If Netflix has taught us anything, it is the importance of responding to changing patterns of media consumption.
They have carved out a dominant position by taking risks, and challenging convention, and their influence is re-shaping the entertainment industry. ‘Better Call Saul’ for example, doesn’t need a blockbuster budget and shot-perfect cinematography to pull-in the Emmy nominations or to rake in over 2.5 million viewers.
Brands should take heed. They’re increasingly investing in customer experiences, and social channels like YouTube and Facebook are an established part of the marketing mix. But the sheer volume of brands competing for attention is a significant challenge. Two years ago Mark Schaeffer, predicted the onset of ‘content shock’ and he’s now presented evidence that major brand publishers are finding it harder to gain organic reach.
Embracing the unknown
Near-constant dialogue with consumers is shifting the focus away from long-distance forward planning and toward responsive frameworks. Embracing the freedom to manoeuvre within a responsive framework can be an intimidating prospect. That’s where the bravery comes in. At a time when consumers are struggling with too much choice, it’s the role of the content creator to craft powerful and distinctive brand stories, and to create adaptive content that thrives in fast-moving environments where attention is at a premium.
Good content creators in the digital industry understand this — they’re sharp, nimble creatives who can shape a project with the humble resources and inside the restraints they’re given. They listen to their clients, interpreting the project brief within the context of wider business needs. This means doing the best with what they’ve got, in the time they’ve got. That rarely amounts to perfection, but it always gets results.
Reap the rewards of content bravery
To really create sparks between consumer and brand, these creators need to be willing to head into the unknown. They need to be able to compensate for client and agency fears, to evaluate the ‘what if’s of a project and then formulate a story with emotive value and beauty. By raising brand awareness through these visual stories they can, step by step, build relationships that matter.
All digital spaces are saturated with underperforming content, and they’re only going to become more so, but the brands with content that expresses their values while making the digital landscape a more enjoyable place to be will be the ones who float to the top.
This is an exciting time for brands and agencies to work together to achieve positive cultural brand change. There’s an extremely creative future ahead for digital content — we just need to be brave enough and curious enough to explore all the possibilities.
By Jade Tomlin - 21st February, 2017.