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A New Strategy For Branded Content

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A New Strategy For Branded Content

The era of pervasive communication challenges traditional strategies, models and best practices. Attention is dwindling, trust is volatile, and story is anything but linear. In this mélange, brands are more challenged than ever to provide value and nurture relationships.

There’s a lot of scary statistics out there on social media and content creation. The world has 3.3 billion active social media users. These users have 7.6 social media accounts. On WordPress alone, 91.8 million blog posts are published every month. And people watch 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day. In 2015 there were about 15.4 billion devices connected to the internet, and according to Intel, that number will grow to 200 billion by 2020.

As Rachel Levy says on Masterclassing, “Each day there is enough content created for half of the world to view something bespoke.” Which brings us to the whole model for content creation, which typically starts with defining what is to be created and who it’s being created for. But this model has to change. The “How” might even be more important than the “what.”

In a post citing top trends from 2016, Geoff Colon says, “You’ve heard the term too many times that “content is king.” However, if we look at how anything becomes powerful in the world of business it is based on a yin and yang scenario. This means in the world of content that distribution is equally if not as important to success. It’s just in this day and age distribution goes beyond the network effect into a world of personas and people-based interests. While distribution measurements are steeped in vanity metrics presently like likes, followers, Re-Tweets and other impression-based or engagement-based measurement, this is the early stage of helping marketers figure out where their content works best so as to use the right distribution channels in the future based on a test and learn analysis. Where does your audience live online, what do they like (not how old are they like tired network television media buying indicators) and how do you reach them in these habitats?”

A brand’s content needs to meet the needs of the audience and the context the audience is in. Dr. Martina Olbertova brings this point home, “the context in which you present your message or a product bears a much higher symbolic significance to the overall framing of your message or a product, that it will override the meaning of a message you intended to convey. Think of context as the ultimate ace – it ups the ante.” The how, where and when are more important than ever.

Here’s some advice for shifting your strategic approach to branded content:

  • Think like a native. What’s the context and environment in which a customer might be available to engage with the brand? Are you offering differentiated content in these contexts or is it the same across platforms?
  • Determine the right amount of consistency. While brand language and identity need to be consistent, there’s got to be some freedom to experiment too. Too often, style guidelines are viewed as a box in which creativity is to be contained rather than guidelines from which a new expression might come. This is not to say that brands should change their voice and identity with wild abandon, but rather to find a way to be more open, fun and human.
  • Embrace distribution. It’s relatively easy to create content, which is why everyone is doing it. By putting distribution ahead of the creative strategy, you’ll be better positioned to have the right content show up for the right people at the right time.

Build A Human Centric Brand At Marketing’s Most Powerful Event: The Un-Conference: 360 Degrees of Brand Strategy for a Changing World, May 14-16, 2018 in San Diego, California. A fun, competitive-learning experience reserved for 50 marketing oriented leaders and professionals.

The Blake Project Can Help: Content Strategy Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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