CAMPAIGNS VS CONTENT

INSIGHTS

Lachlan Ryan

When it comes to a content marketing approach, it seems everyone is doing it or at least trying to work out how to.

Brand marketers are busy the world over trying to squeeze a content strategy into their already busy marketing calendars.

So is the humble campaign still relevant?

The answer is both yes and no and maybe.

Campaigns are still necessary for the brand that has a calendar full of launches, sales, releases or events.

However, more and more, brand communications are taking the evergreen approach and focusing on content that supports the core brand message or story.

Where once a functional brand may have focused on key seasonal sales periods or new range launches, the focus has now turned to building communities or tribes around the brand, which are communicated with consistently, if not constantly.

Increasingly budgets have been diverted away from the transient focus of the campaign and shared more broadly across the digital space, where audiences can be drip-fed the essence of your brand around the clock.

This has been driven by rapid change on the digital front and influenced by cultural desires towards immediacy in everything from information to fashion to food. It has inspired a permission-based approach to marketing where people subscribe to be kept up to the minute and where brands are looked towards as thought and style leaders.

If the rush of the last 5-10 years was for brands to go get their social media puppies; high-quality content has now become the food these brands feed their insatiable and fully-grown social media dogs.

It is just not practical to devise, plan, produce and execute a campaign in this environment every day or even every week.

Content is more agile, responsive, disruptive. The standards that audiences expect from a content-driven approach means the communication can be more authentic in its production values, allowing brands and organisations the ability to respond in the moment to opportunities, cultural trends and events.

The future landscape of communications will continue to fragment into niches. We probably won’t see the death of the traditional campaigns, but rather the integration of them as ‘celebrated moments’ within the cycle of a content strategy.

What would this look like? Think about it like this – every week we go about our normal social life. Mid week may be a catch-up dinner with friends, Friday night its drinks after work and on Sunday it’s lunch at the parents’ place. This rhythm can vary in intensity and depth, but mostly we are strategic and consistent in our activities and interactions, but occasionally spontaneous. This is the content focused approach. It is regular, responsive and a bit more relaxed.

Campaigns will then become more like the anniversaries, birthdays and Christmases of our brand. They’ll be the moments that we’ll give a bit more attention and planning to and maybe even buy a new outfit for.

So how is your brand socialising?