During lockdowns there has been a voracious appetite for good content; a new WARC report shows how a well thought-out content strategy can pay off for brands.

WARC’s 2020 Content Strategy Report, based on analysis of the winning entries to the Effective Content Strategy category of the 2020 WARC Awards, provides insights and implications for advertisers, agencies and media owners.

The 2020 Effective Content Strategy Report identifies three key themes:

Content should aim to be part of culture

Considering different content formats that can be cultural properties in their own right was a popular approach among this year’s winners, which included a love song, a feature film and a podcast series.

“The beauty of content is that it doesn’t have to feel like an ad,” says James Tucker, Senior Strategist, Colenso BBDO, and part of the team behind this year’s Grand Prix-winning DB Export campaign.

“It’s not confined to specific formats and length. The world always needs great content and sometimes that content can be advertising. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.”

Content can drive behaviour change

As content can build emotional connections with audiences, it can be a powerful way to shift entrenched behaviours. At a time when behaviour change programmes around mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing have been rapidly implemented, lessons from this year’s winners about using content to drive behaviour change are especially pertinent.

Jury member Valerie Pinto, Chief Executive Officer, Weber Shandwick, India, advises: “Given these uncertain times, content strategy will become integral to more brands because it will be more important to connect with audiences through relevant content led by an emotional approach. The pandemic is an opportunity for us to convert challenges into advantages, to think freely, to open our minds to new ideas, and to take decisive action faster than ever before.”

Considering context benefits content strategies

A deep understanding of context can play a key role in making a content strategy more effective. This could entail a range of approaches, such as a smart partnership or hijacking a relevant media space. As lives become more screen-based and marketing budgets skew more towards digital platforms, identifying new ways for content and context to work symbiotically will become increasingly important.

“Improving consumers’ interactions with a brand is a continuous job of testing and learning that goes hand-in-hand with content development,” observes Judge Diana Lopes, Former Strategy Director, AMV BBDO. “It isn’t called consumer journey by accident: it has a direction, with a beginning, a middle and an end. And understanding context makes it far more likely for our stories to have the happy endings we seek.”

The 2020 Effective Content Strategy Report is available to WARC subscribers on warc.com and includes in-depth chapter analysis of the key themes, thought-leadership commentary from industry experts and members of the judging panel, summaries of case studies and a breakdown of different models of successful content strategies.

Next year’s WARC Awards will launch in October 2020. Free to enter, there is a $40,000 prize fund for the winning papers. View here for more information.

Sourced from WARC