Content is more important than ever for brands and agencies, in order to take advantage of the unparallelled opportunities to reach consumers across a wide variety of channels. But with that opportunity comes the need to produce content quickly and at scale – and thus an accompanying danger of getting it horribly wrong.
Rapid response can’t be at the expense of quality. This presents the challenge of ensuring in-house teams and external partners are fit for purpose.
Marketing Week and Creative Review, in partnership with Shutterstock, hosted a roundtable of senior marketers and in-house creative directors to discuss the strategy, culture and processes required by brands and agencies to create content that meets the demands of consumers today.
Among the key takeaways of the debate are:
Brands need to define their content personality, and whether content is controlled by an editorial board or is responsive and organic. “Are we campaign-oriented or do we have an always-on philosophy? That’s difficult to figure out, particularly at the start,” said Keith Gulliver, head of marketing at TSB.
Eric Sampers, global brand director of The Gin Hub at Pernod Ricard, warned: “You have to balance the dictatorship of ideas with the need for creative expression. But you can get into difficulties there because everyone has a different idea.”
Organisations that facilitate close collaboration will see greater consistency. This means silos are broken down and thinking is more joined up. For example, at IBM, global content strategist Scott Stockwell said: “Every piece of content goes through a very standardised workflow but everyone comes together on it.”
Where agencies are concerned, he added: “Proximity to the brand is absolutely what makes it work. We have people really embedded so they’re almost a native employee.”
You can’t measure what you don’t understand. Before measuring what returns you’re getting from each piece of content, it’s important to know what you’re expecting to achieve with each marketing channel. Even so, it’s likely to be tough to do.
Testing can reveal relevant insight, said Shutterstock senior vice-president Grant Munro – such as when Häagen Dazs realised images of melting ice creams outperformed perfectly frozen ones. According to Austin Humberson, design director of Spark 44, an agency dedicated to and half-owned by Jaguar Land Rover: “Brand and messaging and the nature of brands themselves are harder to track.”
The full write-up of this roundtable is now available to download as part of an in-depth report by Marketing Week and Creative Review, in partnership with Shutterstock. Also included are case studies from three brands – NAD, McDonald’s and Chipotle – explaining how they transformed their creative approaches to content to meet the executional challenges of marketing today.