Make the brand story the foundation of your content

Posted by: RupertC on December 10th, 2013 IN Experiential marketing

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” or does it?

The rapid rise of production and consumption of bite size branded offerings has given today’s communicators a way to continually feed the public’s insatiable hunger for sharable, readable, watchable, digestible content.  Combine that with easier, cheaper and more widespread mobile internet access and it’s the perfect storm of opportunity to create connections between consumers and brands wherever they may be.

Branded story

However, before you get to this content utopia you have to carefully consider your audience, your brand and whether there is an overarching story that you’d like to tell.

We are seeing an increasing number of brands playing the long game when it comes to content, and rightfully so.  Yes, viral, flash in the pan, videos can zip around the world and get in front of huge numbers of people, but without having some meaning behind the campaign and nestling the video in the brand’s overarching story, the moment is forgotten quickly with no measurable impact on engagement, public opinion or sales.

An idea that has been banded about a lot is shorter attention spans, that we have to keep providing manageable chunks of content in order to engage an audience (some are even arguing that this ‘lack of attention’ has been created by a diet of too many little content nuggets).  But this is not the fault of the consumer, us marketers and content creators need to create harmony between short term interests and long term brand narratives.

There’s still some resonance to the Field of Dreams quote “if you build it they will come”, look how John Lewis has skilfully commandeered the Christmas build up with its highly anticipated seasonal ad.  Over the last 7 years John Lewis has been building on the idea that it can help you find the perfect present at Christmas.

This year’s offering ‘premiered’ during the X Factor at the beginning of November (oh yes, we’re entering the realms of Super Bowl-like ad breaks now), at 2 minutes 11 seconds long it is designed for online, to be shared, to be searched for and to be enjoyed in consumer’s own time.  But it doesn’t stand alone; John Lewis quickly opened the story wider and invited people to go deeper with behind the scenes videos, stills and a Twitter community based around #BearandHare.  These were all tactically and enthusiastically thrust  into the public domain.  Building a community, deepening the engagement and allowing people to understand and share the story behind the creative idea and feel part of the brand.

(almost brings a tear to your eye doesn’t it?)

So whether people are engaging with video content on their mobiles or at their desks, marketers must not forget the bigger picture; crafting a longer brand narrative that will transform viewers into fans and encourage fans to invest in the brand, and be part of the story.

As a test, see if you have the staying power to read this article from The Guardian on digital distractions.

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