Why content is the way aheadPosted by lucylangdon in blog October 4, 2013
Do you know what ‘branded content’ is? Ask 10 different marketers and you might well get 10 different answers. That’s true within Futerra too, but while our responses might vary, I bet you’d be struck by our shared enthusiasm and excitement about the question.
And for that you can thank Ella d’Amato – the MD of Drum (a content agency) and a speaker at our recent company away days.
According to Drum, content is “anything but advertising”. So branded content is content that exists in some way because of a brand. Think Red Bull’s Stratos and Sainsbury’s ‘What’s Cooking?’ TV series.
Content is important because it’s fast replacing traditional, soap box, interruptive, self-centred advertising. (Yay!) “Custom content is 92% more effective than traditional TV advertising at increasing awareness and 168% more powerful at driving purchase preference.”- fastcocreate. Which also goes some way to answer the question, ‘why are a bunch of Futerrans so excited about branded content?’.
It’s fair to say that majority of sustainability ‘advertising’ isn’t very effective. If it was, the high street would look like a very different place. Well, the good news is that our industry gets to leapfrog traditional ‘inadequacy’ advertising (another yay!) and get busy getting awesome at branded content instead.
How to ‘do’ branded content
Ella didn’t just inspire us with some brilliant examples of branded content from her agency’s work, she also shared a few gems on how to actually ‘do’ content:
- Always start with your audience. This is the difference between content and content-that-everyone-including-your-mum-loves. Instead of just talking about your product or brand, invest in getting to know your audience better, or partner with someone who already does.
- Create value. Everything you create must add something to your audiences’ lives – a smile, a new skill or piece of knowledge, a warm fuzzy feeling. In other words: it must be enjoyable, interesting or useful.
Here’s what you’re aiming for:
”In the digital world, where everyone has a choice about what they consume and when they consume it, we tell stories that people want to interact with rather than advertising they’d refer to avoid.” – Drum
- Don’t forget distribution. Devising and executing the right distribution strategy is as important as creating awesome content. The internet is a big place and, yes, while great content should rise to the top, it doesn’t always. Smart partnerships will help.
In the Q&A after Ella’s talk, some bright spark of a Futerran asked her what she thought the next big thing in the world of content is going to be. Relentless relevancy and personalisation.
I think that’s a really exciting guiding light when it comes to marketing a better future. From renewable energy, to cleaner streets, to conservation, everyone has something that matters most to them (see Al Gore’s new ‘What I Love’ campaign*). If we want to inspire behaviour change through branded content, we need to make sure the changes we’re pushing are connected to what our audience cares about, not just what we think they should care about.
*Exquisite idea, I just wish it inspired me to do something other than sob into my keyboard.