If you have been plugged into social media or binge watching some of your favorite shows, then there is a strong chance that you have seen the work of Mekanism, an independent ad agency responsible for some providing brand-centric advertising for brand such as Charles Schwab, Amazon, Jose Cuervo, Peloton, and many other prominent brands.
Mekanism has continued to lean into the new age of digital and content marketing, with a formula steeped on their two pillars of ‘Soul’ and ‘Science’. In a digital age where content is driving revenue and impacting R.O.I at record levels, Mekanism is showing an important approach to marketing that is rooted in brand personality.
I had a chance to speak with Brendan Gahan, Partner & Chief Social Officer at Mekanism, about a number of topics related to their approach, operating in the content creator space, and much more.
“Mekanism was started in the early days of social media” Gahan told me, in an exclusive interview with Gamactica Portals. “The premise was that brands were no longer tied down to the standard :30 or :60. Digital storytelling (with YouTube, etc) allowed you to tell whatever type of story you wanted for however long you wanted and you had to earn your own distribution. This is all obvious in hindsight, but it was ahead of its time”
Gahan also poignantly points out the evolution of marketing since the turn of the century – “In the early 2000’s no agency was investing in digital storytelling” he points out. “We invested in honing our skills. Telling stories online, creating shareable content, understanding influencer marketing, generating earned media.”
“Those skills are foundational” he says. “They’ve helped us adapt throughout the years. Whether working on YouTube or Tiktok we have this deep background that we can carry over into each new platform to tell great stories that people want to share.”
Mekanism has been able to work with a number of brands, across a wide range of industries and niches, and Gahan spoke about Mekanism‘s approach in their strategies when dealing with a client’s need, and building a strategy that works for their brand.
“Mekanism’s approach is what we call “the soul and science of storytelling”” he explains. “By and large most people hate ads, but love great brands. Our approach is to marry the soul (creative, storytelling, etc) with the science (data, insights, etc) in order to bring brands to life in a way that people actually enjoy.
Although the brands may be different, the fundamental processes and frameworks to identify who an audience is, what they like, how to reach them and then ultimately to develop stories that appeal to them are not.
Marrying that creative with data is a powerful combination. And, nowadays you get feedback instantaneously. So, we’re always optimizing our approach so that performance increases while maintaining the core of what a brand stands.
Net net, we build awesome brands by marring creativity and performance.”
Navigating the Content Creator, Streamer & Gaming Niches
Naturally, any marketing or advertising agency will need to understand the markets of Content Creators (including Streamers) and Gaming, as those markets are proving to be ripe with content opportunities for potential brands to leverage.
“Working with content creators and influencers is different than traditional advertising for sure” Gahan said. “Ultimately, the way to be successful with an influencer campaign is make sure that three things happen:
The audience gets the content they love
The creator has a great experience
The brand gets it’s message across
“When you’re not working with creators you are really starting from a blank slate. It’s wide open. But, the beauty of working with creators is their community. That community (in theory) knows them, trusts them, pays attention and wants to hear from them. As a result, advertisers need to collaborate. They need to focus much more on those first two points.
It’s a balancing act. However, when you have the perfect marriage of creator, brand, and message its incredible the results you can generate. You can get millions of views, signups, purchases. Crash websites. Have thousands appear at events.
Without a doubt creator/influencer marketing is the most effective form of marketing that I’ve ever experienced.”
But Gahan also points out what potentially holds creators back in regards to both creating valuable content, and running a brand that is a valuable, marketable asset appealing to advertisers and brands, even brands operating primarily in the mainstream marketplace.
“Creators who want to work with brands should approach it as a business” Gahan states. “There’s a big difference between a one person (or half dozen person) creator operation and a 10,000 person, multi-billion dollar corporation.
Clients need creators to abide by contracts, deadlines, brand guidelines, etc.
I’ve worked with a lot of creators. Those that keep brands coming back act professionally. It’s fine if creators don’t want to do certain things but they need to negotiate those and incorporate them into the deal points.
Once that contract is signed there’s a legal requirement and expectation to deliver.
It’s not for everyone (and that’s OK). Working with clients is hard work. But, that’s just it, its work. It’s a job at that point.”
Gahan hammers home the overlying point, but his insight also highlights a lingering issue regarding many content creators who are struggling to monetize their brand, even outside of the platforms that they create on.
The importance of professionalism, business approach, and being a viable, profitable, brand that appeals to marketing strategies. Often times, creators may not fully understand, or appreciate, the importance of these factors, but agencies certainly hold these factors in high regard, and the content creators emphasizing them can open doors for bigger opportunities, and more success as a result.
“We’re working in the creator space wherever it takes us” Gahan says of Mekanism‘s plans to further working in the content creator and gaming sectors.
“Gaming in particular will always be a big part of creator/influencer marketing because its a massive part of society. We’ve done a lot of Twitch activations and gamer partnerships – I don’t see that slowing down. I think that is going to grow considerably.
I’m excited to see all the new platforms and verticals creators are exploring. In 2022 I’m really bullish on live-stream commerce (Amazon Live influencers in particular). I think that’s an area that is exploding, and already much bigger than most people recognize.
Additionally, with all the web3 stuff happening, the ecosystem is going to evolve so quickly. I love that disruption. The shifting landscape means there’s always opportunity and something new to explore.”
Gahan certainly has a point with the speed of how web3 is impacting the ecosystem, and it certainly has already made a mark in the marketing industry, with Crypto SEO and NFT SEO becoming major components of a brand’s strategy, and critical to level the competitive playing field.
2022 is shaping up to be a fast-paced industry evolution trigger, and agencies such as Mekanism seem to be prepared to flow with the changes.