Consumers have come a long way from the era of appointment viewership to sharing and creating content in digital space to now publishing content to garner social equity. Technology has made the omnipresent consumer ape the omnipresent God. Let’s look at this journey and where we are heading. Long gone are the days, which made consumers gaze at a single screen, single channel for the weekly content goodies, when they patiently waited to celebrate moments of shared experience with family. Those days were followed by an era of multiple channels and screens, with fragmentation in entertainment consumption.
With content being served through various screens, the very fabric, which kept the consumers together, was broken into ‘my entertainment’ from ‘our entertainment’. Marketers started to feel the pressure of this approach and started to evolve. No longer was storytelling limited to the TVCs or hefty TV sponsorships.
Branded content became the ‘go‐to strategy’. Marketers started keeping pace with consumer demand for fresh content. Next came another wave of branded content ‐the 'influencer content'. This, combined with the millennial consumer with the power to control the minds of millions with a touch and a click, posed a new challenge for the marketers. This led to a dynamic shift where the consumer has become the creator, publisher and promoter of content, and a part of the daily mini revolutions, judgments and movements through social conversations.
Let’s look at a recent example, which exemplifies the best in class effort by marketers to reach the heart of consumers to build and own community.
Red Bull Media House, which is also one of my favorites:
The reason this brand is leading the way in building a publishing business because they know the power of effective storytelling. They produce, publish, distribute and license high quality, sport and entertainment content in high volumes.
Intel’s iQ an online tech culture magazine
It covers fashion, sports, gaming, health and lifestyle, with the intention of showcasing the technologies, which are changing the world. The content covers exciting and progressive breakthroughs in tech, such as solar powered cars etc.
General Mills – Tablespoon is another interesting hub
Its website is rich in recipes and food ideas. Tablespoon’s priorities seem to be firstly to act as a publisher with considerable freedom, and to provide value for consumers, over than any obvious marketing agenda.
American Express- Open Forum
American Express’ Open Forum is a great resource for small businesses and what makes this hub authentic and reliable is genuine small businesses owners, imparting some of the lessons they’ve learnt.
Clearly from the above examples we can see when everything about the brand’s content, marketing and communication efforts is about its customers and his/her passion points and product itself is secondary to the activities that the customer engages in and cherishes, it’s a big win for the brands.
The landscape of content consumption and consumption media is evolving rapidly. What’s next? Are we future ready? Are we ahead of the curve? Consumer will remain the epicenter of influence and only deeper analyses of data; usage of tech and understanding of consumer insights and journeys will help brands reach the mind and heart of the consumer sphere.
(The author is Head-Content Solutions, Brand New Media, SE Asia)