DIGITAL DEMOCRACY: WE CAN DO THIS
Written by Sally-Ann O'Dowd, republished from Velocitize
This is the second story in a two-part feature about Vote Early Day and Vote for Your LIfe voting initiatives. For the first story, click here.
Daniel “dGon” Gonzales says young gamers are opinionated.
In a democracy, that’s an asset, says the VENN video game personality who is also former team manager of the Golden State Warriors.
“I think there’s a positive way to channel that energy into impactful societal responsibilities like voting, especially in an election as important as this one,” Gonzales says. “Since we as a community aren’t afraid to let our voices be heard when it comes to the things we love, let’s turn our voices into action at the ballot box, too.”
Gonzales will be giving the play-by-play during Fall-o’-Ween, a get-out-the-vote gaming tournament on Friday night, to mark the country’s first Vote Early Day Eve. Celebrities will play the family-friendly Fall Guys game during a five-hour live broadcast on VENN’s Twitch channel. It is co-hosted by Gamers.Vote and MTV, which has been championing voting rights for three decades via its Rock the Vote and Choose or Lose initiatives.
As President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden duke it out tonight during the last presidential debate, a massive coalition of companies, nonprofits and celebrities is betting that this weekend’s Vote Early Day Eve and Vote Early Day will bring an unprecedented number of young voters to the polls.
“Our biggest priority at the moment is to ensure that October 24 is not only the first-ever Vote Early Day but also a really big milestone on the election calendar,” says Max Zorick, senior director of social impact for ViacomCBS’s Entertainment and Youth Brands division, which includes MTV, VH1, Pop TV, and Smithsonian Channel. “We’re creating an election day 10 days before Election Day. The election is now.”
The nonprofit Vote Early Day launched in the spring with some 50 partners. Today, 2,600 organizations, companies and tech platforms are backing the early-voting movement. Major supporters include When We All Vote, HeadCount, Black Girls Vote, NAACP, League of United Latin American Citizens, Patagonia, Levis, Target, Uber, Snapchat, and Twitter, says Vote Early Day Project Director Joey Wozniak.
It’s a public-private partnership intent on reversing a downward trend in voting.
“We’re working to activate nationally and in 20 cities across the country, like Atlanta, Detroit, New York and Los Angeles. We’re going coast to coast and many of [the activities] will lean into pop-up art installations,” Zorick says. “Our activations are drawing visibility to young people and first-time voters on how they can be voting early, and what their options are.”
As the American citizenry has grown more diverse, and as more Americans have obtained the right to vote, participation in the electoral process has actually declined. Of eligible voters, 60% cast a ballot in the 2016 election, according to the United States Elections Project, run by University of Florida political science professor Michael P. McDonald.
In the 19th century, when voting was, in practice, restricted to property-owning white men, more than 80% of eligible voters cast a ballot in each U.S. election.
“Voters came to the polls in part to socialize with friends, have a free drink (or several), and enjoy the entertainment that parties would provide,” write Columbia University Political Science Professor Donald P. Green and Oliver A. McClellan, a Columbia doctoral candidate in political science. “Polling places were deliberately located in areas that were conducive to social activity, such as saloons. The historical record suggests a strategy for increasing turnout: attract voters to the polls by accentuating the social aspect of civic participation.”
Voting rights groups borrowing from the 19th century playbook—albeit loosely and perhaps unwittingly—are on to something. Research by the non-profit Civic Nation indicates that early-voting initiatives increase voter turnout.
“Our analysis of early vote celebrations in Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee in 2018 found that weekend events held at early voting sites had an even greater effect: raising turnout by about 3.5 percentage points, or 90 votes, per precinct,” write Columbia’s Green and Civic Nation’s Shira Miller. “This much is clear—voting celebrations are among the most cost effective get-out-the-vote tactics available.”
As Americans stay home because of the coronavirus, digital get-out-the-vote content is having a massive impact on voter registration and voting. As of October 21, 40.6 million Americans had cast their votes, representing 86% of all early voting in 2016.
For brand marketers used to engaging Gen Z and Millennial audiences, rocking the vote via technology and social media is not only second nature but also the right thing to do.
“Digital content presents a tremendous opportunity to influence the behavior of our audience, most of whom consume the majority of their media diet from various online platforms,” says VENN Co-Founder and Co-CEO Ariel Horn. “Our hosts are able to speak to young people with fluency, credibility and energy.”
Marketers often talk about changing behavior; it can be as innocuous as changing toilet paper brands or asking people to join the U.S. Army. Here, we’re talking about getting young people to go somewhere, safely, possibly stand in line for hours, or put a paper ballot in the mailbox. The digital-to-physical transference requires clear information and a respectful tone.
“Our goal is to make sure that every single person in the gaming community that wants to vote has the information they need,” says Gamers.Vote CEO Christie St. Martin. “This election is shaping up to have the highest voter turnout in American history, and young, engaged audiences are critical to determining our future.”
The Fall-o’-ween five-hour live broadcast is scheduled to begin at 7pm EST Friday. As “dGon” Gonzales casts the event, as a sportscaster would, Chrissy Costanza, lead singer for Against the Current, will serve as host. Players include New Orleans Pelicans forward Josh Hart, musicians from the alt rock band Wallows, web series creator and gamer Felicia Day, and rapper Tee Grizzley. The public will be able to interact with the gamers, in sync with Fall Guys’ multiplayer spirit.
Here is a short list of other digital activations.
Vote Early Day Eve: October 23 Digital Events
Vote Early Day: October 24 Digital Events
Taken together, the digital and physical events reflect the intent to lessen the country’s divisive tension. It’s the act of voting that counts.
“Like most things, it’s important that people know all of their options before deciding which one works best for them—voting is no different,” Vote Early Days’ Wozniak says. “Things are tough right now, and 2020 has presented unique challenges for voters across the country. We want to make the process a little easier for every eligible voter. ”
Indeed, every company in the coalition sees its customers as a voting vertical, whether it’s gamers or people sporting denim.
Lime, the scooter company, is a quintessential example of digital-meets-physical engagement. For this election cycle, Lime is reducing transportation barriers such as cost, lack of car ownership, and Covid-19-related concerns in cities throughout the country. U.S. riders will be able to use the promotional code LIMETOPOLLS2020 to receive two free rides up to 30 minutes across all vehicles in the Lime app, including JUMP bikes.
“This is the most important election of our lives,” Lime CEO Wayne Ting says. “Healthcare, climate change and the future of so many cities we serve are on the ballot in 2020. At Lime, we’re focused on doing all we can to register voters, ease access to polls, and encourage our riders to vote.”
For Horn, the co-founder of VENN, the MTV partnership reflects how an iconic brand can influence one generation, which goes on to influence another. It’s like using the same detergent your mom did, or voting, because you saw people on TV talk about it 20 years ago.
“Growing up, my co-founder Ben Kusin and I were inspired by Choose or Lose on MTV and the way they committed to news as a platform to speak directly to youth around the current events that mattered,” Horn says. “Both of us agreed that the driving force behind VENN would be our understanding that gaming isn’t a niche anymore. It makes sense that we’d address massive critical issues like this through the lens of gaming.”
Image source: Pixabay
Republished from Starmark
”They may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” That Maya Angelou quote comes to us from voice artist Mindy Baer, and it underlines what this entire article is about. Because brand personality, more than anything else, is the way to carve out a space in the minds of consumers by creating an emotional connection.
The future of digital marketing offers space in emerging tech, like voice assistants, and new media, like TikTok. Now, it’s time for companies to consider how well documented and consistent their brand personalities are – because these new opportunities come at the expense of many of the crutches relied upon in the past by logo and design-driven legacy brands.
In this article, a panel of experts offers their advice on what any brand steward or marketing professional needs to know to stick the landing when taking the leap into emerging digital marketing trends and new channels. Because whether 2020 has you looking to take your brand to TikTok, augmented reality, immersive video, voice assistants, chatbots or virtual trade shows, defining your brand personality is the key to getting it right.
What is brand personality?This is one topic that deserves its own article, which is why we wrote one. But to keep things simple here, think about this: What defines you as a person? Your interests, your mission, your appearance, your voice, your actions and your demeanor – just for a start. A brand is no different. The best, most successful ones are driven by well formed personalities.
Jennifer Whetzel of Ladyjane Branding says, “With my clients, I try to make it simple and fun. I have them take a short quiz that helps me understand who they are, and then we talk through different types of brand archetypes within the cannabis marketplace to help them fully define their brand personality.”
Three of the brand archetypes used by Ladyjane Branding – the Eternal Child, Explorer and Socialite, respectively.
Tip #1: Define your own space in new media
”One misstep we see are companies trying to define themselves purely in relation to their product or service category. When you think about it, those product categories aren’t meaningful to real people out in the real world. They aren’t forming a relationship with your laundry detergent because of how different you are from your competitors,” says Dave Berg of Shepherd. Shepherd specializes in using data-driven audience analysis to help clients uncover new growth opportunities by uncovering the passions that unite people.
Dave adds, “That kind of category-comparative thinking is a relic of a world where you could buy people’s attention. It’s just not the world we’re living in today.”
They aren’t forming a relationship with your laundry detergent because of how different you are from your competitors.” – Dave Berg, Shepherd
The takeaway here is to find your own brand personality that’s authentic and matches your common interests with audiences. Focusing too much on what the competition is doing is a trap.
”We always try to find the clear space in the sports market for our clients,” says Bill Wollert, Managing Director of Optimum Sports, the dedicated sports marketing division of Omnicom. “With a clear brand focus and personality, it’s easier for our team to find the ways they can add value to the space in ways others couldn’t or wouldn’t,” he added.
“With a clear brand focus and personality, it’s easier for our team to find the ways they can add value to the space in ways others couldn’t or wouldn’t.” – Bill Wollert, Optimum Sports/Omnicom
Tip #2: Use your brand personality to eliminate waste
Let’s face it; there’s a cost to creating an AR experience or diving into a new social channel. “Even if it’s not a big deal to fund the up-front development or the ongoing costs of content, if you’re investing in a tool or a channel that doesn’t fit your brand and audience, you’re never going to get the value out of it,” says Sarai Nuñez, social media consultant and professor for University of Miami’s School of Communication.
“One of the first things I work through with many clients is getting past the idea that we’re for everyone. One of the most powerful things about defining your brand personality is it tells you who you’re not. And that helps you make real business decisions about where to invest and what to avoid,” adds Jennifer Whetzel. Ladyjane Branding specializes in helping cannabis brands find their personality and voice in an emerging market.
One of the most powerful things about defining your brand personality is it tells you who you’re not.” – Jennifer Whetzel, Ladyjane Branding
Eliminating the irrelevant is one critical but overlooked function of a documented brand personality. It will help you figure out what audiences aren’t going to be relevant targets. And it will also help you figure out what media just aren’t a good fit for you and the value you offer.
This is a powerful tool for helping you avoid missteps in new media and failed experiments in new tech. Sarai Nuñez says, “Trust the people you’ve hired to help you with your brand. If they’re steering you away from a certain medium or steering you toward something else, it’s because they’re trying to find what fits.” Because for brands, as with people, there are absolutely different strokes for different folks.
Tip 3: Brand development can help you find your tribe
Part of the brand personality process helps you uncover what’s important to you. And those brand passion points are the key to making real connections with new communities. For instance, if you’re a tool brand that values ingenuity, it’s easier to see how you might look beyond your audiences of craftspeople and DIYers to find a shared passion with PC builders and IT professionals.
”When a brand understands who it is, it’s easier to find new growth audiences that make sense. The big data part of what we do helps find those tribes united by a strong shared interest,” says Dave Burg. “A brand that knows itself is going to be able to build authentic relationships in those communities,” he adds.
”As we’ve seen cable TV penetration rates decline and entertainment viewership shift to OTT and VOD services, traditional cable and broadcast sports programming viewership has remained relatively stable – or gone up in some cases. Sports is still a way to deliver massive reach, and these consumption shifts have given advertisers a second chance to rethink their sports strategies. As we’ve seen cable TV penetration rates decline, women’s sports is now one of the more efficient ways to reach female audiences,” says Bill Wollert. “And you’re part of the conversation that you know the audience is passionate about,” he adds.
Tip 4: Figure out what value your brand can provide
According to Bill Wollert of Optimum Sports, the clients who’ve figured out how to add value to the communal experience for sports fans are the ones who’ve benefited most. He went on to say, “When an advertiser is looking to enter into the sports marketplace, we push them to think about how they can bring value to the fans. Sports fans always want to get closer to the game, so figuring out how to do that can unlock new opportunities. It’s all about having a fan-first mindset.”
“When an advertiser is looking to enter into the sports marketplace, we push them to think about how they can bring value to the fans.” – Bill Wollert, Optimum Sports/Omnicom
Credits: Sophie Robbins and Francesca deWeerdt, University of Miami
“The students in my Advanced Creative Development class are great at this because they’re so much closer to emerging trends,” says Sarai Nuñez. “For a COVID-related brief, they came up with an idea for Goodwill; a TikTok challenge to try on everything in your closet and have friends tell you what to keep or donate. We dug into the audiences, really got to know their struggles, and this was a great use of TikTok to escape boredom in quarantine in a way that helps Goodwill restock.”
These service-minded questions are absolutely the crux of any good branding endeavor, and defining those values should be part of your brand personality process. The important thing to remember here is to approach any new marketing technology or new media channel with an idea of how you can make the space better. What fun can you add for users? How can you address a pain point? How can you amplify their passion?
Tip 5: In the world of marketing technology, it pays to make your brand more human
”I have to evaluate every opportunity by considering if I can portray this honestly,” says Mindy Baer. “When I’m creating a promo for a new show, I have to think about the experience of watching it. Does it need to feel like curling up next to your friend on the couch with a glass of wine or is it a late-night true crime nail-biter?”
”The first thing we do is start talking about human characteristics and archetypes, and that’s no accident,” says Jennifer Whetzel. “I really need my clients to think about their brands as real people with real personalities and dimension.”
Developing a real human personality is what allows you to relate to an audience in a way that’s meaningful and authentic. But don’t overcomplicate it. Start by defining the very small number of things that should always be true about any interaction with your brand. Are you absolutely always cheeky and joyful? What about uplifting and supportive? The goal isn’t to define everything you can be, but instead to outline what you must always be to maintain consistency. If this sounds tough, it’s because self-examination always is. And while it’s totally possible to outline your brand personality within your own company, the process is much easier with the help of an outside perspective from an agency partner or consultant.
Your brand personality gives you the power to go forth and conquerIf you haven’t defined your brand personality, we hope these tips have shown you how much you stand to gain by getting real before diving into emerging media or tech. Knowing who you are, definitively, will save you immeasurably in the long run by helping you determine how, where and with whom to play.
This group of experts – from the emerging market of cannabis branding to sports marketing to professional commercial voice work to higher education to audience segmentation and analytics – hopes this article will help you understand and document your brand personality so that you can step more boldly into new spaces. If you want to know more about developing your brand personality in new places, check out our articles on developing your brand personality the easy way, finding your brand personality in your favorite TV characters and how to bring your brand to life in augmented reality.
Thanks again to Jennifer Whetzel of Ladyjane Branding, Voice Artist Mindy Baer, Bill Wollert of Omnicom’s Optimum Sports, Dave Berg of Shepherd and Sarai Nuñez of University of Miami for lending your expertise.
Written by: Jacob Edenfield, Starmark Associate Creative Director
AAF Broward + Palm Beach was established in 1957 as a local arm of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) to serve the interests of all disciplines and career levels in advertising. Now in 2020, we serve the Greater Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach County advertising community.