Alice Hu is regional Manager of Social and Digital at MSLGROUP Asia, based in Shanghai. She has authored several notable pieces on mobile trends, including The Rise of Asia’s Mobile Messengers.
What it means to be creative in a mobile-first world
Working in Asia, the world’s most mobile-savvy region, one can’t ignore the importance of mobile. At a global level, mobile usage is also rising. Mobile phones have nearly as many users as televisions. It’s only natural then that mobile should have a large influence on creativity.
Mobile, like social media and digital, is a term that is broad and often interpreted and used in different ways. For brands, what matters is that mobile is the primary medium on which most of your audiences will be viewing the content you’ve spent countless hours creating and revising… on a computer. And therein lies the problem.
From the start, our creative ideas, strategy, stories and content are being formulated through the PC medium for a mobile viewership.
Instead of resizing PC content for mobile, we must start to explore creativity within the mobile space to truly create better content. We must think about the user experience on a smartphone or another mobile device.
Consider the mobile versions of webpages, and social networking apps – all are different with their own user experience (UX). For instance, Ikea can highlight its new spring 2015 catalog products on Facebook, Weibo, WeChat and Instagram in the same way: posting a photo with relevant text. But each specific platform has its own unique features and UX; that’s where things can get interesting and creativity can take off. So, on Weibo you can separate one visual into nine to fit the platform’s 3×3 photo upload rule, to create an interesting photo-collage-style Weibo post. You can even go one step further, and add a GIF element to each of the nine photos.
Creative opportunities expand when content strategies move beyond adjusting to the mobile form-factor and are tailored for specific mobile webpages or apps.
A real-world example: Earlier this year, Ikea in Russia used Instagram to create a digital catalog for its PS 2014 collection. The PS 2014 account on Instagram published a nine-part advertisement, with each image featuring a product, each with its own individual Instagram account. Users were also able to tag products, using Instagram’s tagging feature, to showcase how they placed the products in their own homes.
Ikea’s PS 2014 catalog on Instagram, and a glimpse of one of the nine tiles.
To explore new creative possibilities, you must first understand the medium. For mobile, this means understanding the mobile touch point (whether it’s a mobile webpage, Snapchat or something else) and then figuring out how that information is presented in that ecosystem. The result is a novel, exciting mobile experience instead of a frustrating or dull one.
This post is a part of our People’s Insights report The Future of Creativity, in which experts from MSLGROUP and some from Publicis Groupe identify 15 drivers for engaging creatively in 2015.