I was in the middle of a client call last week when the recent issue of Marketing magazine landed on my desk. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they’d dedicated their cover story to custom content.
For those of us who have been committed to custom content for some time, it was welcome acknowledgement. While we’ve anticipated the momentum that is building in the category, this feature is a solid indication that the broader marketing industry is beginning to pay attention.
Why now? Supply and demand. Clients and marketers alike are seeking new ways to build a more natural connection with their consumers, and to make their brand appear more authentic. Custom publishing, branded content, branded storytelling—whatever you call it, clients want it.
As traditional agencies, publishers and newspapers enter the mix, the lines are definitely beginning to blur. Newspapers and magazines have media distribution channels. Traditional agencies own the brand strategy.
We here at Totem find ourselves with the best of both worlds.
Creating engaging, meaningful and results-driving content requires more than client appetite, or marketing spend to do it well. The onus is on content partners like us to provide strategic guidance to help clients define the role of content relative to their other marketing strategies. Where (and how) does it fit within their communications plans? How can we create an “authentic” content experience? How do we measure its effectiveness?
Creating meaningful bonds between brand and consumer requires a marriage of marketing discipline and good storytelling, and it takes time and commitment to develop the right approach, including the right tools and processes to ensure success in this space.
At the end of the day, people love a good story and they’ll seek one out, branded or not. And at Totem, there’s a good story at the heart of everything we do.