. Be sure to check out discussions happening in Los Angeles and London to see how the tech industry is responding and what this means for digital marketers.

2. Data Security and Privacy

The lists of companies who have suffered data breaches continues to grow, and security and privacy are a growing concern for consumers. People are beginning to put more pressure and scrutiny on companies and governments who hold their information. As consumers’ digital life continues to grow, this will continue to be an important trend to follow.

3. Mobile and E-Commerce

Shopping and buying online is nothing new but the frequency and consumer demand seems to be growing continuously. This is evident in the new products and services coming out to capitalize on the need for rapid, easy and secure mobile and e-commerce, including Twitter’s moves toward a mobile purchasing platform. Be sure to check out the many Social Media Week events discussing the future of mobile and e-commerce.

4. Social Media’s Impact on the News

Some say that the news media is “dying.” But, is it really dying or is it just changing with the times? Check out #SMWNEWS to follow the conversations happening during Social Media Week about the changes in how we report, consume and share the news.

5. Content and Storytelling

It seems like every conference or summit about digital media has a keynote speaker about content and storytelling, which tells you one thing: it’s extremely important. Anyone can produce content but it’s producing the right content at the right time to the right audience that matters. Follow #SMWSTORYTELLING to join the conversation about content and storytelling at Social Media Week.

What do you think will be the big trend in Social Media Week?

Be sure to follow #SMW14 to see what’s new and what’s being discussed before, during and after Social Media Week September 2014.

Image credit: Jason Howle

Friday5: Twitter’s New Buzz Word: “Buy”

You might not think of Twitter as a destination for online shopping, but the social media site is inching closer to that reality. After announcing in July that Twitter acquired CardSpring, a payment infrastructure provider, it dropped another huge clue that it will introduce shopping services. Several users have spotted a new “Payment and Shipping” option within the official Twitter Android app settings menu, where users would presumably manage their payment methods and enter a delivery address.

At this time, the purchasing capability isn’t available and it’s too early to tell what Twitter has up its sleeve, but if the “Payment and Shipping” option is here to stay, it could mean a lot for brands and e-commerce.

1. E-Commerce Continues to Trend Toward Social

This intersection of purchasing and digital media is an opportunity to revolutionize how consumers purchase products. If Twitter launches this capability, it’ll mean retailers can directly connect with consumers and track purchase habits through social posts.

2. Time Spent on Twitter

If this update comes to fruition it means users wouldn’t have to leave Twitter to purchase a product. Increased time on Twitter means more time to connect and influence consumer purchase habits without ever leaving Twitter.

3. Stronger Purchasing Habits

Brands and retailers would need to find a way to connect opportunities for commerce into the natural stream of social and mobile activity, rather than interrupting a user’s experience within the feed.

4. A Shift in Strategy

Brands would need to also shift their strategy in order to succeed in e-commerce. They will no longer take a traditional social media strategy to their social ecosystem. Brands would need to find a balance with their community between social content and social e-commerce.

5. E-commerce and Social Commerce

Brands and retailers on Twitter would need to remember that social commerce is different than social e-commerce. Shopping on Twitter would be much more engaging than a typical online shopping experience. Content would still be at the center but with an added emphasis on converting action to a purchase.

By introducing e-commerce options, Twitter would help bring in additional revenue streams and use commerce as a way to boost engagement among users. It’s not in full effect yet, but it may be happening in the near future so brands and businesses need to be thoughtful of their e-commerce approach and strategy.

How can your brand potentially utilize Twitter’s e-commerce option?

Friday5: 2014 Digital Trends Updates

Back in January we reported on five digital trends to look for in 2014 as we dived into the year. Now, the summer of 2014 is coming to an end and we’re moving into the second half of the year. Let’s take a look back at our predictions and see how they’ve evolved since January:

1. Visually Speaking

Visual fluency has been speaking loudly. We mentioned that visuals over words will be a must for brands’ content strategies in the coming year in order to better connect with their fans, and we definitely saw some brands listening.

As mobile usage continues to rise and dominate the digital space, consumers are shifting their communication consumption to short videos, emojis and immersive photography.  Even the simple gestures of mobile such as swipes have become a part of content consumption. The growth of Tinder has led to a series of shopping apps using “glanceable UI.”

Technology has become more sophisticated in how users can communicate and share feelings with one another. New hyped apps like Yo and emoji-only services simplify the process even further and now, music messengers have been added to the mix. We’ve also noticed that brands have been embracing platforms like Tumblr with all its visual glory as a major hub for content-marketing. Instagram’s visually driven platform is also being transformed as a new medium to steer PR crises in real time as noted by New York Magazine.

2. The War for Privacy 

Ironically, the more excited we get about social sharing platforms, the more concerned consumers become about privacy invasion. We mentioned that privacy concerns would become more personally relevant – specifically Snapchat’s data breach and Target’s credit card information breach – and this has become more germane as the year has gone on. Privacy concerns have begun to affect our behavior and impact our morals. People have become hesitant to Google dates – what NY Mag coined “The New Abstinence” – out of respect and are now considering “stalking a crush online” as one of the “Seven Digital Deadly Sins”.

3. YouTube Channels Challenging TV -> YouTube Challenges Traditional Notions of Fame

We noticed that YouTube channels are becoming so influential, especially among younger generations, that we predicted it would start to challenge the power of TV and Hollywood. In April, YouTube invested in traditional ad spending to get the word out about the power behind their “stars,” as reported by AdAge. This inadvertently staked a claim that the notion of “celebrity” is changing entirely, and YouTube is leading the shift. Just last month, Variety commissioned a report which found that YouTube stars are more popular than mainstream celebs among U.S. teens. YouTube of course, isn’t the only online platform changing the way we view celebrities. Instagram is responsible for a new form of teenage celebrity, dubbed “Instafame,” and Vine’s influence continues to grow with their “fan gathering” arm, comprised of some of the most popular Viners in America.

4. e-Sporting 

We highlighted that there was no doubt the gaming industry is reaching new heights, highlighting a very important niche trend we noticed: e-Sporting, or competitive video game competitions where spectatorship viewing was becoming a key attraction. We reported Twitch TV, a site where millions of people watch other people play video games, as a fast rising star. Low and behold, last month, everyone was sure that Google was buying Twitch, which eventually fizzled out but Amazon then moved in and made one of its biggest acquisition to date. Read the full story on Venture Beat.

5. Sensory Perception, The Always-On Consumer 

Nick Bilton of the New York Times discussed a very important topic of how the proliferation of mobile – such as wearable technology and smart watches – will yield smarter sensory mechanics. He envisions that smart technology will become more aware of its surroundings without the user’s input. We’ve seen this trend come to fruition and manifest itself in new ways, including context based advertising – communications that change based on environment, weather and other external factors. L’Oreal even launched the first-ever intelligent vending machine: L’Oreal with enabled color-recognition technology, which detects a color palette in a woman’s outfit by scanning her from head to toe, and expertly suggests eye, lip and nail shades that better fit the color of her clothing and hair.

What trends have you seen change or emerge since the start of the year?

This post was written by Maxine Gurevich and Amanda Kleinberg

Image credit: vancouverfilmschool

Friday5: Pinterest Announces Conversations

Last week, Pinterest unveiled a new way for users to “communicate, collaborate and share with one another,” by launching a new messaging feature called Conversations. With the launch of Conversations, users will be able to keep ongoing discussions on Pinterest around their favorite Pins without having to leave the platform. In this week’s Friday5, we look at what this new feature has to offer.

1. What It Is

Pinterest’s new messaging feature allows Pinners to share discoveries with the people who’d appreciate it the most, plan projects with friends and reach out to people who share their interests. It’s meant for friends or partners to share ideas and make plans around different Pins that interest them. It’s a way for Pinners to share Pinterest content privately with each other.

2. What it isn’t

Unlike Facebook or Twitter’s messaging platforms, Pinterest Conversations is not about messaging or being a communications service. Conversations is about empowering the way people are currently using Pinterest. It’s not necessarily designed to plan events but rather discuss Pinterest content on Pinterest rather than through another medium such as email or another social network.

3. How It Works

When users choose to ”Send a Pin,” they can select to send the Pin to one person or a group of people from a list of contacts that is provided. Once the Pin is sent, the conversation will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the website or tablet app. Mobile users will be treated to a separate screen to view their messages. Exchanged conversations will look similar to those of Facebook’s and will be easily accessible by simply clicking on them and can quickly be shut down by selecting the “X” in the corner. On the desktop version, the conversations will only partially cover the frames behind them, making it easier for Pinners to scroll through and still be able to see the content shared on their feed.

4. Why Did Pinterest Launch Conversations

Last year, Pinterest launched a feature that allowed Pinners to send Pins directly to their friends. This feature exploded with users sending more than two million Pins a day. However, once the Pins were sent, there wasn’t much users could do with the Pins. With Conversations, the hope is to have Pinners continue the conversation within the platform, which can lead to more Pins being shared, and more users engaged.

5. Implications for Clients

Pinterest has directly included Guided Searches into the messaging feature, which will help Pinners to search, discover, and share content that is relevant to their conversations. This may lead to new ways of sharing and collaborating via Pins. Brands that are on Pinterest can now, more than ever, assist their audience with projects such as meal planning, travel ideas, home remodeling and more.

How can your brand utilize Pinterest Conversations?

Image credit: Pinterest

Friday5: Understanding What Planning Is (And What It Isn’t)

Strategic planning has a critical (and growing) role in how we practice digital communications. As a multidimensional discipline, it helps align relevant insights and find specific opportunities for brands. Whilst doing that, it serves as a conduit between creative, the client and the consumer.

Nevertheless, the function and role of planning is not always clear. The question remains: “So what exactly do planners do?” Being a recent arrival to the Planning model, I too initially struggled to understand it, but over time and experience I’ve figured out the basics.

1. Always Planning

Planners divide their time into thinking and doing. They are often thinking and learning more about a recent survey result, current trend or upcoming challenge. Then they put their thoughts and learning into action when they are actively working on a client challenge informed by their accumulated knowledge. Both types of moments are equally important. To be a planner is also to be able to come up with ways to apply original thinking to our work, and being informed and able to use that information is essential. So don’t be surprised if a planner doesn’t have an immediate answer to your question; they will be able (and eager) to figure it out and get back to you.

2. Getting To Know People

Planners are tasked with understanding human behavior. Understanding people’s expectations and if they have been met brings great perspective for planners to define how brands can engage them. Sometimes it could be understanding how a generation behaves online; other times it means engaging in a one-to-one conversation with a more specific audience. In the end, the idea is to be able to fully comprehend how people react – and if that’s a reaction we are looking to stimulate or mitigate. Sometimes, that involves developing personas. Ultimately, planners become the voice of the consumer in the room.

3. Finding an Opportunity

Using several research tools, processes and their own accumulated knowledge, planners compile every bit of information about a subject they were asked to work on, and extract an insight from it. Armed with an insight, planning becomes a process of aligning business objectives and the current cultural scenario information to define a brand’s strategic opportunity in the market. In that sense, planners are responsible for the “Big Idea” that comes from research, and solving a very specific challenge, at a very specific timeframe, with the brand’s long-term narrative in mind.

4. Tracking Progress

The work of planning does not end with the “aha moment.” Once the opportunity is articulated, it is also the planner’s job to brief the creative and account teams on how to use this information to create campaigns that speak to the audience. Later, it becomes their role to verify and reevaluate the effectiveness of that idea, and tweak the strategy as needed, based on people’s reactions. Planning has many forms, but at the heart of it is the need to ensure our communication is meaningful and directed at the right people.

5. What Planning is Not

Planners are tasked with asking the difficult questions, facilitating brainstorms and inspiring breakthrough ideas. Here are what planners are not: researchers, even though they do a lot of research; data analysts, even though they analyze a lot of data; the consumer, even though they represent them in the room. It may be hard to see beyond these misconceptions, but after a while it becomes clear that they don’t do one thing, but many. And considering that all of this takes time, make sure to get the planning team onboard from the start.

How can you partner with a digital planner on your next big project?

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