CMA Hot Topics

January 29th, 2019

CMA Hot topics is a brand new series of articles written by ourselves at the CMA. Each month we will be individually covering a separate topic we are either passionate about or is highly relevant in the world of content. This is to be the first of many, we hope you enjoy it.

Driving positive change

This week I attended the Creative Shootout event, in which creatives and content agencies come together to pitch for campaign work that, on behalf of the Plastic Free environmental stamp, increase awareness and ultimately drive consumer choice to force a positive change. It made me ask myself, just how difficult is it to change consumers’ minds, even when it’s for their own good? (In this case, the planet’s own good!).

As believers in content (as you would expect), we believe that through conversation, education and, my favourite, face to face, we can drive positive change within the industry. Currently, we are focusing on the here and now by developing our measurement expertise and future proofing our industry by introducing a new Innovation Interest group. The aim of these groups is for members to come together, drive change and perception thinking, showing what content can deliver. Believe it or not, there is still a question of whether it should be content or advertising. For me, when in any doubt, you should ask yourself ‘What am I doing this for?’. Because, as Alexander Hamilton told us ‘You need to stand for something else you’ll fall for anything’.

An open question to CMA readers: Do you think about what you want or just think about what you need before you embark on your new content strategy?

Catherine Maskell, Managing Director

The voice revolution

Voice search is the future. That’s what we’ve been told for the past year over and over, but now I do believe that this is an undeniable fact – even I have succumbed to asking Siri whether I need a coat or not. I haven’t quite made the leap to getting an Alexa, but I now see this is an inevitability, perhaps one that I should embrace rather than resist. The rise in voice control over the past year has been staggering. It’s been a hot topic in our reports and Content Breakfasts alike. Research by YouGov shows that one in 10 people in the UK now own a smart speaker (6.6 million), with voice assistants reaching over 1.1 billion worldwide.

Michael White from Kekst CNC made an excellent point at our most recent Content Breakfast when he touched on how important SEO is in the world of voice. Due to its screenless environment, you lack the option to select the link you want to click on, so the importance of a high ranking on Google may be larger than ever. This article from Mediaplanet helps you identify why your Google ranking may be lower than you previously had thought.

The importance of SEO in voice is backed up further by the fact that 22% of adults in the UK are using voice search 3-5 times a day and by 2020 it’s estimated that 50% of all searches are expected to be through voice. This was revealed in a report released earlier this month by BrandContent covering the voice search landscape, which only served to drive home the meteoric rise of voice and its continuance over the coming years. If voice isn’t a priority within your company, you may find yourself having to play catch up in the months to come. After all, as the late great Stephen Hawking once said: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”.

Harry Brown, Account Manager

The progression of brand activism

Brand activism is something that has been permeating the industry increasingly over the past year or so. It’s the next generation of corporate social responsibility, and is incredibly relevant at the moment, with a vast number of consumers passionate about certain issues in the world, whether it be social, environmental, political, etc. For brands to really connect with their audience on an emotional level (Content Marketing 101), they need to show that they have strong brand beliefs and values, and most importantly, to act on them. Consumers want brands to show concern for the big issues, such as the environment, race, gender and politics.

Take Nike’s decision to make NFL outcast Colin Kaepernick the face of their 30-year anniversary ‘Just Do It’ campaign. Kaepernick has been banned by the NFL for taking a stand (or a knee to be precise) against the brutality that black people face in America. Nike received a huge online backlash with consumers going as far as burning their Nike products (not sure who’s going to tell them Nike most likely don’t care what you do with their products once you’ve paid for them). However, after initially dropping in the stock market, Nike’s stock rose dramatically the following day. I was kicking myself (with my Air Force 1s) for not buying shares when they dropped.

I personally thought it was a powerful and emotive campaign that ticked all the boxes, there was however a huge difference in opinion amongst consumers. While Nike are proud of the campaign after it reached “record engagement”, there is an issue that Mark Ritson at Marketing Week feels that brands are too busy trying to align their beliefs and values that they’re forgetting the aim of growing this awareness should be to increase sales  “Every brand and every nearly arrived CMO is not looking for a surge in sales,” he wrote. “Instead they want to link their brand to a cultural issue faster than you can say purpose.” This has led to ‘Purposewash’, with many brands trying and failing to hit the mark with purposeful content (remember Pepsi’s ad with Kendall Jenner?).

All of this will be discussed at our ‘Purpose vs Purposewash’ panel debate at the CMA Summit (February 28th, 2019), as there is so much content that is failing to have an impact but those who create meaningful content and live their story outperform their peers. Providing the ultimate goal, purposeful content which is profitable for the brand. The panel will have Jessie Macneil-Brown, The Body Shop’s Head of Global Activism, who will be particularly interesting as The Body Shop is planning to turn its stores into ‘activist hubs’ in order to overcome difficult trading conditions on the UK high street and attract more people to its stores. It will be fascinating to hear Jessie’s take on an issue that certainly isn’t going away anytime soon.

Hugo de Soissons, Marketing Manager

Making sense of measurement

Measurement in one section, here we go … One of the reasons I’m excited for 2019 is the fact we’re taking an in-depth look at measurement within content marketing. There has always been a lot of chatter around this topic, but as ‘content marketing’ is becoming part of everyday conversations within the marketing space, the focus on measurement has never been stronger.

Over the last six months, a team of CMA members have been meeting to discuss measurement to create metrics and KPIs that can be used by those in the industry. One of the reasons behind the measurement problem has been the new mix of departments involved in content marketing. This has seen a change of internal structure and content teams are now being made up of editorial staff, marketing executives, designers and PRs. Each of these departments has always had their own measurement targets, whether it be the old AVE or the more recent measures such as web traffic and bounce rates. So that’s why it’s important to create a metric that can be used specifically for content. I believe the research we’re carrying out will help those who work in the content industry and make sure we continue to thrive.

Rob John, Senior Account Manager

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