Thursday, March 19, 2009
Content: what role should a brand play?
On Wednesday, I was part of a That's Advertainment panel discussion at AIMIA's V21 conference in Melbourne. I have to admit to really enjoying the experience of tossing around thoughts with three smart folks in Christy Dena (cross media storyteller and University of Sydney PHD student), Matt Houltham (Publicis Digital) and Frankie Ralston-Good (Naked's Melbourne MD). I thought it was a pretty vibrant discussion that happily bounced us around the brand entertainment space.
One thing that really resonated with me was an analogy Frankie used to illustrate the different ways that brands can utilise content to engage audiences. She argued that we're still applying old world thinking to new ways of doing things without necessarily "understanding that eco system and the role a brand should (versus could) play in that scenario".
Here is an excerpt from thoughts Frankie shared at the conference (inspired by a previous conversation she had with Brett Rolfe)
What we actually need to do is to think in different ways about brands and our interactions with people. As an example, imagine our consumers as a group of mates sitting around a camp fire sharing ghost stories. As a brand, how do you get involved? Are you a newcomer that sits down and joins the conversation? The fire that keeps everyone warm? Perhaps even the space in which everyone sits? Are you actually the story that is being shared? Or could you be the memory of the night's events that gets passed around and repeated in the days that follow?
If we don't develop new ways of looking at content, its creation, its consumption and distribution we will continue with a hit or miss approach. We know how badly things can go when brands and their advisors pick the wrong place to be. And if I may return to my camp fire, we should always consider the understandings and beliefs consumers currently have about us before we do anything. If a stranger turns up in the middle of a wood, and starts talking randomly about ghosts we are more likely to reach for a weapon than invite them into our tent.
p.s Thanks to Debra, Karla and Kylie from Ish Media for putting together an entertaining panel and awesome video presentation