Start co-branding and co-creating your content

Joel Egan

As digital director for Australian content marketing agency Edge, Joel is passionate about how brands can use digital strategies to achieve their business goals. He has worked with a number of Australia’s biggest brands, helping them to execute clever content strategies across multiple digital platforms to achieve great customer loyalty, engagement and sales. Brands Joel has worked with at Edge include Australia Post, Woolworths, Australian Unity, Suzuki, Australian Super and Crown.

It is estimated that 640 terabytes of data is transferred every minute which includes 48 hours of new video, 684,478 Facebook shares, 571 new websites and 347 new blog posts. With the sheer amount of content published every minute, how do you make yours stand out?

Right now content marketing is taking off and brands are all looking to engage their audiences online. There are many brands that got in early to own authority online such as American Express with OpenForum, and Johnson & Johnson with Baby Centre. Now with curated content channels such as Tumblr, Flipboard and social media, consumers are also using these tools to pull in content from different sources.

Nothing new in that, right? So my question to brands and organisations is: Why do you approach your online engagement with a static and silo approach?

Just look at many of the big banks who are trying to do what American Express has done and own the SME space online. They keep plugging away uploading articles, video and engaging through social media hoping one day their site will stand out above the hundreds of SME sites doing the same thing.

Instead marketers need to be a lot more strategic in their thinking and start looking at partnerships to co-brand and co-create their content.

This will be a major focus for most brands in the coming year. This type of strategy opens your content up to new customers, achieves a much wider reach and can help you grow exponentially. Andrew Davis who came up with the concept of brandscaping for co-creating content explains, ‘Let’s be honest, everyone needs relevant content to share with their audience [the social stream moves so fast], so why not create a partnership with another brand to help your partner maintain and build trust while you do the same’?

There is huge value placed on effective content but engaging content is not easy to write, it takes time and investment to do it well. Other brands may also value your content and will be willing to partner so they can distribute your co-branded content to their customers. If both brands are aligned, with the same audience, content themes and topics, then just by co-branding you can dramatically increase the amount of engaging content you have for your customers.

A good example of co-branded content is Xerox’s recent Get Optimistic campaign, which includes a co-branded print and iPad magazine with Forbes. This campaign has led to more than 20,000 new contracts and 1500 sales appointments that have generated more than $1 billion in a 12-18 month sales pipeline.

The big issue is brands need to be open to this which is no easy task. There will need to be contracts written up, it will need to get past procurement and the review and approval process could be a nightmare. However many brands and organisations have had to adapt their processes and procedures for social media, taking a similar approach to co-branded and co-created content would need to be arranged to enable the content to be relevant, up-to-date and engaging.

At the end of the day though, this approach has the potential to be a massive win-win. There are not many examples of this are the moment but watch this space, it is set to take off.

Tags: content marketing

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