Digiday's John McDermott hosts a panel on the emerging hybrid forms of content, storytelling and advertising with a round of experts from the field: David Moore, chairman of digital media platform Xaxis, Peter Meier, founder of Metaio, Lukas Kircher, founder of content marketing agency KB and Shane Snow, co-founder of Contently.
"Content is not king", Lukas Kircher states right at the beginning of the panel. "It's all about conversations between real people and tapping into that rather than just producing content." Shane Snow agrees: It is crucial to find stories that appeal to people and start a conversation. Historically, news also tried to get people talking. Consistency is also important, building a relationship than just trying to land one viral hit.
Why does nobody want to be called ad agency anymore? The field is being disrupted, Kircher explains, due to new technologies like programmatic buying, new methods such as native advertising, content and real-time marketing as well as new channels like mobile and social. So you have to change and adapt with your company or you will get disrupted, too.
David Moore agrees: "The mad men days are over. And they are not coming back." The whole value chain of advertising has blurred. However there is a chance: The audiences continue to fragment and if you are in a position to aggregate very specific audiences like Vice does, you will begin to win the game if you are able to scale your audience and find good ways to integrate storytelling, advertising and communicating brands.
Media companies and publishers open content studios and start working like agencies these days. How do agencies distinguish themselves from these studios? Kircher says, the New York Times content studio has probably a huge advantage regarding talent and compelling stories. On the other hand, half of the job dealing with clients is also navigating through the politics of these big companies. In this field, the agencies bring a lot more experience.
What about the future of content? Peter Meier says, we will definitely see a whole new level of content production. Wearables providing an augmented reality experience will become smaller and more flexible and thus more ubiquitous. This will open up new possibilities for seemless content integration.