Let’s get one thing straight: Content is no longer the preserve of traditional media, in fact what is “the media” now? It’s become increasingly fragmented as household names are supplanted by upstart blogs and vlogs – which themselves quickly become part of the establishment and in no time are challenged by startups.
Many surveys rank trust in media as only marginally higher than trust in brands, whilst peer-to-peer recommendations command the highest level of consumer respect. Can you use your own content to disintermediate and become a peer-to-peer trusted brand?
I already mentioned Red Bull in my last article Re-evaluate Your Marketing Spend, but it’s not the only example. Net-A-Porter has risen to seriously challenge fashion magazines in terms of both readership/viewership and influence. It started as a retailer but has built trust by being honest, tapping into consumer interest and trends and doing more than just selling products.
Likewise it was reported a while ago that L’Oreal had recognised the influence and practical advice that vloggers give to its consumers via Youtube, Facebook and other channels… and, well, why shouldn’t a brand do this too? As a result L’Oreal set up a content team to directly supply tips and guides to consumers in a vlogger style. If it’s useful, and it’s not a hard sell, it should work for them.
The one thing these brands have in common is they stopped just talking about themselves and started talking about what their consumers were interested in, through relevant content. They will continue to achieve core business success but also build brand extensions by doing so.
And in fact this is something we’re working on for a number of our clients right now too – for example an online video portal that will bring news, hints and tips to a captive and active audience. Watch this space, we’ll be announcing it soon.
Although I started this blog off talking about content in relation to the media and the move of brands into self-publishing – becoming both the media and the message, as it were – don’t get me wrong. Content isn’t just the written word or the video; or an electronic, visual or print media vehicle. You can look at content as anything that tells your story, provides pointers towards your attitude and positioning, and tells potential consumers why they should choose, or even better, care for you.
One of our content editors, Jess Phillipson, recently wrote about this in her opinion piece Barclays: The Eagle Lab has landed. This is about great content too: in bricks and mortar form. A solution designed to engage beyond the cashpoint and the counter-deposit queue. It confirms Barclays’ broader narrative that they are a friendly bank that gives something back. One that helps customers and small businesses – a narrative that separates its retail arm from the investment banking that a high percentage of customers view with suspicion.
Building long-term business success has always been about sustaining demand through meaningful and regularly refreshed relationships with your customers and wherever possible, turning them into advocates. Putting content first and making sure it reflects both your ideals and your customers’ interests is a powerful way of doing this.
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