A richer, deeper and more relevant narrative. The goal of all movie releases and the hitherto exclusive domain of the writer and director.
The marketing team, on the other hand, used to spend less time with story telling and more time delivering trailers on TV, in cinema and executing press/posters a few weeks’ pre-release. This wouldn’t cut much mustard these days. Film marketing now needs to be relevant and responsive over a much longer period. It needs to create its own narrative. This means being in step with changing audience needs, moods and cultural influences over as much as 6 months to a year pre-release.
A consistent and well attuned ear to the ground is now an imperative. This means social listening. But it also means listening with purpose. Make your listening actionable and not just about sentiment rating and the keywords that are coming up most frequently.
Rather it is about the topics and points of interest in a film that should guide the content narrative that the film marketer now controls. Here at Spinnaker we worked on the content and digital advertising behind the Spectre release and observing the varying consumer points of interest surrounding the movie over time was key.
Likewise for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation our listening revealed significant conversation surrounding the famous Tom Cruise stunt where he hangs precariously on the side of a plane as it takes off. We decided that this was the perfect basis upon which we should create game based You Tube content to engage our younger audience.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most purist examples of using audience feedback and discussions to help influence the very nature and storyline behind film releases.
Social media has also delivered a whole new swaythe of film critics whose voices are heard by their friends and peers. In a recent study by Twitter and Nielsen, 87 percent of Twitter users over 13 said tweets influenced their movie choices.
Snapchat’s 10 second video limit is also offering huge potential and demonstrable success for the seeding of ‘snackable’ film content that is then shared with comment and critique.
It is not just about better content and narrative that emerges from listening. It enables the most effective timing, audience targeting and testing of messaging.
Just like yesteryear’s studio would not blindly blunder into the release of a movie without proper audience research, nor should today’s film marketer. Content is king – we know that – but it is nothing if actionable listening does not lead the way.