Without ever realizing why we do so, very often we end up being growth drivers for various brands despite not even being a customer. Why?
Some brands have more recall and affinity even amongst non-users. How?
A recent campaign from a brand about sending "Tea for Trump" generated massive interest with millions of views and shares. What is the need for brands to do so?
While these questions seem to be emanating from different perspectives, they all seem to have a few things in common – Customers (Read humans) and Content.
Since time immemorial, the human race has been craving content it can relate or and various people have made the most of this lust and ruled minds and hearts. It is no surprise therefore that brands and marketing professionals are looking at customers today from a different prism and blending themselves in content that customers like to read, view, share and engage with. There is a sense of "relatability" that brands are able to create by either being a part of or by creating content that customers can relate to or have a use for or might believe to be useful for others. When I say "useful" I don't say it lightly though. It is VITAL that content has a use for the audience that it seeks to engage with. The whole raison d'être for content marketing is to engage the human being at the other end and that my friends is something that we all need to remember when we create content for the businesses or brands that we handle.
Quality content leveraged well by brands and companies has massive benefits including brand awareness and affinity, creation of strong talent brand, business growth as well as better customer retention (provided your brand delivery stands up to the promise).
More and more brands are flirting with "crowdsourcing user generated content". Marketers are looking towards customers, users and even non-users to create content, as that's what we humans love to do. Some have done so successfully and most have failed miserably. The reason is quite simple – "Content marketing is NOT a campaign but a commitment that one needs to live up to".
While a lot of people want to do it because it is the new fad, very few look at it with a long-term vision of how they want the brand to be remembered. Just because a video was nice means nothing for the brand. What is meaningful from a ROI perspective is for the audience to remember the brand WITH the video.
When I close my eyes and try and remember content (read advertising) that I saw years back and still it brings a smile to my face, I remember "Hamara Bajaj" and "Jab main chhota bachcha tha" or the "dancing girl with the dairy milk". When you create content that drives such strong neural connections that stick for life, that's when you can truly say that your content made the brand stand out.
Do remember that the whole reason that Search was born is because people were searching for content of value to them. So it is critical that content has an intrinsic value for the audience that it seeks to address. If the content is not valuable, customized and inherently relevant for the audience – it is like creating mass-market communication that may or may not add any value and hence its ROI might be extremely poor for the brand in question.
Content is king but one needs to look at marketing keeping the era (Read Year) in mind. The form of content might change but content itself is king. What one needs to remember though if Content is King, distribution of that content is Queen. No matter how good your content, if you do not do a good job of targeting and distribution of content, you've failed. As a marketer, you are NOT a film-maker but a growth-hacker and hence stop being enamored about the amazing film or tweet or post or blog that you created and stop being in love with your own work. Focus ALSO on the critical part of distribution of that content and NEVER ever think that great content goes VIRAL automatically. It needs to be planned and executed as any other form of marketing.
While every marketer and advertising executive will have his or her own checklists, here's mine of how I would rate content from a brand to be fabulous
• Content relates subtly to the brand that is creating the content either in terms of category or the brand's promise. It must create a neural connection that lasts
• It must be useful for the audience – The use could vary but it must be useful.
• Content must credible and have authenticity
• Content must be factual and transparent with the audience
• It must have a distribution plan that ensures that a vast majority of the core
Target Group gets to see the content within 7 days of the content going live
I have always believed that marketing isn't about creating myths anymore but about creating promises and memories that are endearing and live on through experiences with the brand. So if you walk the path of content marketing, do remember that it is just another way that your brand is making a promise and you MUST LIVE UP TO THAT PROMISE in brand delivery.
Go ahead and commit yourself to content and its distribution and reward yourself with success that you never thought was possible.
Head – Marketing and Innovation, Zee Learn Ltd