Not too long ago, we provided the publisher perspective on creating branded content in a Q&A with Buzzfeed’s Eric Harris. Agencies also play an important role in the creation of branded content, working with publishers to develop compelling content opportunities for their clients. Joseph Barbieri, Managing Director, Content and Media Partnerships at creative services agency Sid Lee, will be on hand at Dx3 2014 to make The Case for Content.
Is content better for brands than paid media?
They are distinct, but complementary. They are distinct in that, at a high level, traditional paid media is about building awareness. A brand that invests, or is invested in, creating owned, immersive content programs and experiences is primarily focused on building meaningful longer term relationships and loyalty. They are complimentary in that they can coexist, along with earned media, to support amplification of content.
“You are competing for consumers time and attention in a content landscape that is incredibly crowded.”
These days, should brands forgo any kind of traditional paid approach on favour of content?
Ultimately, I believe brands should invest in creating bespoke content programs to drive marketing ROI. In a fragmented media landscape, consumers are increasingly open to building relationships directly with brands. Those that invest in content that provides utility and entertainment are rewarded with consumer loyalty, but as I suggested in the previous answer, in my view, it’s not an ‘and/or’ proposition. It’s about finding the right balance to keep consumers engaged.
What is the agency’s role in helping brands produce their own content?
Agencies play a pivotal role. It’s critical to have a content partner on board that’s fully immersed in the brand and has the ability to infuse relevant insights and cultural relevance. It’s an essential element in ensuring success in the content arena, where quality is paramount to driving engagement and brand attribution. Working with an agency that is nimble and has the tools, talent and resources to create immersive content experiences designed for an ever-evolving marketing landscape provides brands with competitive advantage by creating content that is fuelled by break-through and compelling ideas.
What should be the first step in any brand’s content strategy?
I would argue that there are a number of critical ‘first steps,’ but without a doubt, the very first step is to have a clear sense of what success should look like. What are the business objectives? What are the marketing objectives? What is the content strategy and how does it align with the brand? Once those are established, having the buy-in from appropriate stake-holders is also critical.
How can brands ensure they create engaging content?
Ultimately, you are competing for consumers time and attention in a content landscape that is incredibly crowded. If your content doesn’t offer utility, doesn’t entertain, doesn’t communicate a sense of purpose or cultural relevance, it can easily become lost. Also, it should not be seen as opportunistic with too heavy a focus on product versus brand values.
Where should the content live and what role does digital have in disseminating it and ensure that it’s effectual?
Clearly, digital is ubiquitous and critical. There’s a rich history of brands investing in cross-platform content programs with print as an anchor. A digital-first strategy is paramount to ensuring robust amplification across social media platforms. Having said that, I believe that traditional print /DM does play a role and continues to be an effective platform for some brands.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
The marketing landscape is undergoing tectonic shifts. The worlds of media, marketing, journalism and entertainment are colliding and a new market dynamic is evolving. It presents incredibly exciting opportunities for brands to engage with consumers – an opportunity to re-engineer brand content, if you will, to create world class immersive content and meaningful human experiences. Ultimately, consumers want to trust brands and we need do give them a reason to do so.