The new reality for brands is people are consuming and creating more content in more ways than ever before. Eric Schmidt said we now generate as much information every two days as was generated from the beginning of time to 2003. Next time you stand in line at your local Starbucks notice how everyone is staring at their smart phone sending emails, updating Facebook status or reading the headlines.
This combination of consumption and creation has opened new opportunities for brands who want to get into the content game. Many brands are getting into the content game, According to AdAge 51% of marketing executives said they were already investing bigger marketing budgets.
L’Oreal is a great example of a brand acting like a publisher. They noticed a trend that women were watching YouTube videos on how to apply cosmetics. A competitor Lancome was already sponsoring a YouTube personality and make up artist Michelle Phan. L’Oreal’s response was a partnership with demand media to create well-produced how-to videos that engage consumers at each stage of the buying process. Marc Speichert, chief marketing officer of L’Oreal USA says: “It’s important for us to get this right, because the whole path to purchase is changing. In the past it was a relatively simple cycle: we’d generate demand on TV and in print and then drive sales. Now, consumers research online first, and there is a new first moment of truth. So we have to think about how we insert ourselves into that consumer education.”
However, there is an inherent risk in creating too much planned content. The big one is missing the opportunity to be timely. Timeliness shapes the perception of how relevant a brand is in the cultural conversation. Timely = Real time, or as my colleague Dan Burrier (@dburrier) describes it as “Perceived real time”. The idea behind this concept is that you don’t need an instant response. Instead take a moment to reflect, create a story and engage with an authentic voice.
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