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The role of ideation in content marketing

We often hear about content marketing as an ongoing strategy, but for many of us in the industry getting started means developing a short-term solution that works instantly and effectively with minimum fuss: the first campaign that will prove what we can achieve.

We’ve worked hard with our partners over the years to find an approach to meet these goals that is simple, transparent and accountable.

We have found a number of key components we need to get right for a content marketing campaign:

  • Attractive commercially driven ideation.
  • Well priced, transparent and effective content creation.
  • Agreed and cost-efficient distribution platforms.
  • Defined and well-funded amplification strategy.
  • Transparent and specific accountability structure.
  • A simple transferable campaign summary.

For this article, we’d like to focus on the ideation process from a video perspective on the basis that all great campaigns grow from exceptional underlying ideas. The principles apply equally regardless of whether you’re dealing in video, prose, infographics, long form or short-form content marketing.

The aim in a successful ideation process is to generate content ideas that meet a business opportunity, and find the right balance between commercial and consumer needs to drive influence, audience acquisition and content sharing at affordable investment levels.

A business opportunity may be hard to find in a traditional media brief which will tend to be more focused on audience acquisition. For example, a typical request may start … “Build awareness among ABC1 males aged 18-34”.

We can’t generate a content foundation from that, so instead we aim to identify the underlying commercial dynamic.

For example, a discount airline hinges on selling discount tickets to overseas destinations, so a content goal could be to prove that great fun could be had at those destinations when travelling on a tight budget.

In a similar vein, credit card content may not focus on the discount the credit can offer at restaurants, but on the value of the customer experience when they visit.

Business analysis encompasses a wide range of engagement across multiple stakeholders. We benefit from knowing about more than just the product or service, but by understanding the customer’s needs, their alternative solutions, the value proposition and the defendable product advantages.

We then need to translate that into a great idea that does several things:

It’s commercial

Great content marketing lies at the core of the sales funnel. It’s key the content is geared to reaching commercial objectives.

We need to put commerce at the centre of ideation. We focus on consumer needs, proposed and competitive solutions, a clear value proposition and what we term “the unfair advantage” – the things your competitors cannot occupy.

It’s episodic

Content marketing in a social environment demands the use of multiple episodes, particularly to achieve the frequency involved with brand saliency.

With viewing time typically limited to between three to five minutes, multiple episodes allow you to tell a much more involved story and demonstrate a wider range of product benefits.

Multiple episodes allow audiences to grow as content is shared and enthusiasm builds. Episode cliff hangers drive audience commitment and establish communities.

The data acquired by initial releases allows you to optimise the message, fine-tune the production, and use digital marketing re-targeting platforms to reach out more efficiently to the engaged and responsive audiences.

It’s social

Consumer engagement is key to social sharing, and social sharing is key to audience growth. Great content has to leverage social media triggers such as humour, awe, ingenuity and audience value to incentivise consumers to pass the content onto friends.

It’s responsive

Great content ensures your audiences always have the opportunity to turn a great experience into a buying decision. We weave conversion opportunities deeply into the content narrative ensuring consumers consider the next step in the purchase process to be a natural one to take.

It’s scalable

Great ideas need the strength and depth to expand and diversify, and allow brands to create and sustain communities over long periods of time. There’s no place for a one-hit wonder when it comes to commercial success.

It’s legal

It almost goes without saying, but a successful content marketing campaign needs to ensure that all copyright and legal issues are addressed to allow brands to use content whenever, wherever and however they like.

We work hard with our legal team to ensure appropriate permits are obtained in full to allow brands unfettered access to the media of their choice.

These are approaches that work well across a broad range of media planning processes – so it’s not unusual to find the ideation stage of content marketing planning sitting at the centre of decisions in digital platforms, search marketing, display campaigns and mobile activity.

Nick Fawbert is the managing director of Brand New Media Asia.

[Image]: Shutterstock

For more perspectives on content marketing strategies from brands such as Kellogg’s, OCBC, Dell, Lenovo and more, look out for Marketing magazine’s Content 360 conference, on 8-9 April 2015.

To register, please click here or contact Joven Barcenas at or call +65 6423 0329, +65 98205195.

If you would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Soren Beaulieu or call +65 6423 0329.

For speaker or agenda queries, please contact Preeti Varadarajan at or call +65 6423 0329.

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