7 Big Trends in Branded Content Strategy
The best part of working in the world of experience design + strategy is the ever changing types of problems I get to explore with my clients. The second best part is having something to share from it.
This week I’ve been scanning competitive market for how commerce sites are using content strategy to build their brand experience. In case you weren’t aware, the days of the single company blog are over. Brands are competing online to offer the most immersive, engaging content, tailored to specific audiences. Content not about them, but about you.
Your values, your needs, your lifestyle.
The competition is high. Content that sells product is quickly becoming a thing of the past. So if that’s what you’re doing, it’s time you caught up!
1. A Visual Treat
We live in an ocular society. Visual storytelling is the new currency for any strong brand. The human brain processes visual information at an incredible 60,000 times the speed of processing text. It’s no wonder instagram has taken over our lives.
Visual content is the fastest way to deliver impact and emotion into an audience, and the competition out there is impressive. It is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
2. The Move into Motion
Visual imagery is a powerful tool in many situations, but content will always be king, and the way you deliver content still matters. When you need to tell a story, video is the an excellent medium. Your customers will love it — video requires very little effort to consume. In fact, 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
3. Community Building
The smartest brands out there aren’t just pushing out content, they’re creating a feedback look using their audience. Initiating conversations instead of blasting out their personal message towards customers. Tactics vary — from facebook likes, blog comments, community forums and even customer generated content — but the result is the same: A brand following that feels invested on a personal level, and a company that benefits from truly understanding their audience.
4. Lifestyle Focussed
Content that doesn’t sell is in right now. This means brands have to find a higher purpose or message to build their strategy around. They build content around the lifestyle that their ideal customers lead. It’s not just a single lifestyle they focus on either — Different channels are tailored to specific segments of their audience. Focus, instead of generalisation, is of utmost importance in order to create an authentic voice.
5. Politically Engaged
The boldest brands go beyond lifestyle, and take a political stance. From Apple to Patagonia, more and more companies are championing the causes that affect their industry. Morality is becoming marketing, and with good reason. 91% of Millennials say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause. So what are you going to stand for?
6. Cross Pollinated
Now that you’ve got your politically engaged visual masterpiece of a video ready, it’s time to throw it up on the blog and reap the rewards, right? Not quite — there’s more work to do. Brands now use huge variety of channels, from email to Instagram to Twitter, to push that content out to the right audiences so they can consume it in the medium which suits them.
7. Bridging Digital and Physical
People consume endless amounts of content in the digital realm, but even stronger relationships can be built in the pysical world. Digital tools either act as a tool to push people into real world events, or the two worlds can be mashed together in surprising one off experiences that surprise and delight those that engage, while also creating a story to be shared by those who missed out.
The importance of content marketing for brands is constantly growing. It is one of the most effective ways for retail brands to market themselves, because the customer chooses only to interact with the content that interests them. Providing real value to customers beyond the product is crucial to building brand loyalty, and is a must have for those who want to build, or maintain a competitive advantage in the market.