In this promotional video for Springsteen’s upcoming album, “The Promise: Darkness on the Edge of Town Story” releasing November 16, you’ll see an artist that captured notions and ideas that he would revisit to inspire the right song for an album and maybe for the future. It’s a lesson for creating content/work/messages that has to transcend and work in real-time, anytime, and any channel.
These ideas were precious in how they could be applied and what they could inspire. They weren’t precious as words on a page, which is why they were put aside–buried–until they could be rediscovered in a different context at a later time. They had the value of a collector’s card. They were micro-content, like your tweets, blogposts, ratings/reviews, check-ins, tags, etc. Easy to overlook individually, but hard to ignore when viewed in this new context. These words and abandoned songs grew in value and meaning in the larger context of a lifetime and an album.
Bringing it back to the point of this blog, marketing, that same context can be created in a brand’s lifetime as well. New relevance can come from original, earlier inspirations that drove success and fame for a brand. There’s a healthy skepticism and measure of caution with rolling out the old again, but you can see here how it can work when done right.
Another lesson from Springsteen related to the new Real-Time marketing environment: there’s got to be a Big Idea over all your content and every spot, headline, tagline and tweet should be in service of that larger idea. And each element of your expression of the Big Idea has to be rich and accretive to the body of work. If it isn’t, set it aside or kill it. If it is but the form and timing isn’t right, set it aside and revisit it for application in a different time or channel. Too often our marketing execution is disconnected or lacking equal intensity and quality when it moves from above-the-line (brand advertising) to below-the-line (tactics and promotions) and across channels and agencies. Each agency on a marketer’s roster should be like a band and capable of holding a solo by themselves for your brand.
There’s a joy in watching the creative process of a great artist and a timeless relevance to this footage. Enjoy.