There's school of thought that goes something along the lines of; in conventional advertising material the 'message' (implicit or explicit) and the look and feel are the more important elements versus functionality; whereas, broadly speaking, in a piece of interactive media ie a website or application how-it-works is ultimately the overiding consideration rather than how it looks and speaks.
I've loosely cribbed that statement from a post by my good friend Alan Wolk, though I can't now find that particular article on his blog, the Toadstool, but suffice to say there are plenty more nuggets in there for your perusal.
I would add to this the notion of findabilty as being another consideration that is oft overlooked.
The most well designed and crafted website with the most rigourous user experience planning and the greatest resources and utility matters little if it it cannot be found.
This week I've been coming back to the subject of distributed content as opposed to the campaign microsite (or facebook fan page, for that matter) in some of the discussions we've been having.
It's no longer the case where advertisers can confidently talk about the reach of a campaign or communication. We still hear talk of 'driving' attention to a particular site or thing.
Due to the fragmentation of media (and attention) it's now more difficult to reach an 'audience', in fact one of my favourite nuggets (i can't remember where I heard it) goes along the lines of 'your competition for attention on the internet is EVERYTHING ELSE on the internet'.
This is not just about SEO or search , it's about discovery or serendipity, if you like.
Of course, as we know, around 60% of the touchpoints I'm likely to encounter on a buying journey are non-brand driven, word of mouth, independent reviews etc but
at the very least brands need be there when their customers are reaching out to them for information, wherever that may be.
Three things to consider:
1. Choosing the right places to be, where the the most valuable connections are likely to be made. It may be that Facebook is not necessarily this place, shock! horror!
I'm a fan of Steve Rubel's 'embassy' thinking. Particularly for non-sexy brands.
2. Being interesting, useful and valuable once you are found. What do the people who have found you care about? How can you be of service?
3. And when that connection is made, make sure that all roads lead to Rome.
pic hat-tip to Found magazine.