Brands As Content Creators – A Work In Progress

I spent this past week in Deer Valley at the Digiday Brand Summit.  There were a number presentations by brands describing efforts to create content that is informative and engaging to their audiences.  Marketing 3.0 is all about getting beyond the traditional model of “buy this now”,  and building a community by creating content.  Cisco for example is producing video content weekly via its its year-old media site, The Network.  It is a technology newsroom of sorts.   More and more brands are trying to follow that lead and catch up to ground-breakers like Red Bull,  which has effectively become a media property and brand all wrapped into one.  Just look at the NY Red Bulls soccer team,  Flutog or the Red Bull Air Race.  Another good example woud be Tablespoon, a social and content hub that General Mills has created around food and recipes for millennials. If you go there,  you hardly suspect it is the property of a major CPG marketer.

Nonetheless it would seem that only some of the brands that say they follow this strategy are doing it in earnest and doing it well.   I am guessing  80% of the real application is coming from 20% of the participants.  And the question is: why?

Part of the answer is that senior level decision makers at brands don’t necessarily support the strategy.  That makes it hard for content creators at brands to be effective.  In addition colleagues throughout these organizations don’t readily participate in process.  The folks at Digiday polled some brand managers at the conference and got a variety of insights into the challenge in their piece entitled Why Brands Struggle With Content Creation.

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On stage at the Digiday Brand Summit 12/4/2012 in Deer Valley UT

As we close out 2012,  my hope is that a brand — hopefully more than one — will not only embrace the content strategy but excel at it.  That means creating good, useful content (video, editorial, photos) and pushing it out through and to the leading platforms:  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube (archived video), Livestream (live video of events).  And then integrating the experience on a brand site and its social platforms.  Sounds simple,  but it’s not.  Creating quality is one challenge and presenting/distributing it well is another.

If my hope becomes a reality,  then future conversations like the ones in Deer Valley this week will scarcely mention the obstacles and challenges of content creation for brands and focus mostly on successes and connections with people.  And distribution.  Progress has been made — but there’s a way to go.

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