How brands are reacting to content shock

Thanks to the growing savvy use of digital, especially social media, the power balance between corporate and consumers has been shifting to the latter. It is changing the way brands utilise content to maintain and enhance consumer engagement.

“Catching up the rapidly changing digital landscape really takes time,” said Janis Wong, digital manager at Mattel Asia Pacific, at last night’s panel-sharing with Edelman Hong Kong which themed around content revolution.

“A lot of marketers or digital professionals focus too much on project management models, which cannot truly address what we need. Digital trends in China, for instance, move at a rapid pace and we almost need to revisit the plan every three months.”

So how are marketers gearing up to service the changing market landscape with content strategies?

Wong admitted within Mattel, the content-creating team works separately from the digital department.

“Within the digital arm we don’t actually have much content creation, the content creation is mainly driven by the brand team for which the skill stays traditional.

“But what is important to us is to identify what is the priority, what is the user habit and what types of content our users are looking for. To achieve this we need data to support it, which is the duty of our digital arm, while our content team comes up with the content.

“The most ideal way is for the two teams to reach full integration in order to produce more scientific content that achieves business goals.”

To news giants such as CNN, changing the content skill set is needed to survive the changing environment.

“There is a virtuous circle where content and commerce meet, where we can create solid content that consumers want to consume, and where we can align that strategically with brands and what they are trying to communicate,” said Ann Chu, head of media and content solutions at The Media Village, who was the former director, Partner Solutions Group, CNN Advertising Sales Asia Pacific.

“We see the need to change because, unlike BBC, CNN is a listed company and, at the end of the day, we have to bring in revenue.

“We’d be fooling ourself, unless we are serving a public service company.”

She added the success of CNN can be attributed to its people who have different skill sets and can move between departments to help clients work through strategies.

Much has been talked about content marketing being unable to directly link to ROI because of misplaced content strategies. So how important is strategy in content marketing?

“Brands should look at ultimate business objectives when implementing content marketing, it’s not just content marketing strategy,” said Nellie Chan, director of marketing solutions at LinkedIn Southeast Asia and North Asia.

“At the end of the day we are a big data company. How we can leverage on the data from our platform to help marketers with KPIs is our main concern.”

Wong added: “Content marketing is supposed to be aimed at driving final purchases. But most of the time marketers just measure sales activations, but overlook the holistic user journey.

“They generate mostly acquisition content. But the way to measure sales activations content and acquisition content are totally different.

“Hence, it’s very important to understand what type of content you are using to serve what sort of purposes, so that you can identify what measurement you need.”

Looking forward, LinkedIn and Mattel will continue to look to technology and data for driving content.

“Mobile is definitely a big part, especially in this region. We need to understand how will it effect consumers the way they consume content on this channel,” Chan said.

“In LinkedIn we use as much data as possible to make decisions. Data is highly helpful when used correctly.”

But Chu holds a different view.

“I still thinks storytelling and amazing content are what consumers identify with, engage with, and drive final purchases.

“There’s too much information out there. We’ve got content shock. So at the end of the day, good content goes back to storytelling.”

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