SOURCE: Arc Worldwide

March 07, 2006 12:20 ET

Arc Worldwide Counsels Marketers on Use of Video Podcasting

Provides Top Tips for Marketers Interested in Engaging Consumers

CHICAGO, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 7, 2006 -- Arc Worldwide is announcing a series of tips and strategic advice for marketers interested in engaging consumers through video podcasts, basing its counsel on research conducted by Arc's consumer-experience planning team.

"Our on-demand culture, spawned by new ways to easily syndicate content, is changing how and where marketers reach their valuable customers," said Matt MacQueen, experience planning director at Arc. "While mass advertising won't go away, marketers can't just push it anymore with the same success. Consumers are in control -- now it's about finding smarter ways to engage them with branded, relevant content. Progressive marketers need to work in emerging channels where the people are. Today, one of those dynamic new channels is the video podcast."

A study by Pew Internet & American Life Project complements Arc's qualitative research. According to the report, more than 6 million of the 22 million American adults who own iPods or MP3 players have downloaded podcasts. Bridge Ratings, which measures radio audiences, has said podcast audience growth is expected to reach a conservative 45 million users by 2010, while aggressive estimates place this number closer to 75 million. As a marketing innovator, Arc has taken an active role in counseling clients on the correct strategies for using this new communications medium.

Arc's unique point of view on the subject derives from its practice of integrated, consumer-centric marketing. "An effective video podcast has to come from the essence of the brand and be relevant to consumers' lives. It can't be arbitrary, licensed content or just recycled ads," MacQueen said. "At Arc, we innovate based on consumer insights to find the right connection between the marketer and the customer. We identify what the right content is, the best channel to express it, and keep a legitimate value exchange."

Michael Moore, director of interactive marketing at Nestlé Purina PetCare, said: "We believe that audio and video podcasts -- which we produce with our interactive agency, Arc Worldwide -- provide a meaningful way to connect with our customers and foster dialog. That's because our podcasts reflect our mission and passion -- the improvement of owner-pet relationships, and a passion for fun and entertainment. And that's what our customers care about, too."

Arc's advice for marketers pursuing this new channel includes:

1.  Products or services that are high involvement, require a high
    consideration prior to purchase, or reflect a high level of
    emotional attachment -- such as pet-care, cars or financial
    information -- are a more natural fit for video podcasts than
    other categories.

2.  Consumers may take pet-care advice from Purina or investing advice
    from a reputable financial-services firm, but they are less willing
    to accept content that is not a true reflection of your brand.
    Create or commission fresh, energetic content that reflects your
    brand's essence and what your customers' crave. Exclusive,
    behind-the-scenes content tied to a popular sponsored event -- such as
    Purina's tie-in with the televised Incredible Dog Challenge -- is also
    a good place for podcasters to start.

3.  While placing your existing TV ads into other people's podcasts may
    be another way to send your message, it's really not the best way to
    take advantage of podcasting's potential. for Indeed, this is not the
    medium being sales-y.  Make sure you're giving consumers something in
    return for their attention to your brand.  Make it a value exchange.
    People download podcasts for engaging, meaningful content that
    complements their lifestyle and interests.  Give it to them.

4.  Whether they're on the bus with an iPod or at home in front of a
    desktop PC, consumers want to view quality, unique content.  If you
    want to connect with consumers in a mobile environment, make sure to
    design the content for a small iPod screen.  Likewise, don't skimp on
    the production value just because it's relatively easy to produce a
    video podcast.  Hire professionals to produce the podcast, and when
    necessary, hire voice talent or actors.  Always remember that the end
    product is a reflection of your brand.

5.  Consumers want to be heard, and now have the media at their fingertips
    to make that happen. Consider how a companion website or blog can
    complement your podcast, and build in feedback mechanisms to create an
    earnest relationship with your audience through the podcast. Listen to
    and respond to criticism openly.

6.  Lastly, don't be tactic-centric. Just because video podcasts are the
    newest marketing medium doesn't mean every marketer should add them
    into the marketing mix.  Make sure podcasting supports your business
    objectives, strategy and message, and that it builds your consumer
    relationships.

About Arc Worldwide

Arc Worldwide, a global marketing-services company, is part of the Paris-based Publicis Groupe network. Headquartered in Chicago, Arc Worldwide is comprised of 1,300 employees in 37 offices and 31 countries. The company offers expertise at the intersections of four disciplines: direct/database, interactive, promotional, and shopper marketing. Clients include The Coca-Cola Company, General Motors, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, Sprint-Nextel, Visa and Whirlpool. Since Arc Worldwide was formed in 2004, the company has been recognized more than 160 times through creative awards and significant rankings around the world. For more information, please go to http://www.arcww.com.

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