BOBCM 2015: Nick Cohen at MediaCom

- in BOBCM Report 2015, Insight Series, RESPONSES

The 2015 Global Edition of BOBCM is being supported by the IPAISBAMarketing SocietyPRCAIAB UKAPA and Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA), and to help shape what we feature and why we have been asking industry experts from around the globe the questions below for a new report, and you can see their reponses to date here.

Nick Cohen, Managing Partner & Head of Content at MediaCom, and you can see his input below:

What is branded content, and how is it is different from branded entertainment, content marketing and other related approaches like native advertising? 

And more specifically,

What is the problem that content-based marketing approaches solve for business, and is this different from advertising?

At MediaCom we define ‘content’ (from a marketing perspective) as any communications a consumer chooses to engage with, as opposed to the interruptive model of advertising.

To me the terms ‘branded content’, ‘branded entertainment’ and ‘content marketing’ are broadly interchangeable, but if forced to define them as being distinct I would say that ‘Branded entertainment’ generally implies video, film or live events, whereas ‘branded content’ or ‘content marketing’ can encompass any sort of format or media.

‘Native Advertising’ is slightly different, as for us that generally implies a format: a unit that sits on a publisher site that looks and feels similar to the editorial of the site, but includes sponsored or brand authored content. (It’s still an ambiguous term though that does cause some confusion with clients.

It’s not a ‘one size fits all’. Content can play a role in meeting all sorts of marketing challenges, whether that’s creating awareness, changing brand perceptions, driving a response or building customer relationships. The key is to first explore the marketing challenge a client has and then ascertain what role(s) content could play, rather than starting with content and reverse engineering a role for it.

It is distinct from advertising because advertising is fundamentally interruptive – it’s about getting someone’s attention and making your sell. Content is more subtle and is about aligning your brand with what your audience cares about. It’s much closer to the role of sponsorship (and indeed has some overlap).

About the author

Justin Kirby is a strategist, writer, and speaker, and is a Lecturer on both the BA (Hons) and MA Advertising courses at London College of Communication. Justin has a 20+ year career in industry as a digital strategist, producer and entrepreneur. He’s been writing about the impact of interactive technologies on business and marketing since the early 90s, and his books include ‘Connected Marketing: the viral, buzz and word of mouth revolution (2005) and the Best of Branded Content Marketing’ (BOBCM) series he conceived and has been curating since 2013. Justin also chairs and speaks at conferences around the globe, judges awards, and consults brands and agencies.