Great content starts with a great client-agency relationship

Good communication leads to great ideas. We all know this. But yet, when thousands of dollars are on the line, it is sometimes hard to do so.

But if you want good results, you need to let agencies do what they do best. Come up with great creative ideas.

Brand marketers need to refrain from completely dictating what content creators and partners should do or say. Of course, a discussion is always healthy. This is according to Joanne de Rozario (pictured), managing director at Brand New Media, in a recent Content 360 conference.

Marketers need to have trust in their content partners, she said.  This is because most content creators in Singapore and globally often have years of experience when it comes to creating content, even before the term “content marketing” came into popularity.

“We are former journalists, TV producers, feature film editors, reality show runners. Storytelling is kind of in our professional DNA. After years of being yelled at for not getting a show or network the ratings it wants, we know what makes good content and what doesn’t. So trust us,” she said.

Something as basic as being nice to your content creators and partners can go a long way, said de Rozario. She added:

There is nothing that your content partners won’t do for you, if you treat them with respect and a little kindness.

Agreeing with de Rozario was Neal Moore, a member of ACMA, who explained in an earlier panel discussion that having someone on the inside who speaks the “language” in content marketing also helps. This is especially so with more brands moving their content teams in-house.

“Everything is better. The relationship is better, the content is better; the risk taking is greater because there is no language barrier between the agency and the client. Even if just one person has the word content in their job title, it makes life a lot easier,” said Moore.

So, what works?

Less brand presence

According to de Rozario, brands should consider not having their brand logos in the branded content created. This is because brand storytelling is not actually about the company, but rather the consumer.

“Content needs to focus on customers and the benefits they get from engaging with your brand’s service or product. The more logos we see, the more a video seems like a hard-sell commercial,” de Rozario explained.

Invoke emotion

Brands also need to think about how their content can invoke emotion. This is because consumers attach the emotional experience they have when viewing content, to the brand telling the story.

“Tell a good story, and you’ll leave an emotional imprint on someone that’s hard to shake which in turn drives loyalty,” de Rozario added.

According to de Rozario, there are three emotions that marketers can use to connect with consumers. These are fear and anger, happiness and surprise.

Quoting findings from Wharton Business School, de Rozario explained content which evokes negative emotion was most likely to be shared, along with awe-inspiring, surprising and humorous content. However, sad content was found to be the least viral.

Also,when it comes to using fear and anger as a strategy for emotive content marketing, brands need to first ensure that these are feelings they want their consumers to experience. Next, they need to be able to provide a solution to the problem portrayed in the storytelling.

Meanwhile, making consumers feel happiness involves the use of positive and happy stories surrounding services, products or target personas. The goal here is encouraging a “warm and fuzzy feeling”.

Lastly, raising feelings of surprise include asking provocative questions, sharing new ideas and stating surprising facts to show the brand’s knowledge. This tactic encourages consumer to share brand content as it compels customers to share what they would find “cool” to their community.

“However, a story that procures emotion then needs to have a rational impact,” de Rozario said.

Help them achieve their goals

Brands need to present their content in a way which provides the most value for their audiences. Not only do brands need to correctly identify their target audience needs, they also have to help consumers achieve their goals.

She explained that this can culminate through the creation of “help” content, including instructional how-to videos such as recipes, beauty tutorials. This should not be discounted as consumers are constantly searching online for information or ways to improve their lives.

Agreeing with her is Michael Pennington, vice president, international digital and advertising sales, NBCUniversal, who added that consumer “vocabulary” has fundamentally changed. He said:

If we are selling our products and services to people in a way which is different to how consumers communicate, how can we as marketers engage?

He is of the view that brands and consumers alike are living in what he terms “a remix culture” and a two-way conversation and dialogue is expected.