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Do creative directors understand content marketing?

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Content marketing is a buzz word today. Every marketer understands the importance of it but are they actually delegating it to the right people?Often the task of creating content is passed on to a brand's agency partners. However, in a Content Conversations panel by Outbrain, Anthony Hearne, regional director of the company said that this might not be an ideal move because “creative agencies are completely asleep at the wheel” when it comes to content marketing.“Creative agencies are so focused on creating something as powerful as an ad but this new space of using content to tell a story to connect to people through either entertainment or education is something new to them. Creatives are resistant to moving into this space because it requires different skills set,” Hearne said.Hearne defined creative directors as those predominantly focused on creating impactful ad campaigns, while content directors tend to build platforms rather than just campaigns. He added that though the heart of content is creativity and human connection, there is a need for an expertise that is able to cut through the online clutter with a point of view that directly connects with the audience.To be a great storyteller, a creative director must be savvy enough to know what kind of content is effective in delivering a brand’s message in various channels, Hearne said. “Creative directors are collectors of artisans around them and knowing who to ask for help when needed."So who is the better story-teller?Josh Grace, regional CMO at Abbott, said that from a content marketing perspective, both content and creative director roles are vital for brands today.“There are two types of content and a brand has to decide which one it hopes to create before deciding on whom to hire to deliver its business objectives," Grace said. He explained that a brand can either decide to publish entertaining content that engages emotionally or it can create content that is informational. It is up to the marketer to decide which of the two content the brand needs because that will ultimately affect its strategy.According Grace, who was previously managing director of creative agency Leo Burnett Singapore, creative directors are very empathetic in their approach to creating content. Creative directors, he said, have an intrinsic understanding of the audience, which is key to creating impactful campaigns. While this skill is also vital for a content marketer, an added asset the latter might bring to the table is their ability to pull in and use data to strategise the content differently.“Content directors are able to look at more data and be able to execute more real-time strategies. Both roles are strategic but the ways in which they get to their sources are different,” Grace said.Lizi Hamer, creative director at Arcade, however defended the role of creative directors in the realm of content marketing.Hamer explained that the ever-evolving role of a creative director now does not preclude him or her from being able to pull data into the creative conversation, in addition to a creative director’s task of connecting with the audience."A successful campaign requires an amalgamation of the right team and creative directors have to realise that it’s no longer a 'just me' approach," she explained.Henry Adams, founding partner at Contented also pointed out that content marketing is simply storytelling repackaged in different channels.“We’ve always been storytellers. Today, we’re just able to tell it in many more different ways through the different channels. We shouldn’t think about calling ourselves storytellers, we should just do it,” Adams said. 

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