Last week I attended the annual Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned (PESO) Principles PR Week Conference in New York City. The impact of branded content was the theme of the day. When lines are blurred, the result can be exciting and down-right scary (Robin and Miley, I rest my case).
What does it mean for the PR profession as we know it, whose foundation rests on the ability to generate earned media, when we increasingly find ourselves navigating the murky paid waters of brand integrations? What does it mean for the traditional ad sales guy when companies no long have ad dollars to spend, but marketing budgets having increasing room for branded content?
In the beginning, no one internally wanted to “own” social media – that’s not MY job. Now, with the embedment of branded content in the PR toolbox, we might as well own it.
As the traditional publishing industry continues to dwindle and talented writers on the rise in the market, the time is ripe for brands to invest in producing original content. Retailers are becoming publishers, and brands are becoming lifestyles.
Ashley Brown’s success with the Coca-Cola Journey site is just one example that speaks volumes. This lifestyle page has quickly become beloved by brand enthusiasts, both satiating and inspiring their palate; to the point that Coca-Cola dissolved its corporate original homepage.
We live integrated lives; our smart phones allow us this luxury. We can shop while watching TV and eat while posting a review of the restaurant we’re at. The best brands offer a consistent experience, worldwide, through every channel from in-store to online to mobile.
It’s key to remain authentic to your brand’s voice as Coca-Cola learned the hard way. Readers of their Journey page didn’t want hard-hitting news stories full of doom and gloom. Coca-Cola is a happy, family brand and the most popular piece of content on their site to date is a recipe for Coca-Cola cake. Not surprising, right?!
But when a company pays for branded content where does ad sales leave off and editorial begin? Clearly both need to be integrated to deliver on the product sold and yet this blurs the most sacred line of publishing. VP and deputy head of strategy at News Corporation Raju Narisetti confessed that this issue and the rapid adoption of mobile content consumption are what keep him up at night. Newsrooms simply aren’t’ equipped today to handle this.
According to EVP and CMO of Target, Jeff Jones:
Mobile will disrupt the internet the way the internet disrupted business.
Seems that ad sales, marketing, newsrooms and PR professionals will all be affected by the adoption of branded content. How are these blurred lines affecting your marketing today?