On a cold, rainy New York day, Cam Brown, president of King Fish Media, was kind enough to stop by The Economist Group’s office to chat with me about the importance of good content and how companies can use content to drive business and encourage a positive brand attitude.
You’re a strong advocate for content and sharing. What’s special about storytelling?
We are geared to learn a certain way. If you go way back to kindergarten or first grade, we sat around a circle and we were invited by our teachers to participate in the learning process—to share with each other. I don’t think any of us has a tolerance anymore for being talked at. Do you agree with that?
I do. I think people tend to tune out when they are talked at, but if you’re asked to participate, you’re suddenly more interested in what’s being said.
Exactly, it’s all about engagement. We all care about engaging potential customers with our brand for business growth, but another big part is that we ourselves also want to engage at a higher level with brands and feel like we are a part of the brand. We’re people, we want an emotional connection. I just spoke at a conference an hour ago and there’s an argument going on. Is it B2B? Is it B2C? Is it B2B to B2C? That’s all old marketing jargon. The reality is it’s P2P, people to people.
Coming from our “lean-back” perspective, how does story telling fit into print and tablets?
The question of what action you want someone to take and audience consumption will drive the platform. The way to define what platform you want to use is to define your target audience and where they are consuming media. There is no better method of capturing that information than learning more about your customers and prospects. Many times there’s an aversion to ask the audience where they consume content. And there shouldn’t be—because your job as a marketer is to give the right information to the right audience where they spend time.
So how can brands use content to drive their business?
You can motivated people that like your brand to be advocates for your brand. Give them tools that allow them to say you are a trusted company, a credible company. Give them something to say how your product rocks. Informing people, helping them, giving them useful information to help them improve an aspect of their lives…this is the new selling.
What advice or tips do you have for companies creating their own content? How can they make the content they create better?
I would suggest that instead of simply scraping content that’s existed before, go out there and create original content with an opinion. Don’t just grab content from everywhere; that doesn’t require much thought. If you have a conversation with someone and can articulate your point, your brand will become interesting to customers. They’re smart, and are looking for authenticity and something meaningful.
Is there anything consumers can do to help companies feel like they can be more open and have an opinion?
I think companies can get to that point by inviting dialogue and responding to it. You know, why not have a section of your site to supplement your Facebook or Twitter strategy. Invite customers to a monthly online forum for an hour where you have a live chat; tell them you have 10 people manning the lines and you will handle as many questions as you can in that hour. Respond to those who give both positive and negative feedback. If you like our product, great. Tell us why. If you didn’t, why not? What can we do better?