Andrew Canter is the Global CEO of the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) and is one of the world’s leading practitioners in branded content. We caught up with him at Symposium Event’s ‘The Future of Content Marketing Summit 2016’, which was held in London last month.
How do you think content marketing will develop over the period of the next five years?
I think the content marketing sphere is only going to grow over the next five years. Technology and social media have resulted in a rapid expansion in the ways that content is used and spread by brands and companies. So, there is going to be a lot more branded content in the future.
What are the challenges that content marketing experts are going to face in the future? There has been a lot of talk recently about the changes made to Facebook’s algorithm and Instagram looks set to do the same, is that going to be a dominant issue?
Yes, I think so. Facebook and Instagram are very powerful channels and they are channels that have been set up to make money, they are commercial entities. Brands are going to have to think about how their strategies will develop and evolve in a world where their biggest free channel (Facebook) is going to start charging for use. To me this is going to be one of the biggest challenges.
People are going to have to become more creative in our industry. We will need to find ways of maximising the impact of our content in a way that is not cost prohibitive.
Do you think we will ever get to a point when brands have to start looking past social media to another outlet? People are often predicting the imminent demise of social media and some channel’s audiences are starting to decline.
I think there is more of a trend now towards brands creating their own channels. Some brands are becoming publishers, for example, IBM have 420,000 people around the world who work for the company, brand advocates, and they create their own content and distribute it. So yes, I think brands are going to have to take more control.
We’ve recently seen brands such as Adidas setting up newsrooms around the world and the marketing teams in each bureau have the authority to create their own content. This independent creation of content seems to me to be the best way for brands to approach any decline in social media.
You mentioned earlier that Waitrose now have their own television channel and some firms have their own radio outlets, is this a trend you expect to continue?
Yes, although it is a very easy thing to say and a much more difficult thing to carry out. We have already seen Aldi go down this particular route with some success, but running a television channel is very different from selling baked beans. Some brands, such as Red Bull, have created their own media house and production studio and Procter & Gamble do their own production too. There are already great examples of companies finding their own way and these are the case studies that we are trying to show off in terms of best practice. That’s what BCMA is here to do, to help firms navigate these difficult times.