I was in Toronto yesterday for the Marketing Magazine Branded Content Conference and feel the need to share.
Branded content, as we have all been hearing lately, is meant to entertain, inform and provide utility. For me personally, a stunning example was the Chipotle Ad from 2011 with Willie Nelson’s mesmerizing rendition of Coldplay’s Scientist.
The keynote speaker at this conference was David Shing – AOL’s Digital Prophet. (Yep. Truly. That’s what his business card says. Read into that what you will about how much fun he would be to have a glass of wine with.)
However he did provide us with a number of new and thought-provoking ideas. I like his notion that:
‘We’re all paring back our information intake. It’s equivalent to moving into neighbourhoods and out of cities for the sake of our sanity’.
I agree that we’re entering a cleansing period as consumers (think of your latest rush of Facebook de-friending and unfollowing) and that as brand marketers, we need to be aware of this reality.
A couple highlights of his keynote as they pertained to content trends to watch out for:
»» We know that social identity broadcasting as it relates to location is the new social one-upmanship but sometimes you only want your friends to know where you are and David predicts more and more intranet-like apps and social media solutions for friends to share only with select friends. This provides an obvious opportunity for brands to provide exclusive content to certain sub-groups and potentially to let go of the landgrab for likes that we’ve all witnessed over the last few years.
Frequent Flyer points for the mobile
»» Mobile merits with physical rewards. Though there were few existing examples, the notion checking in and redeeming points for physical goods is cool.
Beyond the QR code
»» Brands are going to be finding ways to enable the path to purchase, especially in print. David showed lots of augmented reality examples including this one from LEGO:
»» There is power and desire for these MegaMercials – think 12 minute long ‘ads’ promoted as movies, featuring real movie stars but produced by brands, like this one:
Another interesting speaker was Mark Michaud, SVP Strategy and Content at Ariad Communications. Here’s my short summary of his insights - Content and the Customer Journey.
What is content?
Content is not copy.
Content is not messaging.
Content is not media.
Content is the essence and the substance of your brand’s conversation with consumers.
Mark explained that every customer touchpoint has a different content opportunity (website, mobile, in-store, etc). His 6 step approach to developing a “content customer journey” (NOTE: I promise, I will never in a million years use this phrase in a conversation):
1. Map your current understanding
2. Get insights from the front line
3. Add customer research
4. Map multi-channel journey
5. Identify content opportunities
6. Develop your brand’s content strategy, plan, execution