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BOBCM: A glimpse into the future of branded content marketing (Golden Drum)

Over the last year, I have been asking a diverse group of marketing experts from around the world what they think will be different about branded content in five years’ time and what they think will remain the same.

The responses have ranged from 140-character slogans to novel-length epics, which I collated in a report published earlier this year in the Best of Branded Content Marketing: 10th Anniversary Edition e-book (BOBCM), part of a series I conceived and curate in partnership with the BCMA.

I shared the key themes from the report at 21st Golden Drum Advertising Festival in Slovenia in October 2015, as well as some of the insights and opinions from my latest research, including: how branded content will be at the heart of every marketing strategy; the new (open and collaborative) agency models emerging; the need for strategy to go beyond the desk and dashboard to find real insight and opportunities; as well as measurement, personalisation, optimisation trends and beyond.

BOBCM: A glimpse into the future of branded content marketing (Golden Drum)

  2. WTF is #brandedcontent
  3. It’s complicated
  4. Branded content is any content that can be associated with a brand in the eye of the beholder
  5. Correct but not true if you want to win some tin!
  6. BRANDED CONTENT IS A GENRE? People not product stories Winning hearts & minds Emotionally engaging Used more upstream Entertaining Longer form Mostly b2c
  7. THE REST IS CONTENT MARKETING? More product USP focused Editorially informative aka Brand Publishing Closer to ZMOT Linked to SEO Often B2B Sales ROI Useful
  8. But is this branded content and do consumer care? IS THIS BRANDED CONTENT AND DO CONSUMERS CARE?
  10. What else is on the horizon?
  11. Branded content will be at the heart of every marketing strategy
  12. “The ability of content to draw people in naturally through entertaining and emotionally engaging messaging to develop deeper relationships with audiences is why is more clients will adopt more branded content as part of their marketing strategies.” " PJ Pereira Chief Creative Officer Pereira & O’Dell
  13. Adoption is being driven by digital and social, more standardized processes, and high-profile examples – making the approach less isolated and more integrated, rather than an afterthought whereby engagement is simply bolted onto an above-the-line campaign. Content-based approaches predicted to move beyond marketing to become the communication norm across the organization.
  14. But more risks still need to be taken
  16. New agency models will emerge
  17. “Brands need to be realistic about competing with content creators, unless they’re prepared to risk allocating budget that could result in failure. The Hollywood system is an example of a few successes bankrolling a large number of duds and also-rans. I’d recommend collaboration, or deviation, whereby the type of content you create is not necessarily of interest to conventional content creators, but is of huge interest to a client or group of clients.” Rory Sutherland Vice Chairman Ogilvy Group UK
  18. MORE AGENCY-FACILITATED BRAND ALLIANCES There’s an increasing demand for those that understand editorial and programming, e.g. publishers and broadcasters, in order to produce continuous content rather than campaigns based simply on ideas with legs. Contract publishing is evolving, so that the content creators are become agencies themselves, e.g. Unilever’s £1 million sponsorship of The Guardian’s newly formed branded content Labs.
  19. There’s more game-changing disruption ahead that will continue to blur the lines between brands, media owners, agencies and consumers until there are no lines any more
  20. "The most influential brands are no longer products or services, but people – living brands. They have become influential through digital word of mouth. The influence a living brand has over their fans is part of their overall equity. It is their social equity that can be monetised by making the brand stronger, by increasing loyalty and using advocacy to create long-term value." Andrew Canter Chief Content Officer Global Living Brands + CEO, BCMA
  21. But messages are getting lost in the over supply of content and lack of continuity
  22. “As every B2B brand turns to content marketing, we're about to be hit by a deluge of... crap” Doug Kessler Co-founder Velocity Partners
  23. Distribution being put at the heart of any strategy, but there’s a growing skills gap
  24. “On one hand there are the ideas, content and messaging. Then there’s the actual frameworks and mechanisms for delivering those, which have swiftly become more algorithmic, programmatic and predictive in order to help personalise and optimise content across multiple platforms. But the modern landscape is more fractured and very complex, and doesn’t necessarily favour the thinking that comes out of more traditional media and creative organisations.” Barney Worfolk Smith Managing Director Th@t Lot
  25. And the creative catalyst that gives us cars rather than faster horses is not found in the algorithm
  26. Take a leaf out of the philosophies of Heidegger and Wittgenstein, so “don’t think, but look” and frame your problems as phenomena using ethnographic-style research to find insights in the Thick Description of people’s experiences, e.g. needs, fears, hopes, etc. Because if you assume that your customers are fully aware of their needs and intentions, you will continue launching products that lack interest or excitement.
  27. Moving beyond customer-centric to being customer obsessed and the integration of Thick and Big Data
  28. “Being customer obsessed by digging deeper and going beyond the desk and dashboard enables brands to out-innovate their competitors by offering more authentic, relevant and personal customer experiences. Big data might help you to understand the ‘where’ and ‘when’, but it’s unlikely to show you the ‘why’.” Drew Rayman Managing Partner Tenthwave Digital
  29. INSIGHT AND INSPIRATION There’s lots of data that shows that bakers look at recipes online, but when we dug deeper we found that what they really really want is to show they care, express their love and lots of inspiration.
  30. SOLUTION AND RESULTS Pinterest-style responsive website solution with predictive search provides bakers with inspiration, and a platform to share their ideas with this UGC now accounting for over 80% of all content. Average visit length has jumped 50% with the digital community tripling in just 20 months to 1.75 million – helping bakers bake more, as well as resulting in a namecheck for Duncan Hines® in NASDAQ’s Bull of the Day for investors, and a number of awards for Tenthwave.
  31. The rising new technology stars, and how market research is about to get turned on its head
  32. People won’t stop shifting to new media properties and platforms, so we’ll continue to see new tactics and technologies in branded content marketing, such as wearable tech, hyper geo-location, mnemonic gestures, the ‘Internet of Things’ and the growth in 3D Publishing. But there are other challenges posed by the fragmented media landscape, even before brands start looking at shiny new things and beyond.
  33. “Brands are now faced with a dual challenge of not only trying to understand how individual channels or touchpoints work on a micro level, but also how they all fit together on a holistic level to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.” Ian Wright Joint Managing Director Tapestry Research
  34. “Market research is about to get turned on its head by the explosion of more data. The upshot is that we won’t be aggregating audiences around their demographics, but will instead be 'valuing individuals based on purchase probabilities'. This would radically change how media works, as well as who should be on the team to deliver and evaluate it.” Tim Foley Managing Director Pointlogic
  35. The only thing that will remain constant is the desire for good stories
  36. “If you believe in story-led marketing, that changes everything about how you go to market. Brands are going to have to change their processes and do something marketers don’t like to do and don’t do easily. They have to change the skillsets of the people they hire. They have to change the timeframes they work on. They have to change the way they allocate and think about budgets. They have to change their definition of creativity.” Scott Donaton Chief Content Officer UM
  37. And it will still all be about relationships
  38. “Marketing fundamentals will remain the same, namely that the relationship with customers and clients will be built one person at a time. We can’t be blinded by the light of bright shiny objects to ever, ever forget that relationships are paramount.” Charlene Li Co-founder Altimeter Group
  39. Thank You @juzzie
  40. This slidedeck was presented at the 21st Golden Drum advertising festival in Slovenia by Justin Kirby, VP, Content Strategy at Tenthwave Digital. Justin is a writer, speaker, and strategist who curates the Best of Branded Content Marketing (#BOBCM) eBook and event series in partnership with the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA). @juzzie