With that in mind, we now address the changing nature of content consumption and what that means for brand communications.
TL:DR (Too Long: Didn't Read)
The way we consume content has changed.
In response to this, brands are moving towards more linear content marketing strategies based on annual, editorially-led content calendars, rather than relying solely on pushed spikes of advertising-led messaging centred around TV campaigns.
GT:SI:WR (Got Time: Sounds Interesting: Will Read)
Content consumption has changed.
The Where, the Why, the How and the How Often.
It's all changed.
Due to the proliferation of mobile devices and the steadily improving quality and reach of internet and wireless networks, everything has changed.
As a direct result of this, the way that brands try to reach their customers, with varying levels of success, has also changed.
Combined with the ubiquitous nature of social media, the conversation is taking place between customers and brands every day and most likely not between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
So how should brand communications change to reflect this change in user behaviour?
The answer lies in a more editorial approach to content creation, complementing the big advertising messages pushed out at key times of the year, with a planned program of editorial content released on a far more regular basis across a 12 month period.
By necessity these editorially-led communications will heavily feature digital channels and aim to reach a far more targeted group of consumers.
It's commonly known as Content Marketing.
The notion of the traditional, short-lifespan, big splash Campaign as a standalone communications method is over.
Are we foreseeing the end of TV ads? No. (And perhaps, with the proliferation of niche interest TV channels, the opposite is now true, where advertisers have the opportunity to place more targeted advertisements around more relevant programming.)
Nor are we forecasting the end of the 'big idea' or the need for creativity. On the contrary, creativity is more important than ever as brands attempt to differentiate their content from that of the competition and deepen engagement with their audience.
We believe that this seismic shift in communications presents an opportunity to those brands willing to embrace it, to really engage with customers and provide a reason why they should choose to interact.
Brands and the companies creating content for them need to acknowledge this shift in content consumption and adapt accordingly or be left behind by their competitors who are.
Content Marketing: 5 things every brand must do
So, how do brands make this transformation? That's definitely the subject for a future article (or perhaps a book!) but, in brief, here are the top 5 things we believe must be front and centre for a brand wanting to adopt a content marketing approach:
Add value. Ensure any content created is truly useful for the audience.
Be genuine. Users will spot a hidden sales message a mile away.
Have goals. Create content for a reason. Drive engagement and loyalty.
Keep going. Create content on a regular basis. Users will want to come back for more.
Learn and revise. Take the learnings from your early attempts and feed the results back in to next iterations.
And finally (from our perspective, of course) we believe that video, as the best way to communicate a message and engage customers, should remain at the heart of any content marketing initiative that adopts these five steps.
In our next piece we discuss why an 'Always On' strategy is wrong...