American TV broadcaster USA Network unexpectedly released the season two premiere of its series Mr Robot on social media last week. Twenty minutes into a Q&A session on Facebook Live, the hacker group Fsociety – on whom the show centres – 'interrupted' the live stream to leak the episode. The episode then also spread to the show's Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat accounts, before disappearing without a trace.
Surprise releases with little to no marketing preamble have become quite popular in entertainment. Here, brands benefit from the shifts in consumers' habits away from fixed broadcast schedules and shared water cooler moments, and towards on-demand viewing and always-active online fan communities. As reported in May's Pop Culture Round-Up, US broadcaster Showtime is abandoning traditional TV seasons in response to this behaviour.
The takeaway for all brands is that for connected mobile consumers, contextless information does not exist. It follows that brands reaching out to them no longer have to fit their entire company history and every last asset of their product into a single ad.
Instead, marketers are free to leave questions unanswered and rely on interested consumers to fill the gaps in their own time. In this environment, individual customer journeys from any contact point take the place of mass messaging. Digital word of mouth keeps loyal fans in the loop, while frictionless information architecture guides new arrivals' brand experiences.
For more on crafting digital customer journeys through multiple contact points, check out UX Best Practice for Marketers. To stay on top of the latest in entertainment and fan culture, follow our monthly Pop Culture Round-Ups.