(from Forbes, August 15, 2012)
What you say is just as important as how you say it.
Advertising has changed dramatically, as the Internet has evolved. The way that consumers expect to be approached has transformed in such a way that companies need to try to make friends, rather than shove products and messages in consumers’ view.
Less push and more nuance, or as Doug Scott, President of OgilvyEntertainment describes it: “More of an invitation, and less of an interruption.”
According to Ogilvy’s recent white paper, entitled “Making Magic, Using Logic,” by 2015, the worldwide entertainment industry alone is projected to be worth $1.8T.
“Not only do brands need to evolve the ways in which they communicate with consumers, they also have the opportunity to create new revenue streams in doing so—becoming media owners and publishers,” the paper asserts.
Companies have come to embrace branded content as a way of storytelling that engages audiences versus just talking at them.
Part of this shift toward storytelling, as Scott explains, comes from the atomization of information channels.
“Back in the radio days, one family gathered around a single device. Back with T.V., millions of Americans tuned in at a certain hour. Now you have this behavioral shift in the consumer. The perfect storm has been created as disruptive innovation has changed the space, by the following: A) Fragmentation B) The idea of “on demand” (i.e. based on my time) C) You have the lean-back and the lean-in experiences, and D) Screen proliferation. Most consider the ‘first screen’ to be the television, and the second screen to be mobile. Though I really believe mobile is the first screen — iPhone or iPad — because it’s about me.”
He explained that brands should collaborate with storytellers to develop information they want shared. “Every brand has a story to tell. For instance, it might be a story about a belief, as with Dove and Real Beauty.
“It’s about getting at a cultural truth that aligns with the brand’s best self.”
Startups can be involved in this type of messaging, as content does not need to be expensive to be effective.
“The idea that content needs to be expensive is kind of a misnomer. Brands that are just starting have a tremendous opportunity to build their audience more quickly by using branded content,” he said.
“The content can be photos, videos, anything — all these things feed into their introduction into the marketplace. It’s what every entrepreneur should be thinking about.”
One of the keys to the storytelling is that this type of content can be and is often shared more often (through social media networks), thusly making a potential customer more engaged with the brand. It provides a softer way of getting users to be interested and remember the company for a specific trait.
As for the future, branded content will become even more specific than it is now. More atomization and customization.
“In the future, there will be a rise of micro-content. For example, if I’m watching a show on NatGeo on Ancient Egypt. I may be specifically interested in King Tut — and on my iPad, it has additional videos for 99 cents on that specific topic, or instead of paying the 99 cents maybe the extra videos are brought to me by Fodor’s or another brand.”