The days of achieving scale with a fixed media strategy and a single-minded message are over.

The biggest TV tune-in event aside from the Super Bowl happened in 1983, with 125 million viewers of the finale of the show M*A*S*H*. Today, we no longer view the same thing at the same time in the same way as everyone else. Audiences will continue to time-shift and desire for on-demand will grow. All the while, platforms and devices will continue to diversify, as we shift from singular mass-media moments to many micro-moments.

Brand Atomization is the ability to tell multiple stories in many ways by producing content and experiences in pieces big and small. The new model of content – not advertising – requires a flexible brand. One that can generate stories that map across the splintered media landscape. Atomizing provides a modern brand framework to do just that.

Here are the principles of Atomization:

01 Many audiences, Many stories

See /1 Productions case study

A brand, like a person, is not singular. It has many facets and, therefore, many stories to tell.

Rather than focusing on a single core message that talks to one audience in large scale media, Atomizing involves creating many stories in custom fashion for many groups, however niche – from pop culture to Internet culture to subcultures. This system is connected through a brand belief, ethos or organizing principle that is clear, yet flexible.

Code and Theory
Dr Pepper's /1 Productions successfully reached fanatical fans across multiple niches, culminating in a "whole, greater then the sum of its parts"

02 A Spectrum of Formats

See the full Big Eyes Case Study

Stories are timeless, but the way they are told can evolve to be nonlinear, transmedia and vertical.

To tell an interesting and relevant story, the content that brings it to life must be form-fitted for each method, platform and audience need. Taking cues from publishing, Atomizing enables content creation across the audience involvement and format spectrum, from lightweight and disposable to immersive and permanent.

Maybelline atomizing
Maybelline's "Big Eyes" utilized linear storytelling before breaking it down into bite-size pieces to share across the web.
Code and Theory

03 Behave Responsively

In an Atomized Brand system, content and its distribution are able to take advantage of what is trending in culture and conversation.

Real-time events can be used as input to the brand story streams to create more relevant content. In addition, media investments can reach a new level of efficiency by selecting branded content that is rising in engagement and then boosting it quickly across the paid, owned and earned channels.

Code and Theory

Audience journeys are looping, rather than linear.

Atomizing encourages movement and continuous journey. Different types of content map to where audiences are in their decision making process. The role of content is to serve as a delivery mechanism for messaging, as well as to draw audiences to more brand experiences, moving them along the journey.

Maybelline City GIF
In Maybelline New York's CITY, editorial content is king. Or in this case, queen.

05 Data-Driven

Decision-making within an Atomized system is driven by data.

It helps determine what’s working and what isn’t, leading to both creative and media adjustments that improve the ability to achieve brand goals. Once objectives and benchmarks are established, real-time tracking informs performance, enabling optimization of both content and its media distribution on-the-fly.