CMW Conference Tackles Role of Content and Storytelling in Integrated B2C

In today’s media landscape, leading consumer brands structure their storytelling within a myriad of choices: online, mobile, social, tablets and, yes, even print. At the 2011 Content Marketing World (CMW) conference in Cleveland, Simon Kelly, COO of Story Worldwide, emphasized that brands themselves must become publishers.

“Every publishing outlet out there has a unique editorial platform, and each and every brand needs to figure out what its own unique storytelling point is, and where it has the authority to authentically publish content," Kelly said.

Moving Away From Campaigns

At Story Worldwide, Kelly advises clients to adapt a mindset of continuous content publishing. “Don't think in campaign terms—once you start with engagement it has to continue,” Kelly said. Traditionally, a brand would have a finite six-month paid campaign, but, with earned media, brands must continue to build and grow with customers. “The business of content marketing is to create a customer that creates a customer—driving media share up while driving cost down.”

Michael Weiss, a 15-year digital agency veteran and CEO of Web agency Figure 18, said that while there will likely always be traditional start-and-stop campaigns, brands themselves live forever. “Brands need to repurpose their content in order to continue two-way messaging and engagement,” Weiss said.

For B2C organizations, keeping a content inventory is key. “There's often this fear among organizations that they don’t have enough content,” Weiss said. “However, most organizations typically do have existing content—it just needs to be scoured and repackaged." Whether it’s turning a white paper into a podcast, nearly all content can be recycled and made anew.

Ellen Moreau, VP of marketing communications at Sherwin-Williams, said that the SW brand focuses on storytelling to stay top-of-mind, even when people aren't ready for taking on a painting project. “People get their information from a lot of places, so we work in a lot of mediums,” Moreau said. “Since people like to hear others’ authentic stories, we reach out to bloggers and provide them with genuine experiences with Sherwin-Williams to tell their story.”

In sharing newly created content, Kelly said that brands must publish their stories through different channels, but not blindly. "Don't think of each channel as a silo, but instead how each can serve as a touch point in your target audience's journey," he said.





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