The two factors that brand marketers need to value above all else are relevancy and immediacy. After all, they are the only two things that customers truly value.
The 2010s brought companies and marketers dozens of brand new, sometimes daunting, and fresh channels where they could compete for attention. Traditional advertising still exists, obviously, but throw in social media, online video, different content types, the competition for content strategies, and more divided audience habits than ever before, and you face a distribution mix that’s confusing and more than a little scary.
Thanks to this uncertainty, brands often focus on making sure they’re hitting the right channels and measuring the right metrics before thinking about what creative is going to drive the content behind it. It’s escalated to a point where that doesn’t even sound as absurd as the reality is.
Brands should not be solidifying their marketing mix in concrete before getting into what the actual idea is going to be. Still, some see this as a more pragmatic method, understanding where they’re going to place the content, then building specifically for those distribution channels.
Make no mistake, no one is understating the value of a proper, well-constructed marketing strategy, especially if it takes careful considers data capture from as many channels as possible. That’s stellar, we applaud that thoughtfulness. However, somewhat ironically, we see secondary tactics drive creative, rather than the other way around.
It’s easy for stringent constraints to stifle creativity and inhibit storytelling, especially considering branded content is a service intended for consumers. It’s not an amorphous blob, ready and willing to fit every pathway deemed necessary; the value of the content specifically created for the consumer needs to drive the bus.
Think of it this way: well-crafted branded content gives a brand the ability not only to express its importance to the customer but also lets the customer interact with the brand in their own context. To fully capture these interactions, the brand has to be telling a good story, or the customer is going to move on.
“Storyteller” is much, much more than a buzzword marketers use on their dating profiles. It drives everything people look for in brands, and in their purpose. But that purpose also drives where the brand should show up, and when - the marketing mix. The other way around might seem like a quick-fix to getting your brand in front of as many eyes as possible, but in reality, it’s weakening your foundation. By placing storytelling at the forefront of your strategy, you can deliver relevant, purposeful content that is the very essence of branded content in the first place.