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Branded Content Research Network: Seminar 1 Investigating Branded Content


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I was asked to speak at the first seminar in a series organised by the AHRC-Funded Branded Content Research Network. Academics and marketing communications professionals reviewed the state of existing research on branded content across media and marketing disciplines, and discussed research needs and questions for industry and stakeholders, as well as consider the scope and definitions of branded content practices.

The seminar include contributions from members of the network and from invited academic researchers and practitioners that also included:

- Andrew Canter, CEO of the Branded Content Marketing Association
- Prof Jonathan Hardy, University of East London
- Prof Chris Hackley, Royal Holloway
- Dr Andrew McStay, Bangor University
- Vince Medeiros, TCOLondon

Published in: Marketing
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Branded Content Research Network: Seminar 1 Investigating Branded Content

  1. 1. Is Branded Content still a thing? @juzzie
  2. 2. WTF IS BRANDED CONTENT? > IT’S COMPLICATED! Competing array of terms as practitioners try explain how what value they add in the changing media landscape and how we now consume it Branded Content Branded Entertainment Brand Journalism Brand Publishing Content Brands Content Marketing Content Experience Native Advertising ..... Justin Kirby: WTF is branded Content? It’s complicated (2014)
  3. 3. copyranter@ Everyone’s definition of branded content is wrong! WTF IS BRANDED CONTENT? ... No agreement about how term is defined or even conceptualised, and competing array of frameworks, models… Copyranter: Everybody's definition of 'branded content' is wrong
  4. 4. IS BRANDED CONTENT STILL A THING > Content is just what marketing is and does now! DAVID LUBARS Chief Creative Officer BBDO WORLDWIDE Are terms Branded Content and Content Marketing now redundant? ” “ Justin Kirby: The Jury's In: the challenges of evaluating your branded content (2015)
  5. 5. A WORKING DEFINITION? > For me, something that is worth the consumer’s time is the best definition of branded content. So if you think more radically and try and stretch that definition, then even a 30 second spot is branded content if it’s worth the consumers’ time. And I’m fine with that, as I like to play through those lines. PJ PEREIRA Co-founder and Creative Head PEREIRA & O’DELL ” “ PJ Periera Interview (2014) Debate about if and how advertising is different from branded content is over!
  6. 6. IPG Lab + Google Release Deconstructing Branded Content: The Global Guide To What Works
  7. 7. A REALLY USEFUL FRAMEWORK Lazar Dzamic: King Kong rules: redefining what content is and how it shapes the future of advertising (2016)
  8. 8. HHH CONTENT FREQUENCY frequency of content activity over time and how they are used in combination to reach audiences through the different ways they consume content
  9. 9. BUILDING ON HHH > [HELP] CONTENT EXPERIENCE? Customer Experience, the rise of the ‘Exponomy’ and where the consumer experience is the content BRAND PUBLISHING [HUB] aka Contact Marketing where the evolution of contract publishing meets direct marketing, social and SEO BRANDED CONTENT & ENTERAINMENT [HERO] Where Advertising and Entertainment collide TECH Looking at how content is re- shaping marketing from 3 different directions   Justin Kirby: Mapping the Brand-Funded Content Space (2016)
  12. 12. PRACTICE RESEARCH > BOBCM is large-scale stakeholder engagement programme based around the co-creation of content with literally 100s of academics and practitioners around the globe. This forms part of my practice research that is looking at the following: 1. What does good look like: I. Creatively II. Effectiveness 2. Where is the industry at 3. Where is the industry heading
  13. 13. BOBCM can be summarised by the French epitaph above that translates as the more things change the more they remain the same, i.e. what is it that is changing, and what is it that is fundamentally remaining the same. PLUS CA CHANGE, PLUS C’EST LA MEME CHOSE > 1957
  14. 14. STRATEGIC CONSIDERATION > The following lens helps provide a way for thing through the strategic considerations of branded content, and analyse case studies and expert opinion without getting bogged down in protracted debates about definitions and conceptualisation: • What kind of branded content is created (or co-created) by ‘Who’ and for ‘Whom’? • How is engagement managed? • How is content distributed? (i.e. ‘Where’ in the converged landscape of earned, owned and paid media, and ‘When’ in the Customer Decision Journey • How is the success of the different parts and their sum measured? Justin Kirby: 2014 Future of Branded Content Report: Strategic Considerations
  15. 15. MORE AGILE CURRICULUM DESIGN RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY? > What interests me academically is how can design-type thinking and more agile research methodologies be used as part of curriculum design, development and delivery to ensure that teaching is kept relevant and grounded in practice when industry is going through such rapid change? UX Central: Infographic – Design Thinking, Lean UX and Agile working together
  16. 16. NEW BOOK, MORE EXCHANGE AND GAP ANALYSIS > Hoping to continue facilitating knowledge exchange between academics and practitioners with new book collaboration, and more and more panels. In the meantime, here is short gap analysis of relevant academic research based on feedback from participants on the Journal of Branded Content Marketing (JOBCM) collaboration I help co-facilitate earlier this year: 1. Go beyond expert opinion: it is no longer enough. Big Data and wider stakeholder analysis including customers, media owners, policy makers and beyond now needs to be included. 2. Get medieval about transparency: reversibility of research data, i.e. unpack practitioner bias aka MRDA!
  17. 17. 3. Addressing real problems that matter:  as former Ad Age editor Scott Donaton points out story-telling changes everything about how brands go to market, i.e. their processes, the skillsets of the people they hire, the timeframes they work on, the way they allocate and think about budgets, their definition of creativity, etc. 4. Examine more cases: there’s plenty of award show submissions to examine what problems are being solved and how, and also how impact is being measured, including the new D&AD Impact Awards that focuses on purpose beyond profit. 5. Avoids slogans (and formulas) masquerading as a truth: and focus more on storytelling including how the emotional impact of narrative arcs can be measured. 6. Merge Big with Thick Data: start looking at engagement in more depth and cultural factors. i.e. how stories are the means by which brands can connect to consumers via culture. NEW BOOK, MORE EXCHANGE AND GAP ANALYSIS…
  18. 18. 7. Is there a need to develop a new lexicon: danger of over intellectualising industry buzz words that don’t necessarily warrant being conceptualised/ defined in the first place. What about building on existing body of knowledge, e.g. UGC, Digital Storytelling, Convergent Culture, etc? 8. Follow the money: new business models are emerging as the media landscape both converges and fragments with new specialist areas developing and old ones getting revisited/evolved. This provides fertile ground for academic exploration, not least because of the ongoing Adblocalypse. 9. Ethics: go beyond policy, governance and the philosophy of the Frankfurt School. We need to be asking whether the ad industry is making a positive contribution to society now that we’ve reached ‘Peak Content’ or just more cognitive pollution? 10. And more: please get in touch if you’d like to add to this list... Journal of Branded Content Marketing NEW BOOK, MORE EXCHANGE AND GAP ANALYSIS…