25 August 2011 - Digital media series 4: Digital media = essential viewing

Tags:  Digital media series

25 August 2011 - Digital media series 4: Digital media = essential viewing

To many, Digital Media has become a 'Dark Art', which ultimately is the transcendence of the familiar and traditional offline space to online. However Digital Media is an essential tool for broadcasting brand messages, it enables brands to meet and directly converse with their wider audience.

The Digital Media Alliance (US) defines digital media as "the creative convergence of digital arts, science, technology, and business for human expression, communication, social interaction and education".

The most valuable tool in digital media is that it is measureable and accountable. Back in 2004 (pre YouTube) we created an online weekly series for SONY called 'Trona' spanning 25 episodes and originally shown in 5 countries but later rolled out to 25. The project was initially seen as a risk, 'who would watch?' and 'why would they watch?' were 2 of the most prominent questions asked. After 6-weeks we already knew that the average person was watching for 6 minutes and that we had a weekly audience of 200,000 per week. That’s 6-minutes of consumers directly viewing SONY's products, which is pretty powerful when you consider how difficult it is to get someone to watch a 30-second commercial. The project did not incorporate any of the social media tools that we know today and was only broadcast on SONY's direct site, never the less; the statistics were pretty powerful in giving us some vision on the project's success. Below is an episode example:


Online it’s fast and noisy, it's important to be a strong and identifiable brand with a unique offering and drive traffic with an effort to own the competitive space. So how do you reach you audience and get heard? Direct feeds to your audiences 'channel' is how, it's important to understand the online space in which your audience treads and 'engage' with them there, be that via Facebook pages, Twitter or Foursquare. Traditional (non-digital) media also plays part here where many, QR codes are now becoming dominant in that, particularly being printed on many high-street products and billboards.

This engagement is measureable via many metric tools and therefore Brand Managers are able to view, what works and what doesn't, what their audience 'likes' and what it doesn't, the consumers are also given a voice - which means it's important for brands to listen well and converse, it defines the relationship between the two.

Digital Media says how many words?

The cliché saying is 'a picture says 1000 words', but never a truer word in the 'digital space', as I have already mentioned its noisy in there and therefore swift clear messaging is important. Digital media allows you to broadcast your message in the tone you want, when you want, in order to emphasise your brand. The written word is already open to interpretation and the brand tone is important to convey in the manner in which it wants to be perceived. Value messaging is vital to any successful business; précis direct media illustration can do this. Educating your audience via social interaction is now the only way to highlight brand values above competitors.

Think of digital media tools as dials on mixing desk, finding the right noise level. Digital assets such as animation productions provide Brand Managers with a dial into the audience, raising the 'noise' level where appropriate in order to get heard and fulfil brand awareness objectives, which ultimately enhances sales and/ or educates them on a new product. Online it is also important to manage brand trust; millions of pounds are spent each year on defining brand guidelines and messages. All of that can go sour if the noise levels are unbalanced.

Engagement is key. We have recently finished a game project with a well-known soft drinks company the basis of which is to support their experiential experience at festivals with Europe. There is a Facebook and Android game, in each case there are digital media metric tools to measure its success and in the end, justify its commission and value.

The Digital Toolbox

Quite often we are asked to generate assets in a number of formats for a multitude of purposes be that for web, exhibition stands, conference projections or mobile. Animation is very flexible in this regard, especially as assets can be created at very short notice. Animated content also pays a special part in all of this, as unique assets can be produced and rendered at varying sizes and tailored to the brands 'look and feel'.


Digital media has become synonymous with rapid deployment, traditional media such as print and TV requires process planning, whereas digital media can be deployed and online very quickly. Again animation plays a key role as the end product device, no video shoots, casting or studio cost. With relatively low cost software an animated brand message can be deployed to audiences via mainstream publishers, social networking sites and blogs.

However, let's not forget it's about choosing the most appropriate medium as a vehicle, traditional medium e.g. print still definitely has a part in either the message or the broadcast. Ultimately Brand Managers want to see an increase in sales won or meet another measurable objective, whilst emotionally connecting with people to result in a brand and product being remembered and shared.

Jamie Denham is Managing Director at Sliced Bread Animation Limited - an animation production company with a big reputation. They create exceptional content for commercial, marketing, presentation, training and entertainment requirements

Find out more here: www.thebestthingsince.com

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