Ad agencies are seeing opportunities to act as financiers and middlemen to help brands delve into content opportunities.
Dentsu Creative – a global agency network that’s part of Japanese marketing agency Dentsu – has launched a new investment fund that will give its brand clients access to “entertainment specialists” to advise them on how they can finance new content initiatives, including films, TV projects, games, music and live events.
The “every brand can be a media company” refrain has neatly extended into the “every brand can be an entertainment company” sphere – brands like Chipotle, for example, have for years tried to create content that entertains audiences (not just educates them.) Entertainment itself can be a form of value exchange that brands can present to audiences, helping to build trust and loyalty that eventually translates into stronger customer relationships.
For Dentsu, it’s an opportunity to push further into this increasingly lucrative business.It already has some experience in this space, having create helped P&G’s “The Cost of Winning” documentary that ran on HBO Max.
Dentsu believes there is a lot more opportunity here: A 2022 survey it commission of chief marketing officers found that 63% of respondents said they believe brands should build their own audiences and create culture – 85% said they believe brands need to “think like a publisher.”
Home brands go all in on brand publishing
A new set of brand publishers are emerging in the design space, writes Business of Home.
This sector has been quite active in publishing recently. Henrybuilt is unveiling its foray into publishing with Untapped, a new site that will be edited by design journalist Tiffany Jow. Restoration Hardware is launching a new media platform helmed by Architectural Digest EIC Margaret Russell. Urban Electric has The Current, Schumacher has Frederic. And all of them have one thing in common: They rarely shill for the brands who fund them.
It’s a move we’ve been watching closely: Toolkits covered a few weeks ago how an increasing number of brands were building editorially independent publications that distance themselves from content marketing – rarely selling, but creating journalistic-style content to draw audiences. As BoH points out, the strategy has some advantages namely that it helps brands hire journalists and top-tier editorial talent, and may also help brands stand out in a world cluttered with #content.
And in conversations lately with brand publishing executives, more of them say they are grappling with challenges around independence and how to build internal systems that protect it. But they’re doing so while also keeping in mind that they do have a business to answer for. More to come on this in the coming weeks from Toolkits.
New for 2023: Our guide to structuring brand publishing teams
Editorial and content teams need structure in order to thrive. A well-structured content group is far more likely to operate efficiently, generate better ideas and create consistent systems to produce expert-level content. Clear roles and responsibilities and reporting structures mean content teams that are self-sufficient and feedback systems that are robust.
Also worth noting:
- Are chatbots a threat to paywalled content? Publishers are warily watching the growth of AI chatbots, which could be scraping their sites for paid content, thus robbing them of revenue. It’s a development that brands with gated content – paid or free – should be keeping an eye on.
- SherwoodMedia.com, Robinhood’s editorial platform, is live, and looking for advertisers. Robinhood said it shed 800,000 monthly active users in the past quarter as the home-trading fervor passed its pandemic-era peak. The company is focused on acquiring and retaining customers that engage frequently, even if not daily, it said during an earnings call.