Extreme contenting

Strategy publisher Mary Maddever on branded content, collaboration and supporting Canadian digital platforms.
the movie out here

Two ends of the marketing spectrum have been on steroids lately and we’re just now starting to see the results.

“Advertising” is being upstaged by content plays, from Grip’s Kokanee movie to whole channels of branded content. The sheer volume of creativity funnelling into marcom has gone from 30 seconds worth of entertainment to real-time newsrooms. This means casting new types of creative talent: our careers section has an ad for a Tim Hortons TV programming director.

On the flip side, number crunching has gone from quarterly tea-leaf reading to second-by-second Big Data-driven programs that define zillions of intimate brand/consumer relationships.

Strategy has been focusing in on two areas in the thick of all that mutation: branded content and shopper marketing. A common thread across both sectors is digital, and the impact of mobile social platforms.

The industry focuses a lot on how digital changes P2P influence, but given brands’ content aspirations, another important consideration is vying for attention. Now more than ever, content is global. Everyone from Amazon to Sony and Google is trying to rival Netflix, and all the digital and traditional media companies are also aggressively ramping up their streaming content volume.

As the audience fragments across time and space, and re-constitutes at scale around borderless streaming communities of interest, having strong Canadian digital destination brands to partner with is going to help develop national programs and get them noticed. But the current level of digital audience valuation (ad revenue support) makes it hard for Canadian platforms to compete.

Trying to get viral attention against a new tsunami of foreign content is just going to get harder. That’s why supporting Canadian platforms as an industry, making access easier, and the experience better for audiences, will be advantageous in the long run.

Many of the winning Shopper Innovation cases from our recent award show were also founded on content collaboration. Their ability to command attention was based on customization and lots of partnering to build significant audience (read up, here).

The most interesting programs now combine the best of both worlds – mashing up content plays with deep dive personalization, like the loyalty programs that shoot you offers based on past purchases and gamify the whole thing with points and contests, plus entertainment in the form of relevant video.

That’s why strategy recently curated the Shopper Marketing Forum and BCON Expo - to bring together the best partners and practices, and are now in the final stages of curating our May AToMiC Awards show content, which also hones in on innovation and collaboration across the entire Canadian mediascape. Marketing is a team sport, and Canada has a better shot at winning by developing its own league.

Cheers, mm