Congratulations... It's a Content Studio!

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By Rob Gregory, President of Sales and Marketing, WhoSay

Your Content Studio is Open For Business…Now What?

Every other day, it feels like a brand is launching its own content studio.  Pepsi, Budweiser, Sprint and now Yahoo! are just a few of the latest to announce their entry into the storytelling game. Add these new shops to the hundreds of publisher content studios, plus the creative concept and production teams embedded in many of the big media agencies these days, and it’s a flat out boom.

As consumers, can we look forward to walks down the grocery aisle where the pickles tell jokes, the soda spins yarns, the potato chips sing in tune and cereals share inspiring anecdotes? Surely this cacophony of branded narratives will make the world a better place!  All together now, Aisle Three!

Or maybe, not so much.

Here’s the thing about good content creation, and maintaining audiences for it over time.  It’s hard.  It’s really hard.  That’s why most books and movies aren’t hits, most TV series get cancelled, and most video never gets watched all the way through.

But hey, you’ve doubled down on this content thing, and your studio is open for business.  Here are some things we’ve learned over the last six years that may be helpful:

  1. You need a fresh, outside perspective.  The teams who develop, test, manufacture and then market a product are pretty deep in the woods by that point.  It’s crucial to have outsiders look at your brand, and its promise to the consumer, from a fresh perspective.  That’s where the really great, new ideas usually come from.
  2. You need the right data for distribution. The amount of expensive, branded content that’s produced and then just thrown to the wind— published on musty owned & operated sites or slipped optimistically into the choked social media feeds of mobile phone users-- is a staggering waste.  First party data abounds.  There’s no reason not to use it strategically for every stage of a content campaign.
  3. You need professional storytellers.  The skateboarding ventriloquist who makes epic Vine videos, but doesn’t bother to read your brand brief (or show up on time), might be ok to try once.  But if you’re serious about great stories emanating consistently from your shiny, new content studio, you should work with professional storytellers.  They’re out there.  Make that investment.
  4. Your content has to do something.  Does it inspire? Amuse? Inform? Emote?  What is your content’s reason for being?  And does it signal why you should stay with it in the first three seconds of play?  On a three inch screen?
  5. You need good pitch.  Red Bull is brilliant at this. Their content speaks only in “fluent Red Bull” and their fans can hear it from a mile away. Ditto for Burberry.  They have an attitude and voice that somehow manages to shine through in almost everything they create.

It will be interesting to watch where all of this plays out.  How will ad agencies and the big holding companies respond and adapt? Who will succeed and stay with it on the brand side? And, how much consumer appetite is there for engaging? 

Lights, camera, action!