The Secret To Brand Engagement Is For Brands To Support The Creative Process, But Not Meddle With The Creative Process

from the that-would-be-ideal dept

We've talked an awful lot about the intersection between advertising and content over the years, and have been especially interested in how brands can and do interact with various content offerings. But, we always hear fears about how this can equate to "selling out" or somehow weakening the content for creators. And, it should be admitted that this is a legitimate fear if the brand demands too much control. For our media partner, Say Media, I recently wrote up a column pointing out how the problems for brands and content come in when the brands get involved in the actual creative process. However, when they let the content creators create what they want, and simply act as supporters of that process, rather than drivers of it, the creators can retain the artistic integrity, and there's no issue of "selling out." Then it becomes a case of brands supporting an artist -- which fans love -- rather than co-opting an artist, which fans hate.

Over the years, we've noticed that this is definitely a struggle for some brands. As soon as they dump money into a campaign, it's their natural inclination to want to control every aspect of the content that comes out of that campaign -- and that's a huge mistake. We've seen that the more involved a brand is in the campaign, the less effective the campaign is for absolutely everyone. Brands sponsor content creators because they know those content creators have built up a following and can create great content. They need to extend that trust to the point that if they sponsor content creation, the give the creators the free will to do something amazing. Brands may be good at "branding," but if they meddle directly in content creation, the end result doesn't really help anyone.
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Filed Under: brand engagement, brands, content creation, marketing, sponsorshiop

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  1. icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), 3 Mar 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Does it lead to measurable results?

    I've been a big proponent of corporate sponsorship. I got interested in it because I knew a number of Olympic athletes and that's how most of them made their money. They got funding from corporate sponsors.

    When I got involved with music, I noticed that this industry was not nearly as sophisticated about sponsorship as sports is.

    While I want to see more money go to promising athletes and creative types, I also look at it from a marketing point of view. (My background is integrated marketing communications.) If the sponsorship doesn't result in more incremental sales or a better relationship with current and potential customers, the company should consider spending its marketing dollars elsewhere. So the deciding factor from a marketing point of view isn't whether the content is crappy, but does it help the corporate bottom line in the near or long term? I'd much rather see a company sponsor a local kids event than throw money at a musician who doesn't help sell more product. There are so many potential sponsorships; sponsoring creative projects is only one possibility.

    I have seen some bad music/corporate partnerships. (The wrong music used to pitch a product. No logical connection between the two at all.) It just ends up making both the company and the musicians look bad. I think the flaw is that the company decides to sponsor whatever is trendy without thinking it through.

    My feeling is that when the paring works well, there's much less likelihood of the artists being accused of selling out. And when I say "works well," I mean at all levels including creatively and philosophically. If a band's music is used by a company that ethically doesn't represent the band, there are complaints. And for that reason I understand protests by bands when they see their music being used in marketing or political campaigns that they don't approve of. Bands should be able to say how their music is used because the implication is that if their music is associated with a company, the band probably approved it or at least allowed it to happen.

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