All That Matters 2017: What brands must do to succeed in the ‘content revolution’
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All That Matters 2017: What brands must do to succeed in the ‘content revolution’

BRANDS going digital need to think about not only how to get their message out there but what that message is packaged in, said panelists at the All That Matters 2017 conference in Singapore.

Millennials are by far one of the most influential demographic groups in media today, and they’re a key audience for brands to reach out to. Millennials are also consuming content in really radically different ways than brands are used to – more than ever before, millennials are cutting cords and consuming video content, helping to chart a sea change in the kinds of media that publishers are investing in.

“It’s not hard to reach consumers, but it’s hard to get attention and memorability among millennials,” said Twitter Asia Pacific’s managing director Maya Hari. Hari’s comments get to the heart of a massive problem that all brands are facing today, that is the challenge of approaching a distinct demographic with different appetites and a constantly shifting media landscape that is demanding that brands be more innovative and human than ever before.

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The desire for mobile content in Asia must be met by media companies that understand how to create content specifically for the mini-screen. Source: Shutterstock

Hari was speaking on a panel investigating the digital transformations that brands are embarking on and how they have to look beyond the realm of television. Alongside her was Derek Tan, the co-founder of Viddsee, a platform for shortform independent film; content maker and distributor Brave Bison’s general manager David Nicholls; and Simon Kearney, the co-founder of Click2View, a content agency blending journalistic skill with brand stories.

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Kearney noted his company was founded when he began noticing a “content revolution” in Asia, especially as brand begin to move into the digital space. For him, content is absolutely key as brands begin exploring innovative ways to reach out to their audiences. Click2View works closely to help brands create digital content to draw audiences with the help of journalistic skills.

“We think about content as part of a digital transformation,” he said. “Brands are becoming publishers and behaving like television channels.” 

Twitter’s video gamble

Perhaps no platform has embraced the brand-as-channel ethos the way Twitter has. The company has established huge partnerships with sports licensing companies in order to livestream events straight on their platform. Hari said that Twitter has “always had a synergistic relationship” with television, referencing the phenomenon of TV watchers engaging with social commentary on the platform.

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Source: Twitter

“Over the last ten years, Twitter’s position has been really robust in being the connection to ‘live’ for consumers. Anything live really resonates well on Twitter,” Hari said.

The idea to bring the content users are eager to interact with onto a uni-screen experience with the social commentary around it was a way for Twitter to both connect “premium content” with the audiences interested in them.

This content-forward strategy has allowed Twitter to show to brands the power of engaging users through great content rather than just straightforward marketing. According to Hari, Twitter looked to focus on sports, news and entertainment content in order to make use of the platform’s strength as a platform for live content.

To that end, Twitter has been pushing itself as a platform where brands can connect directly with their audiences, and push out more premium content.

“We’re seeing brands making the connection around video and premium content,” Hari said.

“Brands are beginning to associate with premium content on a platform like Twitter in order to connect with audiences and have memorable conversation.”

Digitally innovative

As the demographics of brands’ audiences continue to change, all the speakers agreed that it’s vital for brands to begin looking at innovative digital ways to reach their audiences, particularly younger consumers, through fresh content that’s delivered through technology.

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“It’s quite fascinating to see the appetite for innovation in this region,” said Kearney. “There’s a potential to leapfrog established markets, and truly innovative brands need to understand how that works so they can really apply it and maybe try it out in more established markets.”

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The millennial audiences have to be reached through new, innovative digital means. Source: Shutterstock

The brands Click2View works with are turning more and more to “premium content” to push their message, including a television series by VISA that capitalizes on the company’s insights into their customers. Doing so not only brings more value to the consumer, but also helps the company really communicate their vision.

Viddsee’s Derek Tan says that the company’s platform was created with a vision to bringing great independent film to their largely-millennial audiences. Viddsee is niche and it’s helping to pull great digital content that’s engaging millions of viewers every day. Brands have a part to play, but in the end, all have to go back to the power of storytelling.

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“We have very interesting conversations from our audience who say that we’re very different from our local free-to-air television,” said Tan. “A lot of them are a little bit disillusioned with what they see on those channels. We try to connect to them through story telling.

“We believe in the power of storytelling as it helps humanize messages.”