Building brands in a changing society

Is Content the Answer for Every Brand?

To succeed in social media, marketers can embrace one of the things that the channel does best: the propagation of content. Social platforms and the consumers that use them have an insatiable appetite for content that can be easily commented on, liked, tweeted, blogged and pinned. Brand content answers that need by offering the consumer insight, entertainment or utility—something to talk about and share.

However, the question that marketers are now wrestling with is whether any brand be a content brand. Strategically, it’s a significant undertaking, starting with finding a white space in the category. “When brands create content, they aren’t competing with other brands; they’re competing with publishers and other content creators,” said Ingrid Bernstein, director of experience at JWT New York. For a brand to go head-to-head with established media – magazines, newspapers, books, movies and television shows – it needs to offer consumers a point of difference.  

Additionally, from a production standpoint, it can be challenging for a brand to transition from episodic campaigns to the always-on cadence that social media demands. Most marketing departments are simply not staffed or organized to produce content at the pace of a daily newspaper, nor are they prepared to respond in real time as their content provokes consumer reactions.

“The more the brand can live in the here and now and seize on current events, the more effective that brand is going to be,” said Thomas Gensemer, managing partner at Blue State Digital. Gensemer is best known for initiatives that became broad-based movements, including the 2008 Obama campaign and the anti-bullying project It Gets Better.

Oreo demonstrated that even a simple cookie could be responsive to current events. Its Daily Twist site showcased a different Oreo image every day, capturing cultural moments from the Mars rover landing to gay pride.

In my next post, I’ll look at whether the brand idea is up to the challenge posed by social media.


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