Brand content marketing The challenges and pitfalls

Today brands are expected to provide relevant, personalized and timely content through several channels. The goal is to engage customers like never before. Aligning the company’s ’personality’ and maintaining a consistent and credible voice across online and offline customer experiences are an ongoing challenge. Social media as a real-time marketing channel is highly favored and it has demonstrated impactful results.

According to Nielsen, 41 percent of tablet users and 38 percent of smartphone owners in the U.S. use their device when watching TV. Nielsen’s research found that users were active on social media, checked email, looked at sport game scores, searched for information related to the TV show they were watching, checked featured products’ information, and more while they watching TV programs. The potential of engaging consumers everywhere and anywhere has been on the radar of marketing professionals where advertising and promotions play an increasingly bigger role.

Recent success stories point to Oreo’s Super Bowl 2015 blackout tweet “You can still dunk in the dark.” Oreo’s Super Bowl ad called patrons and viewers to action and invited them to follow the company on Instagram. As a result, Oren’s followers grew from 2,000 to 34,000 in five hours during the game. While social marketing can become a success story for businesses, it can also backfire. Brand experts point out that the reaction to trending topics should not be ad-hoc attempts, as it can often cause more damage than good. When campaign messaging and strategic content are authentic, relevant to the brand, and don’t come across as an eleventh-hour grasp – attempts have a greater chance to be successful.

It’s a good lesson to build into the brand strategy a plan of reaction when something ‘goes wrong’. We recently seen a backlash on Starbucks diversity campaign and the poor way it was originally planned and executed. Common sense advice: Prepare a plan A of action ahead of time. And, yes, do you also have a plan B?

Any pitfalls to be aware of?

Be watchful of commercializing content.
Social media viral effect – companies need to be aware that in our highly social culture, messages can spread instantly and brands need to be careful with maintaining their voice.
Being authentic promotes trust; credibility can be shuttered easily.
What you convey about your competitors and how you deal with them can have consequences.
Get feedback from all the personnel or departments that are involved in defining and executing the brand, at all levels.
The world changes all the time: markets evolve, new information presents itself, or data analytics tools give new insights. Learn and adjust as needed.
Aligning of all the content creators in the company is a foundation for keeping one voice. Take a team approach, educate and collaborate with marketing and the communication teams, engage the brand content staff, the product content producers and the company’s bloggers to keep the brand or product ‘character’.

Brand content should have the following key tenets: When engaging with customers be caring, innovative, creative, empathetic, and understand their needs.

What else can a brand do to provide stronger customer experiences?

Improve engagement by valuing customers’ feedback and actually listen to them; Keeping an open line of communication is key
Nurture followers, respond to customer questions, follow up with issues, and avoid alienation.
Be tuned-in to building trust; enable opportunities to improve service and optimize operations.
One more benefit: customer feedback also allows the company to plan better the supply-chain and improve its overall services.
For example, let’s look at General Electric digital marketing efforts. General Electric (GE) is a multinational company that operates in areas such as energy, health and home, transportation and finance. GE was recognized in the “Top 25 Top Most Influential Content Marketing Brands, 2014”.
General Electric was able to passionately communicate science and technology content utilizing social media channels and make content interesting, engaging and exciting with outstanding photography and delivery. GE’s Facebook account has almost 1,315,000 likes.

Ready to nominate?
Mashable.com is seeking submissions to Mashies – an annual awards program showcasing outstanding digital work in marketing, advertising and social. Deadline is June 5, 2015 and late entry deadline is June 12. Entries are judged on quality and creativity of work, innovative use of media, engagement, strategy, and effectiveness of the campaign. Campaigns entered must have been completed between May 2014 and May 2015. Entries are open to anyone around the world.

There are a number of categories in each of the following:
– DIGITAL MARKETING

Best Real-Time Marketing
Best Public Service Announcement
Most Innovative Use of Traditional Digital Marketing
Best Content Marketing
Best Social Media Campaign
Best Global Campaign
Best Use of Mobile
– VIDEO AND MULTIMEDIA (several)
– SOCIAL MEDIA (several)
– PUBLIC RELATIONS (several)
– OVERALL AWARDS?

For more information: http://mashable.com/mashies/