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Creating engaging content for the virtual space

by Kristy Castleton
Star Wars Virtual Run Southeast Asia 2020

What did the brand say during the pandemic? No, it’s not a joke. In fact, knowing what to say, when to say it and how to say it is what separates an attention-grabbing brand from a shrug-inducing one. Especially in the post-Covid age. 


Why make virtual content?

Content is the key ingredient to touching consumers’ hearts and creating unforgettable memories, but in our new socially-distanced world, virtual content is the only game in town. 

According to Tushar Gidwani of ecommerce giant Zilingo, “the pivot has been pretty amazing in the way that the world is consuming content right now. Content streaming applications have seen an almost 20% update across the world and Instagram usage has gone from an average of 53 minutes to 120 minutes”. As consumers spend more time on their screens, brand content is getting more creative and competitive. 


What does your audience want to hear?

Messaging obviously depends on a brand’s size, scope and service, but in times of uncertainty, it pays to be kind, helpful and empathetic. According to PwC, “brands with the best price, coolest product, or most memorable marketing campaign might not have an advantage compared with those that exhibit emotional intelligence and communicate with care, honesty, and empathy, and build trust as a result. In times of crisis, people want to be seen and understood, and they are extremely sensitive to tone and motive.” 

Evelina Lye, Facebook APAC’s Head of Regional Marketing Media Partnerships agrees, saying “brands that are actually doing something to help the everyday person or everyday business are the brands that are winning right now.” 

Think newspapers giving away free access to paid-content. Diageo pledging £1 million to support out-of-work bartenders’ wages. Coca-Cola socially distancing their famous letters above Times Square. On a smaller scale, hairdressers are providing online tutorials and yoga instructors are hosting free online courses. Brands that connect on a human level now will be remembered later. 


How to make content engaging

Sean Hall, CEO and Founder of energy intelligence company Energx, told Rebel & Soul’s 5&5 series: “the last thing anyone needs right now is another boring webinar”. We stand with Sean. Brands should be creating virtual content that makes people want to stay at home. Here’s a few tips how:

  • Always consider what you can do for consumers, not what they can do for you. Are you entertaining consumers, like Visit Victoria’s penguin parade video, or forcing your product to linger in their online ad space like a bad smell? Hard sells will often make customers run for the hills whereas awesome content will pull the consumer toward you.

  • Ask the question: how does my brand come across on screen? Are you blah or brilliant? Given the incredible virtual tech possibilities, don’t settle for anything less than beyond brilliant.

  • Make content relevant and punctual. With a combination of bored consumers and endless online marketing messages, brands have to come out fighting with punchy content that captures the zeitgeist, like Thai Air offering air miles for staying at home during lockdown.

  • Remember it only takes one click. When it comes to digital, virality is the name of the game. Brand content – be it funny, heartfelt, interactive or serious – needs to earn the click of that prestigious ‘share’ button.

  • Don’t forget the senses. Content that arouses the senses, seduces the mind. Brands should generate emotional connections that consumers’ subconscious craves, such as Carlsberg’s adopt a keg campaign wetting the lips of consumers.

  • Gamify experiences. Games trigger humans’ natural competitiveness and shareable virtual games are a one-way ticket to memory town. Donut Papi, for example, launched a mobile game to win boxes of donuts and increased their internal database by 581%. 

INVOLVE® the content 

Whether it’s engaging storytelling or personalising content, Rebel & Soul’s INVOLVE® framework optimises the memory-making process when designing digital neuroexperiences. Using a range of virtual tech, we INVOLVE® a brand’s inner purpose to produce virtual content that is engaging, fresh, innovative and memorable. Don’t you worry Sean, we hate boring too.

Download our Definitive Guide to creating the most Memorable Virtual Experiences to learn more.


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