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Branding opinion

Why brands must act like publishers

It's a fact, most companies don't like change. The uncertainty unnerves shareholders, the instability threatens structures, and the unknown doesn't fill next year's balance sheets. So, naturally the idea of moving from a brand company to a publishing company is not one that sits very comfortably.
But, why have the world's largest organisations gone ahead and actually done this? Coca Cola, Unilever, P&G, American Express, to name but a few, have dedicated huge resource and efforts into becoming publishers.

Well, because they have to. In today's society, according to Yankelovich Research, the average city dweller is exposed to 3000 marketing messages a day. Work it out, that's nearly one every 20 seconds assuming eight hours of sleep (oh the luxury!).

So unless you have Barcelona Football Club's wage bill to throw at a marketing push ($217million in 2011-2012 according to a SportingIntelligence survey), you have to focus on becoming more relevant to your consumers in order to reach them - a better option even if you did have the cash war chest in place.

What does it mean to 'act like publishers'?

William Shakespeare famously said "All the world's a stage", and then proceeded to stipulate the seven ages of man. I'm certain however, that what he meant to say was, "All the world's a stage, and every brand has to play their part on that stage".

Intrinsic to every brand identity, is its unique story. What the brand is about and why consumers should align with and subscribe to it. 'Who', is a very important draw for people when thinking about a brand.

Very simply then, for a brand to become a publisher it needs to start considering and creating content as a regular activity. Not any old content but relevant, quality, wholesome, data driven stuff that consumers are going to love to consume! The most important asset you own as a brand is the relationship with your consumers, not the product you ship. As a publisher, you harness that relationship.

Why is it important, what's the value?

The internet and social media have empowered consumers. They now have a voice. They can express anger and frustration if you treat them badly - if you undersell them or if you act unethically. Very few Facebook pages are clear of consumer anger. But this also gives brands an opportunity.

Used correctly, content provides brands with a tool to create meaningful, emotional and long term connections with consumers. The internet is the only medium of true engagement, but advertisers have yet to harness this power - instead most are opting to merely 'digitise' traditional media.

What's the process?

The idea is that as a publisher, you create content on a regular basis that is relevant to your audience and reflects your brand values and 'public persona'. In this way, you add genuine value to your consumers and engage in conversations with them.

Create content, publish it, track it (after all, everything digital has 100% measurability), respond and engage, see what resonates best, and then publish again with a greater focus.

Turn consumers into a community that sees you as a valuable resource, who in turn become advocates of your brand and spread your good word (and a healthy endorsement) for you - sounds like earned media to me!

What's the next step?

There are two routes you can take. First, is building out content teams internally and getting everyone to think about the publishing efforts. Every organisation is sitting on treasure troves of quality content that's simply waiting to be unlocked. You may need some help in doing this, so you may want to think about bringing in some expertise for guidance.

Secondly, rely on an already built up and experienced content agency to work with on these efforts. This saves enormous costs up front. Look for someone local, who can produce content and content strategy and will be there for the long haul.

Finally, make sure they're someone you can work with - this kind of work needs an extremely close relationship between brand and agency.

Next week we'll outline a case study of a brand turned publisher in spectacular fashion!
    
 

About Athar Naser

Athar Naser is head of Juice Content. He is responsible for content strategy and content marketing across the group as well as for department clients. He brings a wealth of global media and digital experience to the content specialist division of Prime Media Online, as well as to the already rich talent pool at the publisher of South African web portal, iafrica.com. Follow @JuiceContent on Twitter.
terry kurt
Those brand had already established their name since then, unlike those incoming businesses and those in the midst of their operation. Coca Cola, Unilever, P&G, American Express and many more had also suffered from several ups and downs even until now despite they have good business reputation. Yes it is should be right, this brand names are famous yet they indeed need to a act as publishers, because I think it is also the reason to retain their credibility and even adjust more further towards several possibilities and that every company should have to. At the beginning these companies had undergone several management and business start up tips, ideas and prospective. Not to mention, they have also partnered with several marketing and advertising agency in order for them to get notice, publicize and introduce to many consumers as well as their competitors. Then now the story of evolution came in.. these giants company have met their goal and now they have stand to their own foot and ready to tackle every possibility. This is what I want for every business newcomers, getting several idea from seasoned persons or businesses is a must. Many business start up guide are available to use, I remember Alexandra Watkins's business start up book that got from Amazon post, it's really amazing guide, I have been using it and learned many tips from it, just click here if you want to read more about that books.
Posted on 15 May 2014 09:36
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