Consumers resist branded content

22 February 2013

LONDON: Brands are investing heavily in content marketing but failing to adequately engage UK consumers with their output, according to leading executives.

That was the argument put forward by John Webb, international cloud marketing director at Rackspace, the web hosting brand, when he addressed an event hosted by the British Interactive Media Association.

He said that content marketing was becoming "diluted" in quality, and warned that marketing was in danger of being taken over by engineers and developers.

To remedy this, he suggested hiring more former journalists who have been trained to find stories that would resonate with the target audience.

Ron Peterson, director of social at AKQA, the digital services company, added that the best content was "all about having a strong strategic thought process" and not simply repurposing a TV ad for YouTube.

And Dan Nasr, Twitter UK head of agency sales, pointed to sports brands such as DC shoes and Billabong as delivering content with a low budget but that is still widely shared by consumers.

The role of brands in content creation was highlighted at the International Content Marketing Summit last year. Patrick Fuller, CEO of the Content Marketing Association, said that quarter of all media consumed consumed is now produced by brands.

Those present at that event overwhelmingly felt that storytelling was the key strength of the content marketing industry, since people remember stories.

Ron Peterson's views found an echo in Arjun Basu of custom publisher Spafax, who stressed to the summit that brands are telling stories for a reason, for business objectives.

Content is a function of context and strategy, he said, otherwise it's just "stuff" people see but don't remember.

Data sourced from Marketing Week/Warc; additional content by Warc staff