LOS ANGELES – In an age of advertising as storytelling, it starts with deciding what stories to tell that are worthy of an audience’s time. The next part is what gets tricky, namely figuring out the best places and ways to tell those stories.
As much as some brands might wish to create a particular message once and then chop it up and distribute it across multiple platforms, “You just can’t. You have to understand what platforms people are using for what reasons,” says Scott Donaton, Chief Content Officer at DigitasLBi.
This requires an understanding of why people frequent Snapchat as opposed to Facebook or watching a television show. “You really have to think about what is the user coming to this platform for and then what’s the best way to tell that story on that platform,” Donaton says in this interview with Beet.TV at the 2017 Transformation conference of the 4A’s.
A lot of brands “do get a little nervous” about having to create various messaging and then how to scale it all. “But it’s not as intimidating once you actually embrace it as it might seem to be,” Donaton adds.
Branded content has evolved from something that was once nice to have to a must have for marketers. It’s no longer something experimental “that you dip your toe in but that it really is the future of marketing.”
By way of illustration, Donaton says DigitasLBi doesn’t have a client that in the last 18 months hasn’t asked for a content marketing strategy. “We’re also starting to see a lot of brands like Mattel, Pepsi and Marriott follow in the heels of brands like Red Bull and GE and become really deeply committed to this idea of storytelling and investing heavily in it,” says Donaton. “And I think that’s just going to continue.”
With the 2017 NewFronts season on the near horizon, DigitasLBi marks a 10-year anniversary, having birthed the annual ritual initially as a half-day event for its clients. The agency’s message to brands was before you commit all your money in the television Upfronts, take a closer look at digital content.
“We’ve gone from that half-day Digitas-only event into a two-week, multi-billion-dollar marketplace where every major digital player is out there being a part of that conversation,” Donaton says.