According to Retail Research some 250 retail brands have gone out of business in the last five years. These kinds of statistics are enough to sharpen the focus of any business owner and have contributed to the ongoing need to find new and innovative ways to reach consumers. Brand marketing has been embedded as a channel through which to do this for decades – essentially this is the perception created about the product, the way a business wants its products to be seen by consumers and the promise that it makes through its branding messages. Innocent Smoothies are an excellent example of this. Content marketing is a much more recent development, driving customer action via the creation and distribution of consistent, valuable and relevant content. Take a peek at how Red Bull does this ‘to the extreme’.
Whilst there has been plenty of discussion as to whether content marketing has taken over from branding and brand marketing, in many ways one is simply an extension of the other. We have long been using branding messages to create expectations in the minds of customers and via content marketing we are essentially asking customers to action these expectations. It’s not just about a call to action to buy a product or service but also to talk about a brand, to generate third party content about it based on opinions or experiences and to publish that content.
The key to content management for businesses is to create first hand content that is worth sharing – that consumers want to pass on, so that branding messages are carried far and wide via genuinely useful, valuable content. From press releases, to infographics, webinars to images, blogs to social media, there’s an enormous range of options when it comes to choosing content to create – the most important element is figuring out which of these content types will gain the most attention from the target market of consumers and which is the most likely to be shared. The real expertise is in being able to shape content that carries the branding messages of a business, without getting lost in marketing speak and spiel, which is a sure fire way to turn consumers off, both from reading and from sharing.
So, as the marketing world continues to change, clearly brand marketing is required to evolve, but it is not being lost altogether. Smart businesses are looking to take the lessons learned from brand marketing and combine them with content marketing skills – the results can be incredibly effective.