The need for dedicated academic journal

- in ARTICLES, BOBCM Global 2015, FEATURES, Research & Measurement
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Feedback from over 100 industry professionals around the globe solicited for the 2015 Global Edition of Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM) suggests that content-based approaches are not only at the heart of every marketing strategy, but are arguably what marketing now is and how it is done as brands and their agency partners respond to the changing media landscape and how it’s being consumed.

Various valuations of the market range from hundreds of mil- lions to hundreds of billions of dollars, including PQ Media’s prediction that US$313bn will be spent globally on content-based marketing by the end of the decade. Other indicators, such as News Group’s acquisition of the global video ad platform Unruly for US$176 million, support the growing importance being placed by brands and media owners on not only the creation of brand-funded content, but how it is now delivered in order to reach increasingly fractured audiences.

New business models are emerging as the marketing industry is going through rapid transformation, but there is still a lot of confusion amongst both clients and their agency partners about what branded content marketing is and whether it’s different from advertising and other related content marketing-based approaches, as well as how it is done with and for whom, why, when and where.

Academically, there’s now a number of post-graduate courses available around the globe that focus on branded content, and even a Content Marketing University being offered by the Content Marketing Institute (albeit unaccredited as yet). But there’s still no accepted academic definition of branded content or even agreement about how to conceptualise it, which would be a first step towards establishing it as key marketing (communications) discipline that can be both taught and researched more formally. This might explain the difficulty academics are facing when trying to get their related work published in the more prestigious journals and why little research has been published so far.

That’s why I’ve teamed up with Academic Researcher Sophie Berke who has contributed to the BOBCM Series. We think there is a need for a dedicated journal that focuses on branded and other content marketing approaches, and have have asked leading academics and practitioners from around the world to help develop its initial aims and objectives.

You can read more about this academic and industry collaboration we’re facilitating here, but I have included our original ideas about the collaborations aims and scope here:


  1. Publish high quality academic research with international contributions.
  2. Create impact by ensuring contributions are relevant and grounded.
  3. Encourage rigorously executed empirical research in branded content marketing
  4. Facilitate collaboration and information exchange between academics and practitioners.
  5. Highlight under explored research and areas not yet recognised as significant.
  6. Provide robust evidence on the efficacy of branded content marketing approaches.
  7. Facilitate collaborative curriculum development to foster growth in teaching and research.

Our primary aim is to publish an international high quality academic journal focusing on branded content and content market- ing in order to answer an important gap in published peer reviewed research. We plan to create impact by not just recruiting a credible editorial board that attracts quality contributions, but also by ensuring that the research is relevant to the industry as it will be grounded in practice.

In order to join the dots between theory and practice, we are inviting leading practitioners to join the advisory board to provide feedback on research, and even complement the peer review process – particularly those that have a foot in academia and/or are already collaborating on academic research.

Two possible ways we can help facilitate collaboration and infor- mation exchange between academics and practitioners in the field, include:

  • Dissemination of academic research in more accessible for- mats to the 350,000 industry professionals worldwide that the Best of Branded Content Marketing (BOBCM) series now reaches through association partners.
  • Regularly canvas practitioners about emerging trends and strategic considerations and share insights. The later can not only help academics keep abreast of the rapidly changing in- dustry, but also identify new research, collaboration and even funding opportunities.

We specifically want to encourage and help highlight research in those related areas that have until now been under explored – particularly those that are focused on providing robust evi- dence for the use of Branded Content Marketing approaches.

With Branded Content Marketing involving all project phases from development, to production, communication, distribution and measurement, it also represents a touchpoint of various key activities as creativity, management, design and strategy. The JOBCM therefore encourages submissions from any rele:ant discipline, such as

  • Marketing
  • Media Management
  • Communication
  • Journalism
  • Design
  • Consumer Behaviour
  • Psychology

Academic contributions will be expected to follow the standards of a scholarly journal and be peer reviewed. We’d envisage these submissions to represent between 80-90% of what gets published, but also plan to engage industry professionals from various domains such as Advertising, Entertainment and the Research Community with more editorial-style contributions.


About the author

Justin Kirby is a consultant, educator and thought leader with a 20+ year career in industry as a digital strategist, producer and entrepreneur. He chairs and speaks at conferences around the globe, judge industry awards, and advise brands and agencies.