Brands as Stories

Always-on content and the need for new resources

Courtesy of Flickr user Asta AdamonyteCommitting to always-on conversation and real-time content delivery means new skills and resources are required for brands and agencies. As the likes of Coca-Cola are realising, the emphasis now shifts to journalists, editors and community managers rather than traditional copywriters and creatives who can work in a newsroom-like environment with its ability to react more quickly to what’s going on in the world.

Research is more fluid, fostering skills in pattern recognition and becoming part of the brand journey, building connections between brands and culture. Grant McCracken, in his book Chief Cultural Officer, makes the case for this role to be an integral part of all companies.

Content strategy becomes more than just what you post and when, it taps back into the importance of storytelling and being culturally connected as a brand. Rather than looking at the content you need to support a campaign, it’s about creating a narrative arc throughout all of your comms more in line with a Hollywood script.

“The key to a great story is to give the audience what they want, but not how they expect it.” Robert McKee, Hollywood script guru

Coca-Cola’s Content 2020 plan is a statement of intent – moving from creative excellence to content excellence. At the heart, it’s surprise, delight and brand love. Coke’s aim is to create experiences and stories that connect with and inspire their audience, giving them a disproportionate share of popular culture.

When the world’s most recognisable brand bets the house on content and storytelling as the best way to cement its place in pop culture, you know there has to be something in it. Coke’s move from traditional marketing into content shows that it understands the importance of continually engaging its existing audience and reaching new ones.

They describe their content efforts as the ‘red thread’ that runs through everything they do, whether it’s product innovation or a campaign like Share a Coke (switching their name for yours on the iconic bottle), the red thread ties it all together, creating an overarching narrative that continually references and reinforces their ‘Open Happiness’ mantra and ensures there are no dead ends in the story.

Their 70-20-10 formula for content also ensures that they’re always innovating, not just relying on repeating what they know works well. 70% of their content is safe, 20% is innovating on what they know they do well, while the 10% is experimental and tests new ground. This approach allows them to be bold and find what works and what doesn’t.

“All advertisers need a lot more content so that they can keep the engagement with consumers fresh and relevant, because of the 24/7 connectivity. If you’re going to be successful around the world, you have to have fat and fertile ideas at the core.” – Jonathan Mildenhall, former VP Global Advertising

For more about our Brands as Stories approach, check out the Slide Share below....