Building the Next Generation Marketing Platforms

Bryan Fuhr, SVP, Director of Strategy, Havas Digital is working with his clients to build their next generation digital platforms.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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Bryan Fuhr, SVP, Director of Strategy, Havas Digital is working with his clients to build their next generation platforms — hardware, software and content — to engage consumers and help those brands find greater economic value in their relationships.

Fuhr sees us as being past the point of experimentation with social media marketing. It’s a must for brands wanting to shift consumer preferences and be involved in conversation and culture. As social continues to expand as part of our marketing arsenals, Fuhr recommends “spreading your eggs” across multiple channels, based on where people are spending their time and what they are doing while they are there. Facebook is not the only player and Fuhr sees value in even the much-maligned MySpace for some of his clients.

Considering the near ubiquity of mobile devices, Fuhr observes an absence of mobile experimentation. Mobile success, he states, relies on content that is discoverable, readable, relevant, useful, meaningful and actionable.

Fuhr offers glimpses of Havas Digital’s work with Fidelity and Volvo as examples of the challenges in creating more robust assets in the digital space.

Effective Advertising That’s Less Complex and Less Expensive

As with many other major brands, Subaru is shifting from broadcast and print to the digital and social spaces.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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As with many other major brands, Subaru is shifting from broadcast and print to the digital and social spaces. At Subaru, this is being driven from the top, according to Brian Johnson, the company’s National Advertising Manager.

Subaru is creating a stronger presence on Facebook and Twitter, as well as shifting from online banners to more content-oriented digital assets. In the past, production may have been complex and expensive. Now, content for channels such as YouTube may be created more on-the-fly, be a bit grittier and contain more humor.

Seeding information to blogs has shown to be effective for enthusiast products. Other shifts by the brand include moving away from sales events based on dealers “yelling and selling” and seeking more natural product integration on programming that fits Subaru’s demographics.

Facing the Increasingly Complicated Media Landscape

As the media landscape becomes increasingly complicated, brands are addressing change on multiple fronts, such as platforms, devices and content creation.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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brands, agencies, social marketing, online video, tumblr, pinterest, facebook, youtube, content marketing, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

As the media landscape becomes increasingly complicated, brands are addressing change on multiple fronts, such as platforms, devices and content creation.

Sonya Svaty, VP, Group Director of Strategy at PHD, sees her clients as concerned about both engagement metrics and loss of control of their messages on social media. The platform is becoming mainstream and no brand wants to see its dirty laundry put on Facebook’s front lawn. Likes, while not the best way to measure engagement, are straightforward and easy-to-use, making them useful for the short term.

The rapid rise of tablets creates more decisions. At present, Svaty sees brands, for now, effectively piggy-backing on the applications of content vendors, as opposed to developing their own apps. She observes high click-through rates by tablet users, projecting a leveling off as early exploring wanes.

Content marketing can be resource intensive for smaller brands, placing demands on budget, time and internal workflow. Svaty distinguishes between brands for which consumers that have clear content needs and those where consumers are less likely to rely on information that is directly product-related when making a purchase

Delivering Content Marketing to Where Your Customers Are

Content marketing is a developing methodology with a growing choice of channels and ways for consumers to discover, categorize and share content.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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Teal Newland, VP, Group Director of Brand Content at Digitas’ 3rd Act, observes that content marketing is a developing methodology with a growing choice of channels and ways for consumers to discover, categorize and share content. It can be most successful when it both resonates with consumers and is delivered through channels in which they are currently engaged.

Brands may turn to content partners to help them evolve their core messages. Newland cites Delta Airlines partnering with TED to develop conversations about improving travel as part of its Keep Climbing campaign. Content from TED on Delta’s Facebook page offers a way to get consumers into a different mode of thinking and generate suggestions. The collaboration takes the conversations beyond legroom and beverage choices with topics such as human spatial alignment, reaction to colors and how cities are constructed.

Newland discusses the need for brands to invest at the top of the funnel and not just at the attributable click. Ads and content are not mutually exclusive, with content offering a means to amplify ad messages. However, it’s hard for many brands to invest in content and storytelling, as opposed to limiting themselves to activities with a direct drive to sales.

Keeping Consumers from Hitting the Mute Button

How can content marketing engage consumers when they are in control of their media? Interview with John McCarus, from The Third Act unit of Digitas.


The above video interview is from Internet Week in NYC.

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“If you’re a brand, are you going to police or release? Are you going to control or participate?”

John McCarus, SVP, Group Director, Brand Content for The Third Act unit of Digitas, acknowledges that the correct answers are more easily said than done. “Organizations can take a long time to saddle up from legal and cultural standpoints to the real opportunity,” he observes. Yet he does see clients who are addressing this issue starting to see some real success.

Brands, according to McCarus, are being driven to the gates of publishing. They should be thinking about a content strategy encompassing entertainment, information and utility that reaches across paid, owned and earned channels to offer value to consumers where they are.

McCarus suggests that a brand can no more go to Facebook intending to aggregate a big audience without content, than one would invite people over for a big dinner party without a menu.

The Chemistry of Content Marketing

Colin Kinsella, President, North America of Digitas, explores how his agency is serving its clients by making best use of content creation specialists.

The above video interview is from Internet Week in NYC.

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Content marketing requires a nearly perpetual stream of fresh, engaging content that concurrently conveys multiple stories. Recognizing the breadth of talent available in the marketplace, Digitas is turning to content creation specialists to sit at the table with the agency and its brands to create programs that better connect the value of those brands to consumers.

Colin Kinsella, President, North America of Digitas, observes that content marketing is owned media taken to the marketplace to earn the love and sharing of consumers. Determining the content that is most valuable to a brand’s audience is essential to charting how that value is to be delivered in terms of platforms and timing.

Communities are best built where social relationships exist around passion points. “Audience design is the most important thing we do for our clients,” states Kinsella. For example, Real Women of Philadelphia married the brand with celebrity chef Paul Deen to encourage women with a passion for cooking to cook with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and then create and share their own recipes.

Audience design, according to Kinsella, requires building a core, passionate audience with engaging content. Then, at the right time, paid media is added to the mix to accelerate community growth. The overall content stream must speak equally well to established members of the community and newcomers.

The chemistry required for each brand is different and the mindset of the collaborating content creators can help develop the right “formula.” How is success measured? “Sales is it,” says Kinsella. Though there are other parameters, such as consumer feedback, engagement and Likes, “If our clients are not doing well, we are not doing well.”

Going from “In Your Face” to “In Your Brain”

Brian Mayer discusses the University of Phoenix’s transition to content marketing.

The above video interview is from Internet Week in NYC.

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Many marketers are reporting an increasingly hard time with the hard sell. To address this element of the evolving consumer landscape, Vice President Website & Social Media, Brian Mayer, describes University of Phoenix’s transition to content marketing.

Associated by many with its direct response marketing leveraging affiliate channels and heavy display advertising, the institution has been good at delivering advertising when prospective students are specifically searching for online degree programs. Now, it’s attempting to introduce itself to searchers higher up in their consideration set, by providing information about their industries of interest to help inform their career choices.

University of Phoenix is leveraging a community of faculty, alumni and other experienced contributors working on its behalf to provide relevant, valuable information. Rather than the first touchpoint being a display or affiliate ad, it can be information about industries that career seekers are hoping to enter.

According to Mayer, the process of increasing the discovery of this new content combines SEO, content syndication services and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Themed content, such as articles and points of pride for students, is published three to four times a day on Facebook.

In process now, says Mayer, is encapsulating article, blog, video and other content into an online magazine format.