Brand publishing treads a fine line in a content-heavy, time-pressed media environment, and marketers need to think carefully about where and how they tell stories that will most effectively attract consumers’ attention, a publisher advises.

On a spectrum with journalism at one end and advertising at the other, and culture, brand and product in between, the “sweet spot” lies where culture and brand intersect, according to Rens Verweij, Head of Innovation at VICE Benelux.

Speaking at the recent Digital Marketing World Forum in Amsterdam, he admitted that VICE has in the past been guilty of leaning too far towards straightforward journalism and making content that didn’t reference the brand.

Go too far the other way and you end up with performance marketing, where brand and product coincide, he said. And while performance is important for a content strategist, it is a different skill and discipline and should be thought about differently, he added.

VICE’s starting point therefore is to assess where a brand is on this spectrum. “We see where we are and apply the right metrics.” (For more, read WARC’s report: VICE’s currency for measuring impact across channels.)

For, for example, the brief to Virtue, VICE’s agency, was to build a “love brand”, and to spur demand through content.

The idea was to articulate the idea of travel through loves rather than destinations, using people’s interests as a springboard for a story.

In Booking Loves, one such story captured a sports photographer who wanted to ski in the northernmost destination in the world (the north of Finland); another took two poets to see the Louvre in Paris; in a third, two chefs who ran a hip ramen restaurant in Amsterdam went to Tokyo to the most highly regarded ramen restaurant in the city.

“Begin with the story, not the content,” Verweij counselled. He also recommended hypothesising multiple storylines in order to understand what each will try to achieve, before matching each storyline to a format or medium and applying the relevant metrics.

Ultimately, he said, time is the most valuable metric, and measuring time per engaged second can be a useful currency for clients.

Sourced from WARC