Monday, 3 October 2011

Are brands becomming media owners?

Content creation. It's become a common buzz word in the media and advertising industry. It is also the concept which has helped to give power back to the brand. I think it's fair to say that for a while at least, brands lost some of their power to the consumer; encouraged greatly by the digital revolution and the increasing interactivity which new technology has enabled.
More and more brands are asking UK publishing companies to create branded print publications to promote their brand and viewpoints using high quality editorial content. Virgin Media, Google, Bon Marche, ASOS and Harrods are all examples of current content creators with consumer publications circulating in the hands of their target audience - but what's the appeal?

Albert Read (Conde Nast's UK general manager) says magazines "convey images, text and environments in a way that digital cannot yet do as well"
Julia Hutchison, COO of the APA says “Consumers are turning to brands for information and entertainment as they feel the pinch."
Both these points are extremely valid and I would add that the creation of branded content raises brand awareness by offering great engagement and tangibility. Furthermore it encourages loyalty and provokes recommendation. This is now more important than ever in a world where consumers rely on reviews and word of mouth before they make a purchase. Branded content facilitates a conversation between brands and their consumers which in tun helps the relationship between consumers and brands blossom. It comes as no surprise that digital is pushing much of the growth of branded content whether in the form of e-zines, videos or e-marketing. Digital branded content offers more than a dialogue between consumers and brands as it's interactive nature means it can personalise its offering and be manipulated for individual consumer needs and preferences.

However I think it's important to stress that content creation isn't something that all brands should now start to do. Brands have to be able to offer the consumer something extra and so I would recommend 3 rules that brands should consider if they don't want their content to be dismissed as another promotional push:

1. Authentic
2. Relevant
3. Valuable

Final thought:
In reference to Google's impressive attempt at creating branded content "information is inseparable from the people that are creating it" so if brands want compelling and exciting content which is authentic, relevant and valuable, it should follow that the people who create it should also be compelling and exciting!

This blog has moved to www.laurarobinsonblog.com

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