Brand or Publisher? Walking the Authenticity Tightrope
Jenn Eldin
Digital Innovation & Content Strategy
American Express O...
An example of groundbreaking content…
Can brands really do this?
“Snow Fall” is now a
verb. Everyone wants to snowfall
now...
Witness: A Red Bull Explosion
3.5 million page views in 6 days 50 million page views in 4 days
vs.
Branded content generat...
Nearly 60% of small businesses fail within four years.
The Problem OPEN Forum is Solving
Power the success of small
business owners
OPEN Forum’s Mission
6
195K+ Twitter
Followers
Forum users are 83%
more likely to
recommend American
Express
Millions of page views
annually
Th...
OPEN Forum Homepage
7
OPEN Forum Community
Drop the hard sell
Figure out what your customer actually
wants - and give it to them
Be true to your strengths
Don’t outs...
Drop the hard sell: Set and reinforce clear guidelines
• Practical, actionable advice
• Spark curiosity
• Written by exper...
Drop the hard sell: Set and reinforce clear guidelines
Description of Branded
Content & OPEN Voice
OPEN Voice
NEW: Marked
...
To determine customer
needs, we evaluated topics with
these lenses. We continue to
evolve the topics we cover based
on rea...
Be true to your strengths
Don’t outsource everything
Pick a core benchmark, and monitor it consistently.
Set a range of success.
25 100
50
Shares/PV
Range of success
Editorial...
Authenticity the Warby Parker way
“60% of consumers are under age 40
consult social media when making
purchase decisions a...
SURPRISE AND
DELIGHT
TRUE TO THEIR
STRENGHTS
Authenticity the General Electric way
ONGOING
COMMITMENT TO
CONTENT EXCELLENCE
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Case Study: "Brand or Publisher? Walking the Authenticity Tightrope"

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  • 6 part story by John Branch, New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning writer presented story of avalanche with interactive graphics, videos and bios of various snowboarders and skiers. Large team ,Many months,$$$,Pulitzer prize winning author
  • Red Bull reached 15X Traffic in 2/3 the time, won countless awards
  • Internally & Externally
  • Internally & Externally
  • Our vice chairman Ed Gilligan writes his own tweets, and it shows. There is only so much direction you can dictate from the other side of the fence. We are working to think of ourselves as evolving from a campaign based model to a digital newsroom, with editorial perspective & talent. Critical to making sure your brand’s initiatives are reflected in what’s written on the site
  • Changed the glasses supply chain, cut out middlemen to sell for $95. Donates 1 pair to charity. Class Trip, Artist in, Residence program, Showcases employees and culture. Sophie Auster music
  • GE is striving to tell stories that emphasize to consumersthat its products and services are tangible everyday things,not just jet engines and huge pieces of hardware. CSX train Campaign last yeartook Tropicana orange juice from Florida to New Jersey,it’s a gorgeous route … beautiful time-lapse video, some awesome music. We reached out to rail fans and they were really engaged.We found this community,” she said. “They love locomotives. They spot trains. And we had them come out and be a part of the shoot, and be a part of of the route. That was a big one for us.”
  • Case Study: "Brand or Publisher? Walking the Authenticity Tightrope"

    1. 1. Brand or Publisher? Walking the Authenticity Tightrope Jenn Eldin Digital Innovation & Content Strategy American Express OPEN @JennEldin Jennifer.C.Eldin1@aexp.com
    2. 2. An example of groundbreaking content… Can brands really do this? “Snow Fall” is now a verb. Everyone wants to snowfall now, every day, all desks. To “snowfall” means to tell a story with fantastic content that is absolutely organic to the storytelling itself. The story originated from the sports desk – and took months and months and months of time – but Snow Fall-type projects can come from anywhere Jill Abramson, Executive Editor The New York Times Pulitzer Prize 3.5 million page views in 6 days
    3. 3. Witness: A Red Bull Explosion 3.5 million page views in 6 days 50 million page views in 4 days vs. Branded content generated 15x the engagement in 2/3 the time!
    4. 4. Nearly 60% of small businesses fail within four years. The Problem OPEN Forum is Solving
    5. 5. Power the success of small business owners OPEN Forum’s Mission
    6. 6. 6 195K+ Twitter Followers Forum users are 83% more likely to recommend American Express Millions of page views annually Thousands of Community Members 200+ expert contributors RELEVANCE Topics laser focused on SBO needs & interests Videos, infographics, articles, slideshows REACH A Snapshot of Forum Today 50+ pieces of content weekly Dozens of Awards
    7. 7. OPEN Forum Homepage 7 OPEN Forum Community
    8. 8. Drop the hard sell Figure out what your customer actually wants - and give it to them Be true to your strengths Don’t outsource everything Content is NOT a campaign Keys to Brand Authenticity #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
    9. 9. Drop the hard sell: Set and reinforce clear guidelines • Practical, actionable advice • Spark curiosity • Written by experts • Conversational • Avoid excessive brand and product mentions Guidelines for Powerful Branded Content
    10. 10. Drop the hard sell: Set and reinforce clear guidelines Description of Branded Content & OPEN Voice OPEN Voice NEW: Marked branded placements
    11. 11. To determine customer needs, we evaluated topics with these lenses. We continue to evolve the topics we cover based on real-time data. Editorial Expertise SBO Needs Research Amex Brand Fit Analytics (Web & Forum) Figure out what your customer actually wants – and deliver it to them
    12. 12. Be true to your strengths
    13. 13. Don’t outsource everything
    14. 14. Pick a core benchmark, and monitor it consistently. Set a range of success. 25 100 50 Shares/PV Range of success Editorial TeamAnalytics *Illustrative * Content is NOT a Campaign… Respond real-time and invest in the long haul
    15. 15. Authenticity the Warby Parker way “60% of consumers are under age 40 consult social media when making purchase decisions and care about causes”-Nielsen TRUE TO THEIR STRENGHTS CUSTOMERCENTRIC SOFT SELL
    16. 16. SURPRISE AND DELIGHT TRUE TO THEIR STRENGHTS Authenticity the General Electric way ONGOING COMMITMENT TO CONTENT EXCELLENCE

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