Jordan Evans, EN 30 Under Thirty member and comms manager at Olympia London, reports from The Festival of Marketing.
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend The Festival of Marketing; a Mecca for those of us who whoop rather than wail at the thought of a session called ‘Everything you need to know about GDPR in 20 minutes’.
With an entire stage dedicated to AI and much talk of the new regulation set to change the way we operate, we are, without doubt, on the cusp of a brand new era for marketing. While it may be time to retire the phrase ‘content is king’ (Bill Gates said it 20 years ago, people), getting it right has never been so critical.
As an event prof who specialises in marketing and communications, I am of course not referring to the content seen within a show, but its digital counterpart. The type used to build hype or sell tickets in the lead-up to an event, as well as build brand recognition and maintain momentum between show close and the open of the next.
It’s no surprise to hear that we humans are consuming more content than ever before, but do you know just how much? Matt Gurbutt, creative director at Greenlight Digital did – and the answer is terrifying. Let me set the scene. In the 1920s the average person was consuming two hours of content a day. Fast-forward to 2015 and that number has increased to 11 hours! With a recent report from Yahoo and Enders Analysis indicating that content marketing spend in the UK is set to rise to £349m in 2020, from £125m in 2014, the solution is of course better quality content, not more of it.
No professional is ever actively trying to produce ‘bad content’, so what does ‘better’ actually look like? A few of the Festival of Marketing speakers
had answers for just that question.
Movement is the new filter
Creative director at Impero, Michael Scantlebury, illustrated perfectly why big budgets don’t always equal brand success when it comes to content marketing. Coca-Cola? Around 1.8bn bottles sold a day, but just 1,000 engagements on their last three tweets. Weetabix? Every week 60m boxes sold yet only 182 likes on their most recent Instagram post. DragWorld UK? Launched their first-ever show in 2017 but have double those figures on both platforms.
The difference? Well, it’s just that – being different. There might be nothing wrong with your latest image, in fact, it’s probably very beautiful. It’s just no different to the last three. Throw in a video or gif here and there and watch that engagement grow; movement is captivating. After all, it’s in our biology for brain activity to spike when we see something different or new (Who says marketing isn’t a science?).
Hire the world
From Andy Cockburn, CEO at Mention Me, to Reggie Yates, “authenticity” was the word of the day (well, two days). People add a level of legitimacy to content that cannot be created or bought and user-generated content is something we’re going to be hearing a lot more about.
Take Starbucks, for example. In 2014 they asked consumers to doodle on their iconic white cups and upload photos of them on social media; empowering their customers to be part of the brand’s creative process. Not only did they get a new design for their cup (high-five for saving design costs), but they also created a library of content they otherwise would never have had access to.
Jules Lund, founder of TRIBE and my personal favourite festival speaker (not just because he was the only other Aussie in the room, promise), is taking this idea of user generated content one step further. His platform eliminates the #ad, #spon culture amongst social influencers by enabling brands to pick from content already created, and only pay for what seamlessly fits with their vision and aesthetic.
The logic? If a social influencer is a genuine champion of your brand then they will happily pay for it; if the brand then wants to pay them to use their images, well, that’s a bonus.
Starbucks and TRIBE get it right where others can miss the mark – by giving clear direction. It’s all well and good to ask a visitor to post a picture using a certain hashtag, but what’s the true incentive? And what do you get from it? Of course the point is to engage with your visitors, but also build a content library so good that you can spend much of your valuable content budget on other things.
So, tell your visitors exactly what you want. Better yet, help them do it! The recent Chocolate Show took it upon themselves to champion the footfie (Shoefie?). Whatever it was, it worked. Visitors weren’t just given a hashtag and told to share their pictures. They were given a selection of floor patterns under great lighting in front of a wall of other inspiring examples of photos.
The result was an amazing gallery of fun, high-quality images they will be able to use in the lead-up to next year’s show and beyond.