Kirby shared insights from a new White Paper he’s created in partnership with Smart Digital Publishing Platform provider Edition Digital, as well as presenting examples of mobile-focused content marketing from the Best of Branded Content Marketing(BOBCM) series he curates. He’s provided a summary of his presentation below together with an inspiration library of examples, which follows on from our recent interview with him about why story-led marketing changes everything:
Content is increasingly becoming simply what marketing is and does. This starts to make putting the word ‘content’ in front of ‘marketing’ or ‘branded’ in front of ‘content’ meaningless, unless the terms help explain how what you are doing is different from other content-based marketing approaches. I’ve tried to address this as part of a new White Paper I’ve created with Edition Digital that’s based on reviewing a number of new frameworks that map the brand-funded marketing territory.
It was Google’s deceptively simple Hero, Help and Hub (HHH) framework that I found most straight forward and useful, possibly because it’s based on actual consumer behaviours. I’ve re-presented this as a Venn Diagram to hopefully show how marketing is being rapidly reshaped by content from 3 different directions that are all being driven by technology:
HERO > BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT
Every major ad award show now has a Branded Content and/or Branded Entertainment category, which represents the colliding worlds of advertising and entertainment that some see as further reshaping the media landscape. These inspiring examples that consumers seek out are categorized by Google as HERO Content, and include Real Beauty Sketches from Dove, Epic Split from Volvo Trucks and #LikeAGirl from P&G’s Always. It’s the space we tend to chronicle as part of the BOBCM series because although it only represents a small percentage of the content created by brands, it still sets the benchmark by which all content-based marketing is judged. The approach is predominantly used to raise awareness, but also to win hearts rather than price comparing minds; and as the LEGO Movie has shown it can even help drive demand.
HELP > CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Google’s HELP category includes all those tutorials, how-to videos and is by far the largest that’s consume across the web. I don’t restrict the Customer Experience circle in the Venn Diagram to HELP content because it could include any example that adds value to the customer experience, e.g. Customer Service or Marketing as a Service (MaaS) type apps. At the same time, the space could also be linked Experience Economy (aka Exponomy), experiential marketing and include the customer’s ‘experience as content’ that they increasing share socially. It could even include the kind of mechanisms that allow customers to share their stories at scale, e.g. Create AirBnB.
HUB > BRAND PUBLISHING
This is the space that many referred to as Content Marketing before that term became understood as any marketing that uses content, and is the focus of organisations like the Content Marketing Institute and Content Council in the USA, and Content Marketing Association in UK. It is seen by some as the evolution of the direct marketing discipline, but the more editorial-style
output could also be seen as the evolution of Customer Publishing – particularly through its digital delivery. Google categorises the more regularly scheduled output consumers subscribe to as Hub Content, which includes YouTube channels. Adobe’s CMO.com is another respected Owned Media example in the B2B space, as is the BOBCM series that we use the Edition Digital platform to publish.
The growing numbers attending Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing World Conference in Cleveland reinforce predictions about the significant investment by brands in this space, especially in B2B. There are challenges, however, not least being the skills required for optimising SEO or driving response through tech are not necessarily the same as those needed to craft a good story or create engaging editorial, and vice versa.
LINES ARE BLURRING
Lowe’s Fix in Six Vine animations is arguably more additive than tweeting nonsense during the Super Bowl, and is also a series that cuts across Google’s categories by being both HERO and HELP Content. This maybe the secret to standing out from the increasingly cluttered crowd.
RE-THINKING FREQUENCY AND REACH
The 3 directions I’ve presented in my Venn Diagram above may not map neatly onto Google’s HHH framework, but it simply aims to provide a lens for thinking through what kind of content you need to create, when and where in the Customer Decision Journey. Put another way, it’s about re-thinking Frequency and Reach given it’s likely that a combination of approaches will be needed to connect to audiences in the different ways they consume content:
STORY-LED, NOT JUST CONTENT-LIKE STUFF
There’s a danger that content just becomes the unimportant stuff that gets delivered by efficient, exciting new delivery systems. That’s why it’s important to understand the difference between Story-led marketing and marketing that just uses content-like stuff – because stories are the means by which brands can connect to their customers through culture (i.e. what they talk about, watch, interact with and consume). This means that brands need to not only rethink what type of approaches, formats and tools they use when and why, but also WHO they now need to have on the team to deliver this.
Mobile also changes everything because smart content creators understand that there’s a 50/50 chance of being seen on some sort of mobile device or screen. So I’ve put together a little inspiration library of mobile-focused examples that we’ve featured as part of the BOBCM Series or have been recommended by our friends at Google Zoo. I hope it provides food for thought, not least because of the need to continually scan the market for what good likes given a great customer experience is a great experience wherever it is delivered and whoever is delivering it.
PIERRE ROBERT: #BIKEMYTIGHTS
ABSOLUT: SILVER POINT
Read BOBCM Case Study
KITKAT: YOUTUBE MY BREAK
NESTLE: MAGGI DIARIES
RENAULT: BUSINESS BOOSTER
Justin’s presentation will be available in our Resources Centre after the FIPP London event this week, and you can also download the White Paper he’s created in partnership with Edition Digital here and follow him on Twitter @juzzie.
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