I try to take notice when brands and agencies talk about content. It’s a slight change in the way these companies have thought in the past. These folks are the experts are reaching consumers and selling products and services. It’s good to pay attention when they make proclamations on how things will work in the future.
Recently, Andrew Keller – CEO of CP+B, sent a letter to his staff. The letter was re-published by Fast Company. There were some great insights into the advertising and digital world. It’s worth five minutes of your time to read the letter entirely. I’m going to pull out one bit about content for discussion here in this post.
A lot has changed in the last decade. People are even more hyper-connected now. We all carry phones with cameras and video cameras in our pockets that are perpetually connected to the Internet. People are the chief content creators. People are the chief content distributors. The entire Internet has been re-architected around people and people-systems. Social media has pervaded our life and in the process its created a new social contract for people and brands.
The next step is content creation.
Every touch point is an opportunity to prove who you are. To do this requires creation of assets that can help literally and philosophically tell the story.
We’ve always worked with press releases to develop ideas. It’s not about getting press for the sake of press, it’s about understanding the expectation of impact within an idea as you concept it, vet it and create it. It’s about understanding what will drive the conversation and illuminate the message in a spectacular way. That’s what we live for.
There really is much more in the article so be sure to read it entirely.
The way brands connect with consumers and clients has changed. Content has always been important, but consumers are connected more now and as a result they expect more from the products and services they purchase. Today’s business landscape requires, in some cases, content that entertains and educates the consumer so they feel trusting with the brand. When Andrew discusses the sharing of content above he’s talking about how people are so connected in the digital world that they have the power to refer their friends, family and peers to brands on a scale never before possible.
That is where the power is for brands of the future – referrals.
The Content and Referral Business Model
Let’s get one thing out in the open. This really isn’t a huge change for even the most traditional brands. There has always been an element of content in advertising and branding. The goal of the content has always been about building trust with consumers and earning a sale and really earning a long-term customer.
Direct mail companies focused on their mailing pieces such as catalogs and letters. This is content. It was just delivered in a different way. Companies that have marketed and continue to market on TV are creating content. They are looking to earn discover with new customers and earn the trust and the sale.
It’s always been about content.
As Andrew mentions above the world today is more connected than at any point in history. People have the power to influence purchasing decisions like never before. It’s not that people have never influenced purchasing decisions. We have always had that ability. We’ve just never had the power to do it on the scale we can today with the Internet.
The bottom line for brands of the future is to continue to focus on the type of content that earns trust, earns referrals and earns sales. This is how brands will succeed in growing sales in the future. It could be done with a blog or video or something else. In fact, it will probably be done with a variety of things. It’s not about the channel. Your target customer has their preferred channels. It’s your job to understand the channels they use and then create the content that will earn their trust and referrals in those channels.
Things have changed since the old days of advertising, but even as things change some things stay the same. The world is more connected than ever, but the focus on content remains the same for brands.