Outlook 2015: We Are Royale's Jayson Whitmore - The changing way brands are communicating with their audience
Jayson Whitmore
Issue: January 1, 2015

Outlook 2015: We Are Royale's Jayson Whitmore - The changing way brands are communicating with their audience

Jayson Whitmore
Partner/Executive Creative Director
We Are Royale
Los Angeles

Looking ahead to 2015, we see a fundamental shift in how we are connecting with the consumer beyond the traditional :30 spot. For brands, in particular, there’s a change in how they communicate with their audiences. They’re becoming skin to lifestyle brands -- creating more feel-good content that tells a higher purpose or a more meaningful story. Think Chipotle with its Scarecrow film and mobile game, which has changed the national conversation about food and sustainable farming practices. We’re seeing brands reaching out to consumers more and more online and less on TV. We’re on the cusp of a digital revolution in the way we consume media. Something that Steve Jobs saw clearly and was working towards with Apple before his death.

It’s a really exciting time in which everyone’s trying to figure out the magic sauce, especially with entertainment brands. How does HBO Go and other debundling of services affect the way content is being distributed? Where are advertiser dollars going now?

As the consumer continues to move away from the traditional broadcast into the integrated digital platform, we’re seeing the trend of budgets decreasing. Media buy costs are coming down and being redistributed to other channels, so the expectation is that companies like ours can do more for less. Our job, as their creative partner, is to assess a brief and figure out creative ways to meet those project parameters within the budget. How do we continue to be profitable? We have to set expectations upfront with clients and be absolutely clear on what we can realistically produce at the level of quality the client wants.

Another area that we’re seeing tremendous growth - and increasing client requests - is in the experiential market. Experiential has been a buzzword for a while, but it’ll continue to grow. Creating short stories or branded content in physical environmental spaces allows people to interact with brands and their products, whether it’s in a retail store or at a trade show. It allows them to relate to the brand in a more tangible way. More specifically, we’re seeing more requests for virtual reality experiences, such as Oculus Rift, which was originally created for video games, but is now being used in other ways to completely immerse people in a virtual world. The main challenge we see is how brands legitimize the expenditure that goes into creating this experience, which can oftentimes be more of a short-term commitment, versus one on TV or elsewhere. 

The other part of this growth is user-generated content. Again, something we’ve been hearing about for some time, but brands such as American Express are finding ways to create content that’s related to their brands, but being generated by their consumers. It’s a great way to reinvigorate the brand story and also keep consumers engaged.