The state of brand content

By Louis Eksteen


As a hybrid marketing agency, we try and keep our finger on the pulse of modern marketing developments. Brand content is of special interest, because content marketing seems to be accelerating in importance in marketing strategy rooms around the world.

To start, our understanding of brand content is that brands and indeed companies can and should create their own content and publish on their own platforms. In this way brands become less dependent on external media for communication. It must also be said that we do not see brand content as replacing outbound communication through external media. Brand content is in addition to, not instead of.

Lately we’ve been thinking about what 2015 holds in store for brand content marketing. In summary, it seems as if the creation of brand content is set to grow rapidly next year.

Here are five important brand content trends for 2015.

1. Brand content marketing is marketing

Brand content marketing is becoming increasingly intertwined with marketing itself. Brand plans not mentioning content are becoming extinct. (Here are some predictions of what’s in store for marketing in 2015.)

2. Native advertising needs brand content

As the practise of using native advertising grows on digital platforms, so does the need for brand content. The reason is that native advertising by definition is content-driven. To be most effective, native should thus be firmly rooted in brand content communication. (There are perceived differences, see here, but we believe native and content marketing will increasingly have more in common.)

3. Brands are becoming media pros

When content marketing started gaining traction three years ago, few brand marketers knew much about the world of media creation. In future we expect the understanding of brand story arcs, article angles and the basics of journalism such as interview techniques and quality writing to become increasingly part of a brand manager’s daily tasks. This trend is supported by brands appointing trained journalists to assist in the creation of brand content that adds real value to consumers’ lives.

 4. Brand websites should be blog sites

When a brand has a story to tell, there’s no better place to tell it than in a blog format on its own site. Whether written content supported by strong visual content is used, or the brand’s story is told through video and audio means, the best place for housing brand content remains a blog-style content website. This kind of site provides a strong platform for directing native and social campaigns.

5. Agencies should be content creators

The idea of an advertising agency creating commercials for use on external media is fading. Today it’s much more important for agencies to be able to produce and disseminate brand content on a myriad of platforms.  As brand management is increasingly becoming media creation experts in their own right, agencies will need to be able to match brand content creation expectation with the appropriate skills. Therefore, expect more journalists working in content departments rather than only copywriters working in advertising creative units.

Not everyone likes this trend.