Client Partner – Strategy
Content is an essential pillar of marketing strategy nowadays, and the old approach of sporadic creation needs a complete overhaul.
It is no secret that TV advertising has dominated media plans and taken the lion’s share of investment for years in Indonesia. The battle for gross ratings points in most categories has led to tremendous ad clutter, and at the same time a drop in the ability of TV advertising to “cut through”.
Growing digital consumption has offered a natural solution to this challenge. However, it has also brought in a lot of content wastage, because for each different digital platform, there is a different content requirement. Often, multiple agencies work on digital media for a single campaign, and this leads to fragmented content planning.
In addition, the need for varied content goes beyond digital. For TV, there are branded TV shows, partnerships and exclusive vignettes. Movie marketing, meanwhile, works as a content factory, adding multiple pieces like active integrations, co-branded commercials, promotions and consumer events. Beyond movies, there is content created on radio, and activation to build localization.
The result is an abundance of content – and little money invested to promote it. The role of each content element is often undefined, with inconsistent messaging. The question isn’t here about content marketing, but a more comprehensive system of seeing the role of each piece of content play to its strengths, in harmony with the others. Brands need to have a content ecosystem, which defines overall role of content in the marketing plan and, like any other ecosystem, the interplay between each of them. There are five key guidelines to successfully creating a robust content ecosystem.
One of the reasons why great advertising works wonders is because it is able to influence consumers’ behavior through multiple pieces of communication all speaking the same language. At the very beginning of any content call, it is imperative to have a singular communication platform that defines the overall campaign direction. Since audiences are not consuming these pieces of content in isolation in their cross-screen journey, any content that fails to send the same message as the others is a wasted opportunity.
At the same time, it is also crucial to challenge our creative thinking. It is disheartening that our creatives are judged by the first five seconds of a video, and some brands have been making short-term (and often desperate) attempts to make an impression on audiences in those initial seconds.
Focus on purpose
Ideas are limitless but content shouldn’t be. We have been plagued with talk of “Hero”, “Hygiene” and “Hub” content. And within these three verticals, there are a further umpteen content requirements. However, we don’t always even need the first three. Many food brands, for example, thrive only on consistent “hygiene” content, like DIY tutorials and snacking videos, which work wonderfully because the consumer is seeking more information on usage.
Thrive on consumer events:
Marketing activity frequently involves consumer interaction, creates great human moments, and can inspire human stories. On-ground activation can lead thousands of people to flock to an event, each of them creating memorable moments. A good content ecosystem calls for plans on how to capture these moments and convert them into entertaining content. It saves money and makes content more relatable. Our audiences are agnostic to the origin of content; if it’s interesting, they’ll consume it, like it and share it.
Harmonize content pieces:
Once the roles of different elements of content are defined, it is equally important to have a way to integrate them. For instance, if the brand ties up with a movie, it can generate content such as brand integration in scenes, behind-the-scenes short films, and celebrity promotion. All of these elements, if restricted to their original space, will never bring scalability.
Make it count
We have mastered the art of measurement for most of our media investments, but have tended to use softer measures to evaluate content. We need a much stricter approach, and there are two parts to this. The first is pre-testing content. There are many tools and partners that can provide a quick assessment of the emotive strength of the creative and clarity of messaging. Second, there needs to be measurement of the performance of content. For instance, native ads that improve understanding of a brand need to be measured against time spent, page reads and demographics. This helps with comparative evaluation of content. For videos, it is not more about winning more views, but completion rates and more advanced metrics.
In the new marketing landscape, the ability of TV commercials to cut through may continue to decline. But a well-defined content ecosystem will help a brand connect with consumers at multiple touchpoints, in the right balance and with a consistent proposition.