As a journalist and marketer Niki, with 20 years’ branded content experience and as a frequent media commentator she brings her skills to the new emerging world of branded content and has also worked with brands which include HSBC, Zurich and RAC.
Q: Why is now a relevant time to be launching these awards?
Niki: Client spend is increasing in paid as they can see clear ROI and brand-building plus through content marketing, the creative solutions are themselves interesting and exciting.
Q: What is different about these awards?
Niki: These awards capture the momentum and vibrancy in global media. They will create a showcase of world-leading examples and innovation.
Q: Are content-driven communications, customised content, native advertising, sponsored content, brand journalism, owned media and branded content the same thing?
Niki: No. Put simply, content marketing, like paid media, is a science and an art with many areas of specialism. Content driven communications or branded content is insight-driven, strategic… planned pieces that have at their heart an authenticity in storytelling. Brand journalists are the people that craft it. Native and sponsored are both ways to amplify and monetise content.
Q: What does good native content look like?
Niki: It feels right and true for both the brand and in its connection to the audience. A good example of what it looks like can be seen here with the RAC’s online magazine.
Q: Why should brands use native content – what is it best suited to achieve?
Niki: Native solutions are an elegant way to amplify good content. It works well where there is a healthy, specialised inventory and a natural fit between the publisher and branded content. I’m seeing some real added value to the audience experience in enterprise b2b and c-suite targeting.
Q: Why are consumers embracing branded content?
Niki: Consumers naturally turn to brands for expertise – there’s nothing new there. What they appreciate is content that clearly has value and relevance to their lives and to their curiosity.
Q: Are there any pitfalls to avoid in content-driven marketing?
Niki: Many. But you can avoid most of them by ensuring your senior counsel is with agencies that are pure play content agencies with a credible team of brand journalists in-house.
Q: How do you measure the impact of content-driven communications?
Niki: We have developed a fusion model that captures brand impact, traffic, value and influence. There’s no single product that can do this, it’s intensive measurement by specialists.
Q: What are the key differences in planning a ‘multi-national’ (different campaigns for different countries) versus ‘international’ campaign? (one campaign that works across several countries)?
Niki: For global campaigns the brand story has to be the absolute core. There is a tendency to use more local tactical approaches so it’s best to work through these in the planning phases and use brand journalists to create the outline narrative first. Localisation is a fine art but is easier if there is a shared narrative.