The Five Elements of Fusion
The ITV Fusion approach to Creative Effectiveness can be summarised in 15 words: creative which demonstrates that a brand understands and loves the same content as the viewer.
It’s the difference between creative that shouts and distracts from the programme you’re watching, and creative that sits on the sofa with you and joins in the conversation around it.
Because this kind of creative complements rather than fights, the viewer tends to embrace it rather than blanking it out. This, in turn, leads to measurably higher awareness levels. As awareness increases, expectations of sponsorship and its entertainment value also heighten.
Viewers expect it to be smarter and work harder to engage. SPA research demonstrates that sponsorship credits are most memorable and appealing to our viewers when they emulate both the programme’s tone or content, but are also true to the brand’s other advertising. This strengthens the relationship between the brand and programme and creates relevance, even amongst an initially seemingly unrelated brand and show. As an reflection of the brand’s other advertising, it also delivers familiarity to strengthen the message further.
Real-world Integration is all about aligning your brand with your chosen show across multiple touchpoints influencing customers’ lives. It’s the difference between audiences watching the content once a week and experiencing it constantly in the fabric of daily life.
Brands have a plethora of touchpoints available for partnership activation, and by taking full advantage of these touchpoints, brands are able to get far greater value out of available content licences. In this way, ITV Fusion partnerships are able to stretch deep into the real world of our viewers and customers. This could be on the supermarket shelves, through the employees they encounter, in their social media or even into the charities they support.
This can also work the other way, with brands putting their products into the world of the content via product placement. By putting tablets and smartphones into the hands of The X Factor contestants last year, Samsung received more screen time than Louis Walsh – and as a result, desire for the brand increased by 216%!
However different the ITV content and your brand may appear to be, ITV will increase the effectiveness of the partnership by identifying and building a clear strategic link between them.
This can be as straightforward as when the product and content align in a natural and obvious way. For example the partnership between Lurpak and Food Glorious Food, or that between Ladbrokes and Football Europa.
But that isn’t the only way. Sometimes the strategic link may come from building a bridge between shared brand values. For example the gentle humour and family values that unite Compare The Market and Coronation Street, or the love of the elegance and leisure of a bygone era that link P&O Cruises and Downton Abbey.
It may be as simple as a shared target audience, as in the case of Surf and TOWIE, both speaking to modern young-minded people interested in fashion, glamour, and smelling fresh in viewers’ minds. By aligning with a show featuring powerful personalities, it created a compelling personality for Surf in viewers’ minds, making it stand head and shoulders above other competitors in a traditionally low interest category.
Watching content is one thing; but when customers get the opportunity to interact and participate with it, that takes the power of the relationship to a whole other level. This is why, in a multiscreen world, participative experiences are a key element of ITV Fusion.
ITV’s apps and second screen innovation are going from strength to strength. Working with the likes of AdSync and Shazam, innovations like the wildly successful Domino’s X Factor app game encourage deeper viewer engagement with ITV content and its partner brands. The net result is a powerful and mutually rewarding one-to-one relationship with viewers.
Learn how Participation Value charged TalkTalk's sponsorship of The X Factor.
The 5th Element
The fifth and most important element is the element of partnership. The degree to which the partnership principle sits is right at the heart of the customer strategy and marketing plan. More than anything, it’s at this point where success is dependent on you.
This is the element which can really transform a business. It’s also the one element we can’t control. It’s reliant on you and your clients to deliver.
It’s about building an all-encompassing and far-reaching partnership. Bringing not just your customers but also your employees along on the journey. They’re viewers too and they will therefore act as your biggest advocates for the partnership.
It’s about considering how the partnership fits within your customer acquisition and loyalty programmes. It’s about having the partnership at the heart of everything, and being as consistent across the content touchpoints as you are with your customers’.
If you can do this, you and your clients will achieve the ultimate fusion. This means that you will create something new and powerful which is valued by viewers – that could change their perceptions and behaviours.
And if you can do this, if you can achieve true fusion, then you will create something which ultimately has the power to transform your business.