Raymond Pettit kindly participated in JOBCM academic and industry collaboration co-faciliated by BOBCM’s curator Justin Kirby. He is Vice President of Analytics at comScore and Head of Rentrak Academic Partnership Programme for comScore – USA. He holds a Doctorate in Social Science Research from the University of Illinois. Raymond was at Rentrak prior to their merger with comScore, and before that he served as SVP, Research and Standards at the Advertising Research Foundation, and as VP, Research at Marketshare and Technicolor/Izon Media. He’s authored two books on marketing and advertising research as well as numerous white papers, articles, and conference presentations. He is also highly-skilled in advanced analytics, modeling, and research solutions and services.
Why do you think a Journal of Branded Content Marketing is relevant to practitioners?
As they search for new ways to serve advertisers and brands beyond traditional media exposure and advertising, practitioners are actively creating, selling, and activating branded content campaigns. But there is little measurement guidance and most academic research is not reaching them. Even commercially there is little ‘out there’, because everyone seems transfixed on standard advertising and traditional ways to expose the brand. The Journal can become the nexus of a growing practitioner ‘learning’ need and also a formal way for academics to contribute their expertise in a way that validates their work in an academic sense. So both groups will benefit from this synergy.
What are you expecting to get out of it?
Personally, I am thrilled at the opportunity to be involved at the birth of this journal. I hope to contribute in a leadership capacity, research capacity, and event participation capacity.
Why do you think a conceptualization of Branded Content Marketing is relevant and how would you try to do it?
In the arena of marketing, science and art come together to advance the best possible approaches to reaching and influencing consumers/customers about products, services, and at a fundamental level, brands. Brand Content is arising from many disparate directions, due to smart people realizing that there is more than advertising to advance a brand’s objectives. As a result of this disparity, there is a lack of consensus around the concept. Without at very least a comprehensive definition of Branded Content Marketing, it will be difficult to infuse it in creative, planning, strategic, and buying processes or systems used in the world of media. It will continue to be a non-standardized, perhaps one-off creative exercise that does not fully unpack the potential of branded content as a critical part of the marketing/media mix. I believe the Journal can start the discussion and bring both practitioner and academic together to solve the challenge. And point the way to the future.
Is there any knowledge gap academics might have in understanding how branded content marketing works?
In general, a gross generalization, I feel that academics might not be fully aware of all the creative ‘things’ going on in practice. Most of it is done in a vacuum, without any measurement or research pillars, but just driven by creativity, cleverness, and logic/common sense.
Where do you think are the biggest (knowledge) gaps in academia when understanding branded content consumers and their behavior?
The biggest gap, I believe, is in realizing and seeing the many flavors: branded entertainment, branded content, custom creative content, vignettes, native advertising, implicit brand integrations, incidental branding moments, etc. etc. etc. As the concept becomes better crystallized, I do believe academics can start to contribute better original thinking and ideas instead of relying on one off traditional research, or meta-analysis of research areas that surround this whole phenomenon (emotion, psychology, perception, etc.)
Have you worked with / collaborated with academics and if so, then on what and how?
Yes, two published studies and numerous unpublished cases of combining different research methodologies to flesh out the concept of branded content and determine the unique impact and success of the executions.
What would you like to collaborate on with academics in Branded Content Marketing in the future?
I believe there is a research toolbox that can be developed that will best serve the multivariate nature of branded content marketing, and can be customized to the unique factors and elements that distinguish it from standard brand exposure in advertisements. I would like to continue to work and build empirical generalizations that we can develop together that would make use of substantive academic research to inform and support commercial campaigns and activations.
What outcomes/KPIs/performance of branded content marketing do we need to investigate/learn more about?
I feel that in the commercial realm that comScore is doing some very interesting things, for the US market. But looking beyond that, the whole area of neuroscience (Dr. Paul Bolls at Texas Tech U in the US) and implicit association testing (from psychology, a leading practitioner in US is Joel Weinberger) appears to be a fertile place to explore new and intriguing and important insights. Finally, the arena of machine learning content recognition is far from being a useful adjunct to branded content measurement; however, it does appear to have potential, in particular as cognitive computing, adaptive agents, and machine learning ‘recognition’ of brands, logos, etc. emerge; this seems like an area we should be studying.