Content makes the world go round

Why spend a fortune on advertisements if we all fundamentally agree that this isn’t what consumers are looking for in the first place! We’ve just spent the last chapters working towards the conclusion that good content is what consumers do want, and so that’s where our focus should lie. That’s absolutely fine, if the content increases brand value or effectively promotes the distinguishing factor of the product. But, first and foremost, it is the value for the consumer that matters most. And doesn’t ‘creating content’ simply cost a whole lot of money?

A flying start
In 2014, one of the world’s leading beer brands, Carlsberg, decided to take matters into its own hands. The company, with over 500 local brands worldwide, made the daring judgement call to move all of its content marketing activities ‘in house’. A creative strategist and a journalist with a background in the music industry were at the heart of the global content strategy, aided by an entire network of freelancers. Perhaps a modest beginning if you measure the set-up against the sheer size of the company, but it soon proved its worth. Take a look at the video from 2015, for instance, in which Carlsberg announces that

from now on it would be shipping beer via drones. The video went viral when it turned out to be an April Fool’s joke; the production costs of around £ 5,000 were more than made up for by the £ 130,000 worth of free media exposure the video received.

Logical story, right?
You don’t just save on advertising costs when you decide to keep your content production under your own roof. Probably one of the most widely known examples is of course the Danish bank, Jyskebank, which began its own TV channel already back in 2006. Today, the TV channel is on air all day long and provides a fifty-fifty mix of financial programmes and ‘entertainment’. The entertainment part consists of programmes that will primarily interest the company’s main target audiences, young consumers and smaller enterprises. And although the topics are financially related, they are always presented using comprehensible topics, such as: tips on how to find a good roommate, prevent debit card fraud, etc. In other words, stories with a human angle.

In line with the company’s ‘sharing and open’ philosophy, each piece of content has been made ‘embeddable’ and ‘sharable’. And this is paramount, because 80 % of Jyskebank’s content is viewed through ‘non-owned’ channels, i.e. not on its website or owned channels, but on ‘outside’ sources. The more often a story is shared, the more successful it is. That’s a KPI which motivates Jyskebank to deliver quality time and time again. 

Your own content centre as money maker
When you’re as big as PepsiCo, doing the math of ‘moving your content studio in-house’ is well worth the effort. This behemoth in beverages and food snacks started its own content studio in May 2016: the

Creators League. A studio that not only enables PepsiCo to create its own branded content, but also ‘white label’ content which can then be sold to distributors or advertisers at a healthy profit. The primary objective of this ‘content centre’ is entertainment and not – as you might think – to sell crisps, cereals or soft drinks. The fact that consumers enjoy nibbling on a snack or grabbing a Pepsi while being entertained is simply a logical added perk.

The basis for the Creators League is a studio with seven full-time employees of PepsiCo, complemented by a wide network of freelance writers, art-directors, cameramen and a host of other creative talent. The studio can be used by established and up-and-coming stars, such as R&B sensation Usher, who used the studio for one of his projects, or Serena Williams, who recorded a video for charity. Musicians can also use the studio for free so that later on down the track, when their musical career has really taken flight, they might be inclined to do a little something in return out of gratitude for PepsiCo’s nice gesture.

PepsiCo is counting on the Creators League to make enough money from the sale of ‘unbranded’ content, so the creation of branded content, which is sales oriented, is financially covered. It’s an ambitious goal by PepsiCo, especially considering that marketing is usually seen as a huge cost item and not as a money maker. Or, as Brad Jakeman, President of PepsiCo's global beverage group puts it: "The holy grail for me is to leverage the incredible power of our brands and their equities to essentially fund their own marketing."

Whether or not you move your content creation entirely in-house and which business model you decide on is of course up to you, but you have to admit that considering the options is definitely worth it.

Read more blogposts