Why Brands Struggle With Content Creation

This is the era of content. Top marketers like Ford’s Jim Farley have eyed it as one of their major challenges. In a way, this is nothing new. After all, brands have always created content. But the rise of social platforms and new forms of digital distribution has upped the pressure on marketers to create quality content at scale and at an acceptable cost.

Digiday asked brand executives at the Digiday Brand Summit what challenges they face when creating content.

Juli Brown, manager of digital insights, Nestle Purina
Speed. Quality content at a pace that “feeds the beast” of socially relevant content is challenging. We need to work increasingly with scrappy production houses to produce great, high-quality content that is timely and will resonate with what consumers are already talking about.

Tammy Gordan, director of social communications and strategy, AARP
One of the biggest challenges is the blurring of the line between content creation and journalism. At AARP, we create content that is advertising, public relations, marketing, and we also produce television, radio, Web, mobile and print. Figuring out workflow, marketing and job descriptions has been one of the most interesting struggles of 2012 for us.

Greg Samarge, digital marketing manager, Nestle
There are a ton of challenges. But for us, the single largest issue is being able to create breakthrough content and still have the budget to fund distributing that content. It’s hard enough to justify the budget to create that content, but it’s even more challenging to then push for sufficient budget above and beyond the content creation to distribute this great content.

Bob Arnold, associate director of global digital strategy, Kellogg
The biggest challenge is balancing adding value to the consumer and communicating your brand message. How do you do it in a way where you are truly adding value without being overbearing?

Karen Snell, content lead, Cisco Systems
The biggest challenge we face is getting buy-in to our approach to content creation from our peers. As storytellers first, our team is dedicated to finding and telling stories that make a connection with our audience and producing them in such a way that they will make an impact, an impression and hopefully result in a social action — share, tweet, republish, etc. We are continually explaining our strategy and “selling” our approach. We are making headway, but it is an ongoing challenge.

Orion Brown, senior associate brand manager, Capri Sun
The biggest challenge is creating both consumer-relevant and brand-building content. Some brands (namely, passion brands) lend well to this as they are already ubiquitous and are intimately integrated into the daily lives of consumers — so their hurdle to find touchpoints that feel natural and relevant to the consumer may be lower. But for many brands, it’s a delicate balance between creating a branded message that doesn’t sound “preachy” or like a sales pitch but still drives consumers ultimately to purchase. In my experience, identifying the consumer need that a brand meets, then laddering that back up to a higher emotional need helps drive relevant content creation. But even then, brands need to be mindful of not getting too lofty in their brand promise to keep the content grounded and believable to the consumer.

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