As content gains more importance in any marketing plan eyeing business outcomes, some themes can assist in creating the most effective campaigns. Warc has attempted to articulate these drawing from the winners of the Effective Content Strategy category of this year’s international Warc Awards.
“Despite the stumbling blocks in encouraging advertisers to experiment with new content formats and try something that perhaps doesn’t look like advertising of old, there is a palpable enthusiasm for content. Content is starting to take a more central role in communications strategies that recognize its strengths and its power to connect,” said Warc’s Managing Editor, Case Studies, Lucy Aitken.
Following Warc’s analysis of the metadata of the entries, together with an entrants’ survey and contributions from the judging panel chaired by John Dokes, Global Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager, AccuWeather New York, four key themes have been identified around Effective Content Strategy:
Humor: An Effective Content Strategy
Emotion and humor were the creative strategies of nearly a third (32%) of shortlisted papers in the Effective Content Strategy category at this year’s Warc Awards.
The Grand Prix winner, Coca-Cola’s Hijacking the African Cup by FP7/CAIRO, showed how emotion and humor could successfully engage audiences, as did Whiskas’ Kitten Kollege by AMV BBDO and Malaysian telco Maxis’ 4G Films by Ensemble Worldwide and Initiative Malaysia.
“Creating emotion is what brands have to do today. Make them laugh and you’ll encourage them to share new cultural references,” said Jury member Lennie Stern, Head of Creative and Entertainment Strategies, BETC Paris.
Content That Creates A Point Of Difference
Telcos, particularly those in the MENA region, where countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia boast some of the highest smartphone penetration in the world, are increasingly dependent on content marketing to help differentiate in a highly commoditized sector.
There are lessons here for marketers in sectors such as financial services where differentiation remains one of the biggest challenges.
“Showing is better than telling to get into consumers’ hands and hearts. In a sea of sameness, littered by the debris of countless boastful claims, content makes impressive waves and ripples that last,” said Daniel Shepherd, Director, Digital Planning, PHD UAE.
Content Must Scale Up For Full Potential
In a survey by Warc asking entrants into the Effective Content Strategy category whether their clients will be investing in more branded content in the future, 89 percent agreed that they would. Given that brands are committing more to the benefits of content, budgets need to grow to ensure that it can be consistent over time and deliver on marketing objectives.
“Scaling, and scaling hard behind proven success, is the new business practice. Now content is growing up and finding ‘the power of ideas’. So, let’s make sure we have ‘the power of media’ to drive them,” added Judge Nick Kendall, Founding Partner, Broken, Electric Glue and The Garage Soho.
Content That Engages New Audiences
Nearly half (44%) of entrants surveyed by Warc cited new customer acquisition as a key objective of their content marketing. And many winning campaigns successfully reached new audiences.
Emirates NBD’s ‘Dear Younger Me’ by Momentum Egypt increased youth acquisitions through branded content that engaged emotionally with Egypt’s under-25s.
Meanwhile, US dating app Hinge by the Studio repositioned itself as a relationship app through an animated film, inviting people to Escape the Dating Apocalypse and doubled its user base.
Jury member Aliya Hasan, Head of Strategy, Vizeum Australia, commented, “Content can provide an accessible platform for new audiences to experience brands that might have been previously unfamiliar. It can often be more trusted and disarming than traditional advertising. Put simply, content done well, does well. It can truly be a powerful weapon in a marketer’s arsenal when wielded skillfully.”