Should Brands Build ‘Creative Newsrooms’?

A few weeks ago, Ian Schafer wrote “Why It’s Time Your Brand Invested in a Creative Newsroom” on how brands should think less about the creative brief and more on creating content that is timely and shareable.

“What if instead of optimizing branded content to hit every marketing bullet point on a brief, we optimized it to maximize the amount it got shared?” wondered Schafer.

According to Noah Brier of Percolate, brands need a mix of “stock” and “flow” content in order to remain “sticky.” The type of content created out of a brand newsroom that Schafer speaks of would be “flow” content, which are shorter, more timely pieces of content.

Before ditching the briefs, storyboards, and boardrooms in favor of a brand “newsroom,” content marketers and strategists need to remember where “flow” content needs to build up to. The “stock” content are the bigger features that bring audiences and fans back and can strengthen the overarching brand strategy.

One of the earliest forms of original branded “stock” content is the eight part BMW film series The Hire starring Clive Owen from 2002. All eight films featured popular filmmakers from across the globe, starred Clive Owen as the driver and highlighted the performance aspects of various BMW automobiles. Viewed 11 million times in four months on BMW’s site, according to BMW Blog, what’s most amazing about this campaign was that this was pre-YouTube.

As Horatiu Boeriu points out, if the series were released for the first time today, with social sharing and consumer content consumption at an all-time high, “one can only imagine the impact and viral marketing that these videos would have generated across the internet.” If BMW had a brand newsroom back then, they could have created supplementary flow content for the series and finding opportunities for the BMW brand to find cultural relevance in daily conversations.

Schafer is right in that a brand needs to be set up “as much like a modern newsroom as it does a creative department.” The need for brands to be part of cultural conversations fueled by social is essential — and it’s possible through flow content. However, with the abundance of daily content and information being shared, creating “stock” content once in a while will help brands be the focus of the conversation, not just joining it. That’s why it’s important to have both the newsroom for the daily “flow” content and keep the strategy briefs and creative brainstorms for the bigger “stock” content.

The “creative” part of the term “creative newsroom” is making original content, the “newsroom” part allows content strategists and managers to try to predict what will be discussed three months from now as well as what’s trending on Twitter this morning. The most important third element is strategy so the brand doesn’t get lost in the online ether of online content.

The process of hiring and maintaining a content studio is expensive since talent, originality, creativity, and strategy to guide the way is essential. As much as Schafer cautions that “briefs, brainstorms, boardrooms and 70 rounds of revisions” slows down the process, all of these steps are key for keeping the brand identity in the conversation.

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