Content marketing, a lever for the effectiveness of brand content
Content marketing and brand content are sometimes opposed. However, these two approaches are complementary, even interdependent.
In France, the expression “brand content” has become established to designate the creation of content by brands. Blog and site author www.brandcontent.fr (2007), from the book Brand content (Dunod, 2009) and initiator of the Grand Prix du Brand Content (2009), I assume my role in promoting this expression.
In the book 2018 strategic brand content, co-written with Pascal Somarriba, we define this concept broadly. Brand content refers to the fact that a brand publishes content, occupies public space, or even creates its own media. Everything the company writes or produces on behalf of the brand in a structured and scripted way is brand content.
The wide scope of brand content
For a fashion brand, brand content includes catwalks, backstage, soundtracks, photo reports and clips from the collections, speeches by the artistic director, staging of the brand in shop windows, experiential or artistic concepts of visual merchandising, etc. . This includes editorial content, but also experiential content that can associate other senses (smell, sight, hearing, etc.).
Brand content includes all forms of brand expression:
. Content related to products and services, sometimes called “product content”: product photos and videos, product sheets, tutorials, etc.
. Motivated content to create lead and conversion: content marketing, but also inbound marketing, which sees content as a bait or a magnet.
. Editorial content: distributed on websites, apps, blogs, magazines …
. Relational content (CRM): newsletters, relationship programs, chatbots …
. Social content, relayed via social media: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn …
. Advertising content, constrained by the broadcast medium (20 seconds, 4 m X 3 m, etc.).
. Native advertising: co-produced using stylistic forms or media resources.
. Brand entertainment, whose function is to entertain and move: short films, music videos, web-series, games …
. Educational content: MOOC, e-learning, edutainment …
. Fun and immersive content: physical and virtual games, VR, AR …
. Company content: annual reports, white papers… produced by employees and managers, symposia.
. Content resulting from sponsorship and patronage, where the mark is visible.
. Cultural and artistic content disseminated by the brand: plastic arts, exhibitions, music, literary works, shows …
. Content at the point of sale: POS, showcase, installations, demonstrations.
. Brand locations: pop-up stores, exhibitions and events, forms of expression in space.
This diagram summarizes the main modalities of brand content, from digital to physical media, including events and places.
This content finds its source in the brand’s roots, its origins and the manufacture of its products, its social and institutional role, etc.
Even if these contents imply the responsibility of different actors within the company (general management, communication, marketing, HR, digital, social …), it is up to the company that the whole is coherent, relevant, enchanting and renews.
This is a broad interpretation of brand content: the brand’s supertext (all the controlled and positive content it emits) and uncontrolled content (emitted by consumers, influencers, collaborators, etc.). With social media, the uncontrolled part is growing strongly.
In the example below, we can see:
- on the left, the official Moët & Chandon account;
- on the right, consumer production with 11,800 visuals using the hashtag #iceimperial
With Pascal Somarriba, we consider that “brand content is the editorial expression of brand culture”. The term brand content indicates that the content emanates from the brand.
The origin of content marketing
In his latest book, Killing Marketing, Joe Pulizzi tells how he had the idea to promote the expression “content marketing” in 2001, at a time when we spoke in the United States of “custom content” and “branded content”.Content marketing, a component of the editorial strategy
But lead and conversion is only part of the content strategy. The content has many other functions for the brand: occupy the public space, highlight its point of view on the world, disseminate its culture, inspire uses, arouse communities, express a discourse of social responsibility, give meaning to consumers or unite employees.
Pawan Deshpande, CEO of Curata (content marketing software) in Boston, confirms in a post how narrow the word marketing is compared to the strength of content.
Even the title of “content marketer” might be somewhat outdated given that we support not just marketing in all its permutations, but also sales, customer success, HR, and any number of other departments or initiatives at our organizations.
In a 2015 column, Joe Pulizzi violently rejects branded content and Native Advertising, which he criticizes for a strong resemblance to advertising.
He prefers the notion of content brands, brands that become producers of content, independently of their mercantile activity. We join Joe Pulizzi on this vision of content, as being at the heart of the brand’s development.
For a complementarity of approaches
During the 1er living room All for content in February 2018 in Paris, the Brainsonic agency hosted a conference entitled “Content Marketing vs Brand Content”, illustrating the benefits of marrying, or even combining, these two approaches.
Brainsonic recommends playing on the different registers with:
- content geared towards the visibility of the brand, its prestige, its attractiveness for all audiences;
- content focused on lead generation, nurturing, conversion.
For Brainsonic, doing content marketing does not exclude being inspired by brand content. For Carole Menke, “following the logic of personalities does not prevent working the brand persona”.
Indeed, content marketing must be evaluated not only on effectiveness but also on its consistency with the brand culture. Not being part of the overall strategy is to risk producing generic or disconnected content from the brand. Content marketing players, who are very strong on technology, data and optimization tools, must increasingly integrate brand culture issues. Opposing content marketing and brand content is not in the interests of the brand, which should manage dissonant content.
We invite experts who claim to be content marketing and those who feel an affinity with brand content to react to this forum and to come and discuss in person in the coming weeks during a debate that we intend to organize.
Tribune written in dialogue with Pascal Somarriba, founder of Via Alternativa and author in 2016 of an intervention entitled “Content marketing vs Brand (ed) entertainment: friends or foes? “
Daniel Bô is the CEO of QualiQuanti.
Education: graduated from HEC Paris (1984) and SciencesCom (1986) Académie Carat Espace (1990).
1987-1989: becomes an advertiser for Saatchi, Lintas and Ecuador.
1990: founds the QualiQuanti research institute.
1990-2016: evaluates several hundred content (TV shows, thematic channels, films; magazines, websites, apps, etc.) and conducts research on TV sponsorship, product placement, advertising and digital advertising
2007: publishes the first study on brand content.
2009: co-wrote Brand content (Dunod). Initiate with Emmanuelle Prache the Grand Prix du Brand Content.
2013: releases Brand culture (Dunod)
August 2016: launches the Brand Content Institute
December 2017: release of Strategic Brand Content 2018, concentrated on ten years of research, unpublished studies, exchanges with professionals and thousands of cases analyzed.
Nicknamed “the pope of brand content”, he defends an approach to brand content that gives meaning and sheds light on the cultural background of brands. He is interested in permanent or ephemeral places as a territory of expression to be conquered for brands.