By Danny Morris, Account Director, Speedshape UK.
In a post-recession marketplace, standing out from the crowd is essential for organisations in order to rebuild quickly and maximise their brand awareness. The competitive landscape being such as it is, the necessity to invest in new technology in order to drive a brand forward is becoming increasingly important.
To make brands and products distinct and hence easily recognisable, marketers and advertisers will find themselves looking towards digital advances such as 3D and VFX technology to help escape the monotony of regular branding methods.
The challenge, as always within advertising, is to find something that affords brand uniqueness, cost-effectiveness, and above all, consistency, ensuring that they will always be in demand. Building a brand depends hugely upon whether or not consumers can decisively and immediately identify with the information placed in front of them.
The key to achieving this is to make sure that the desired brand image gets communicated uniformly in all areas, through all the diverse media channels a brand may choose to employ to get their message across to an international audience.
For example, if the image of a particular brand or product differed as you crossed the channel, English visitors to the continent might well be baffled by something with which they were on fairly familiar terms at home. Having a slightly different coloured packaging or different styling, for example, can be damaging to brand consistency.
VFX do away with these problems of branding inconsistency by creating virtual models of products that can be easily transferred from one area of the world to another, and crucially, from one medium to another. The benefits to this approach quickly become evident.
Not only is it much cheaper to create one digital model of a product from design specifications that can be repurposed and reused than actually building it, but the relatively straightforward nature of digital manipulation of an image across different platforms (e.g. print, broadcast, online) means that using VFX proves far more effective and efficient than alternative methods.
A reduction in the costs involved with shooting on location, coupled with the flexible and interactive nature of the digital experience, ensures that VFX provide a solution to many of the problems associated with building a successful brand.
The versatility of VFX means that brands in every industry, from automotives to confectionary to household goods, can take advantage of it. Given that there are virtually no limits to the type and number of VFX models and designs that can be created, advertisers and marketers choosing not to make use of this technology put themselves at a severe disadvantage.
Aside from being visually attractive and incredibly realistic, VFX evoke genuine interest and even excitement with those who encounter it. As film enthusiasts will testify, VFX have proved an invaluable tool for special effects over recent years in the movie industry, with silver screen triumphs such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Toy Story series profiting greatly from the wide range of possibilities provided by the technology.
Football match punditry has likewise gained much from VFX; a digital image of the situation on the pitch at any given moment can be viewed from angles sometimes unavailable to both referees and television cameras. However, the application of computer graphics for special effects can be used just as much for adverts, TV and printed materials as it can be for movies and sports.
The momentum gathered by VFX in the US as a tool for brand building and marketing looks set to break into the UK as its use becomes better understood. Still, as yet the technology remains comparatively low profile, in contrast to its digital cousin 3D.
Providing an innovative and stimulating means of representing a brand without breaking the bank, as well as immediately showing off quality and cutting-edge design, VFX technology is the logical next step for organisations wanting to bring themselves to the forefront of any market.
As an opportunity, VFX demonstrate an advance into the digital age not to be overlooked by forward-thinking marketers.
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