What we call Brand Content today in the marketing jargon is THE new communications tool of brands willing to be modern and which speaks through very various supports such as consumers magazines, web content, video-bloggers’ real-life situations products videos (what the platform Octoly actually offers), apps for smartphones and other connected tools, happening-events.
Because a brand’s communication is no longer done one-way and we have entered a reciprocal multichannel and multidirectional communications era with internet and social networks, brands now have the obligation to hold the attention of those now called consumer-actors.
Information itself has become a product. A natural extension of that very product, a sort of underlying that is both complementary and essential to its survival in such a way that the product or brand and its «communications» avatar (that is every single means through which its “content” can speak, should they be informative, practical, cultural or entertaining) form an inseparable whole, which primary purpose is to be interesting first, before being interested then.
Moving from the passive consumer status to that of consumer-actor, the buyer assumes alternately and systematically the roles of tester and product criticizer/reviewer. The challenge for the brands is then to successfully manage in an optimal way this rebalancing of powers in the relationship they now have with their consumer-actors to get them to become their new ambassadors.
The ambassador: a product enthusiast or a specialized journalist?
If the phenomenon of video-bloggers testing products in all possible ways through informative and entertaining formal scenes is becoming very fashionable, another trend stands out and comes from press groups: brand journalism.
But then, what is a brand journalist? That is both a marketer and a journalist. His mission consists in creating beautiful stories – also called storytelling – and sharing them. The brand journalist is a marketer who treats the promotion of a brand with the eyes, sagacity and elocution of a reporter.
Also called corporate reporter when working directly for the brand, he is in charge of writing blog articles, producing videos, photos, webinars, graphics, ebooks, podcasts and any type of information which purpose adds up value around a brand or a product. In short, the brand journalist brings the sensibility of the reporter to the content and an editorial approach of creation and valorization of a brand.
The creation of the brand content is entrusted to a team of journalists which main activity is to produce titles for their press groups, thus working on behalf of the brands by producing content dedicated to the brands and which will be broadcasted on their communications channels such as websites and social networks.
On this very niche different actors are trying to stand out: platforms connecting clients with writers/translators (Edency), content agencies (AdC Agency) and finally press groups trying to increase their advertising revenues such as Condé Nast France which launched a brand content offer in January 2015 or Mondadori France.
The couple brand content & brand culture
We cannot talk about brand content without talking about brand culture so much so that both words are intrinsically linked. Because beyond a “simple” magazine or website, brand content tries to express itself through a much wider perimeter, integrating complementary communication channels (email marketing, web or tv channel, “happening” events, dedicated apps) that can actually integer with one another to increase the frequency (how many times) and the number of exposure entry points (by which penetration channels) as well as to improve image coherence and consolidate exposure and conversation time – engagement time – with consumer-actors.
That is all this homogenization work of the content through the different interconnected medium and information and conversion channels that allows the brand culture to shine by highlighting and staging the entirety of its product portfolio. The improvement of the brand image becomes possible thanks to the strictly informational approach of the reporter, which purely commercial contents do not allow.
Following the footsteps of consulting firms or ISCC (Information Systems and Consulting Companies) offering multichannel CRM, press groups thus work to put together global interaction systems with their audiences, which purpose is to live the brand through these brand culture operations and the ubiquitous conversation that they arouse.
Brand content applied to TV
When we speak about brands, we often think about the brands which level of awareness is the strongest among the population, that is indeed the case for ready to wear brands (prêt-à-porter), haute couture or perfume. But speaking of brand content is of course relevant as soon as it comes to valuing a brand.
In the world of television, valuation strategies of brand content are also very successful. TV channels are indeed looking for ways to develop their program-brands through advertising agencies in charge of creating custom operations. Many programs can indeed be exploited as brand contents, contents that earn even more credibility when they are highlighted and presented by the muses of these very TV channels.
The brand content offer of the TV advertising agencies essentially revolves around creating custom operations. But soon, as as the market keeps on growing heading towards its pre-maturation phase, ads agencies will have to complete their offer with turnkey commercial products, like a packaged marketing offer.
Brand content within pure players
By pure players we mean those who claim to be full digital: these digital groups or web advertisement agencies that have made of the digital and social networks their battle cry.
How do they work? The method seems to have proven: when we formerly spoke about endorsement when brands mandated celebrities or more particularly top athletes to promote them actively in TV spots, or passively within the framework of gear sponsorships at tournaments and matches, they were essentially looking to exploit the couple «likability and visibility» of the personality.
With the development of social media, a new generation of stars of likability and visibility was born, that of enthusiast consumer-actors, and that has taken over. How? They managed to federate and retain a community around their personality and the staging of their adventures. They are the new influencers, they are called youtubers, gamers, instagramers.
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