Pics Or It Didn’t Happen: Creating Memorable Content in a Disposable World

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Pics Or It Didn’t Happen: Creating Memorable Content in a Disposable World

          Remember going on vacation before the invention of cell phone cameras? You didn’t want to bring your nice camera somewhere it could break or be stolen, so you bought a couple of those gaudy yellow one-use cameras. The cameras themselves were disposable, but the pictures carried immense value: with only 24 opportunities, you waited for priceless moments before you even thought of snapping a pic. Blurred images, red eye, finger in the frame-- these were minor travesties in a world with so few chances to capture your experiences. Nowadays, it isn’t our cameras that are disposable-- it’s our experiences.

          The phrase “pics or it didn’t happen” has become less of a joke, and more of a mantra. We’ve all been to concerts and seen folks filming the show through their phones, completely detached from the music itself, and we’re well aware of the “selfie generation.” We can only really blame human nature for the disposable society we’ve created-- we’ve always been narcissists, but now we can indulge in self-indulgence at every whim. And does it matter? Not really-- everyone lives their own lives, and determines their own value however they choose. But to those of us working in the creative field, it begs the question: In a world where nearly anyone can create and share engaging content with the touch of button, how can we create content that stands out?

          Not too long ago, you couldn’t become a photographer without an intimate chemical knowledge of the darkroom process. Now my 15 y/o sister can take better pictures than my 60 y/o uncle (who went to school for photography), thanks to her iPhone. There is no longer a great dissonance of quality between the professional and the amateur. Thanks to social media and YouTube, both distribution and creation belongs to everyone now.. And I’m not complaining-- the rise in content and competition has made such content more disposable sure, but it has also raised the bar for creating content that sticks with someone in a disposable society. Thus the increasing reliance on storytelling in advertising.

          We’ve sang the virtues of storytelling many times before, and not only have we talked the talk, we’ve walked the walk. Problem is, we’re not the only ones walking and singing, and the stage is getting more crowded by the second. This raises the bar even higher, and occasionally something of lasting impact will turn up, like Metro Train’s “Dumb Ways to Die,” or Thai Life Insurance’s “Unsung Hero,” but high production quality or unique quirkiness doesn’t instantly equal notability. The term “viral” strikes the ears of many marketers like a get-rich-quick scheme, but the secret to building a memorable brand identity and memorable content lies in two popular adages: “actions speak louder than words,” and “slow and steady wins the race.”

          It isn’t about coming out of the gate hot with a large production budget and a meticulously crafted media plan-- sure, that’d be nice, but we aren’t all Budweiser. It’s about a steady stream of honest content about your brand identity, so your audience will remember who you really are as a brand, not who you are when you’re straining to make a great first impression. Maybe these individual pieces of content aren’t particularly memorable, but just because I don’t remember every piece of salmon I’ve eaten doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten the taste of salmon. Most importantly, it’s about creating a memorable impression on the community you serve. Don’t tell the fantastical story dreamed up in caffeine-and-exhaustion-fueled brainstorming sessions, tell your story. If you don’t have a good story to tell, then get to living one! Hold events and festivals, document them, share them. Make your presence known, and you won’t need a mind-blowing memorable ad-- just little reminders that you’re there for your community. It will only be a matter of time before your brand creates an image that is anything but disposable.

If you need help making a name for your small business or credit union, contact The Pod Advertising for a blooming creative solution. After all, we’ve done it ourselves!