Content is king for brands

11 October 2011

NEW YORK: Brand owners such as Kraft, General Electric and Coca-Cola are placing an emphasis on strong creative ideas and original content to engage customers across media channels.

Kraft, the US food group, has based its recent approach to marketing on an understanding that the way consumers treat information is changing rapidly as a result of new technologies and digital services.

"Now, if people don't like what they see or what's being communicated, they move on," Dana Anderson, the company's SVP, marketing strategy and communication, told Forbes.

To deliver innovative marketing materials like the Jell-O cube iPhone app - which has secured almost 200,000 downloads in only two weeks - Kraft has tapped many smaller agencies, and built its own in-house account planning team.

"It can't be a one-way street," said Anderson. "You can't just expect the agencies alone to do their part. We had to become their best client partner for the collaboration to become successful."

Elsewhere, General Electric, the conglomerate, has embraced a variety of digital tools, ranging from highly tailored marketing campaigns to uploading video and holding contests encouraging open innovation.

Beth Comstock, GE's CMO, argued the fragmented media space provided opportunities and obstacles for marketers who were seeking to engage their target audience.

"You've got a good idea, you've got good content, you can break through. But it's never been harder to break through because there's such a sea of competition and other people doing it," she said.

"The good news is you don't need a lot of money to break through, you need good ideas," she added. "So good content still wins."

Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, uses the concept of "liquid and linked content" to explain its thinking in this area, combining big ideas which are simple, premised on deep insights that transfer easily between different media.

"Our creative is not work just for the sake of creativity," Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca-Cola's VP, global advertising strategy and content excellence, said in a presentation covered in full by Warc.

"When [ideas] are linked to our various business objectives, they help us earn a disproportionate share of market … Branded stories must provoke conversation."

Data sourced from Forbes/; additional content by Warc staff Warc