Recently I spotted an article on the definition of content marketing - instantly intrigued that some noble soul had embarked on defining the "content sphere." The intricacies and variety it offers makes it by no means an easy feat to define and got me thinking.
Whilst definitions are useful, they do not fully depict the situation. Take the humble tomato - by definition a fruit, but would you put it in a fruit salad? My point being that whilst definitions are a good start, they can often be misleading. I suggest we look beyond defining content, and instead focus on understanding how content differentiates itself from other marketing disciplines.
First and foremost it is crucial to highlight how content differs from traditional advertising.
Differentiating between both content and traditional advertising is a common issue we see many clients face. Marketers are often guilty of simply uploading their TVCs online; waiting with bated breath, they expect their latest uploaded TVC to go 'viral' (a word banned at Kameleon HQ). Sure, a select few consumers might watch it a handful of times and may even share it around the office, but this approach doesn't position brands as authorities and storytellers. And that, my friends, is what we look to create in any content; that invitation to spend time with the brand, revealing the quirks and traits of a brand's personality that make it all the more endearing to the consumer.
Away from the constraints of 30-second TV slots, the style of films we as an industry are producing should be able to reach new heights. Content has gifted marketers the circumstance to be more agile, more flexible - from a 6-second vine to a 6-hour video made by Virgin Atlantic. Content can come in all shapes and sizes, but the good stuff will always have the ability to provoke emotions.
To understand content you must appreciate that you have to think differently; length of time is no longer a factor. Consumer cynicism towards brands is more apparent than ever before. The surge in non-branded budget stores like Aldi and Lidl, comparison websites and the increasing use of ad blockers online, all show how consumers are shying away from brands where possible. Just last week it was announced that British consumers would not care if 94% of brands disappeared. It's now imperative brands value consumers more than ever, and invest time in creating content that provides a compelling and entertaining story, a brand's value must extend beyond the value of their product into everything they do and stand for.
Marketers are however slowly beginning to converse with their audience. I use "converse with" deliberately. The brands that are winning the content war are the ones that decide to inspire and engage their customers. Take the Emmy nominated Always "Like a Girl" campaign. Championing what it means to be a girl is a brilliant perspective to take. And while it may have attracted some heat from a small bigoted proportion of my fellow males, it is a message that nevertheless has inspired many females across the world. It places the brand at the heart of something bigger than them, demonstrating real consideration, an ethos that should be followed by many others out there.
By no means is this content in a nutshell, but hopefully it goes beyond defining it.