The Power of Brand Content Revealed in World-Leading Research

New research reveals that brand content has become a powerful tool in the purchase decision-making process for everyday Australian consumers.

The research is the first empirical finding in the Australian market explaining why content marketing is attracting increasing amounts of investment throughout the industry and its growing potency in convincing consumers to purchase.

Unveiled at News Corp Australia’s virtual event The Purchase Funnel is Dead: How Brands Killed it with Content, the landmark The Power of Brand Content study commissioned by News Corp Australia’s content agencies, Medium Rare, Storyation and Suddenly, confirms the value to marketers of speaking directly to customers with their own premium content. 

The Power of Brand Content

The study, undertaken by global cultural insights and strategy consultancy firm Crowd DNA, uncovers the powerful human stories and statistics that demonstrate how content brings the purpose and value of brands to life for everyday Australians. 

News Corp Australia’s managing director, commercial content Mike Connaghan said the research validates why content marketing spend continues to grow.  

“Consumers understand and truly value content marketing. They have given brands permission to present them with premium content directly on their own channels. They expect it to be useful, educational, inspirational and even entertaining – and, if it fulfils this criteria, brand content will flatten the path to purchase,” said Connaghan.

“Make no mistake, the rise of content marketing represents the kind of opportunity for brands to turn their customers into fans. As the research tells us, consumers are now marketing savvy and they see the two way exchange of utility content as a win-win. ‘Advertising is the sell, content is the tell.’”

The Power of Brand Content research reveals awareness of brand content and engagement is high, with 43 per cent of Australians surveyed engaging with brand content at least daily. 73 per cent engage with brand content weekly, and that figure rises to 90 per cent for 18 to 24 year-olds. It is also driving brand preference, with three in four consumers feeling more positively towards a brand that provides them with valuable content.

Crowd DNA managing director for APAC Elyse Pigram said rapid and recent shifts in consumer expectations, accelerated through COVID, are driving demand for brand content.

“In a post-COVID world, exploring new ideas and experiences has never been more important, and brand content is becoming key to facilitating new discoveries. 70 per cent of consumers agree that brand content helped them discover new brands and three quarters expect brands to deliver relevant content,” said Pigram.

The Power of Brand Content reveals that brand content now sits at the very centre of what the research defines as a new purchase cycle, with the ability to consistently connect a consumer to a brand. Brand content is a key entry point to a brand ecosystem for 70 per cent of consumers. It aids in the consideration or evaluation of brands with two in three agreeing that brand content makes it easier to decide what brands/products to buy. 84 per cent took some form of action (buy, share, follow, save) and importantly, 34 per cent purchased a product, after engaging with a recent piece of brand content.

But its influence on the purchase cycle does not stop there. The research finds that brand content can drive advocacy for a brand, with 48 per cent feeling proud to share a great piece of content that comes from a brand they like. It also aids brand loyalty, facilitating an ongoing emotional connection and affinity with brands. Six in 10 look forward to receiving content from brands they like.

One in two consumers believe staying connected to a brand through its content makes them feel part of a community. One in five say brand content adds value to their everyday life, and 70 per cent are proud to support a brand that aligns to their values and beliefs.

Unfortunately, only 34 per cent of Australians surveyed believe brands are truly meeting their content needs, opening up a huge opportunity for brands and content marketers to improve their offering.

The Power of Brand Content research, conducted by Crowd DNA, consisted of three phases: cultural landscaping to uncover social conversations around brand content, remote mission-based research to uncover the role of brand content in consumers’ everyday lives, and a quantitative study of 1,000 Australians to substantiate the findings. 

Medium Rare are a member of the CMA. Find out more about the work they do on their member page.

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