Brand journalism: Brand narrative

Dayna Dion
Ogilvy & Mather

Brands need to embrace brand journalism and own the information space around their products while daring to be brave with their storytelling, as companies such as Ford and Domino's Pizza have demonstrated.

Brand journalism continues to make headlines. In the past year, it has been dubbed 'the new PR', 'one of the most innovative forms of content marketing', and 'an advertising trend destined to shake up 100 years of journalism'. But the concept remains somewhat elusive, despite the term being coined nearly a decade ago by former McDonald's CMO, Larry Light. Brand journalism has been used synonymously with corporate reporting, non-fiction advertising, real-time marketing and public relations, all of which connote very different things about what it is and how it's practiced. 'Realtime marketing' would suggest setting up a CNN-style, 24-hour newsroom. 'Corporate reporting' sounds like it involves some kind of audit. Non-fiction advertising simply suggests telling the truth, and isn't that what brands are supposed to do anyway? It's no wonder 'brand journalism' elicits head scratches, even from marketing folk.