Cannes 2013: Content marketing, the next phase for social media

By , Seminars, Cannes | In Digital | June 20, 2013
On Day 4 of the International Festival of Creativity, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Razorfish Global CEO Bob Lord, and Citi Bank's Global Venturing head Vanessa Colella spoke on the The Next Big Challenge: Creativity in Social Media.

Brands and advertising agencies have been grappling to crack the complex social media network to effectively advertise and engage with the huge digitally active audience for some time now. But how do brands tell its story and make the digital audience listen to them in a platform that is operated by the users (read: consumers), who control or direct the flow of conversation and interests?

Cannes 2013, Creativity in Social Media with Stacy Martinet of Mashable, Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn, Bob Lord of Razorfish & Vanessa Colella of Citi Bank

According to LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, the answer could lie in useful, engaging content, which the brands can generate to connect with the vast social media users. Companies and brands need to mine relevant data that has been generated over the years, create meaningful, engaging content for their consumers and put it out there for everyone to see. And, he reveals that content marketing is the next phase of LinkedIn's growth, also a reason why he's at the Cannes festival.

The best of implementation has been Citi Bank's approach to integrating storytelling with the social media. Besides having a Twitter representative who responds in real time, the bank has invested a lot on various social media platforms to effectively reach out to its customers. Quoting an example, Vanessa Colella, head, Global Venturing, Citi Bank, said that while the bank had been advising women customers on their finances for 13 years, the customers were asking for advice on their career and mentoring. Thus emerged 'Women & Co.', a community project on LinkedIn, where the bank customises useful content based on conversation trend or a topic on which women want information, such as how to use office gossip to accelerate their careers. In turn, the bank noticed women who are active in the group, are more likely to recommend Citi Bank's products and are open to using them.

With brands eager to exploit the social media network to their advantage, it is essential to simultaneously think of technology and media, when thinking of creative ideas.However,brands also need to spend at least 10 per cent of their time on experimenting and not just the marketing budget, said Bob Lord, global CEO, Razorfish. He also pointed out how the agency has expanded its internship programme, as the best ideas for campaigns, he has observed, are coming from interns and 19-year-olds who organically live in the social world and understand it without any skill sets.

Lord added that monitoring the consumer interaction trend in China and South Korea will help agencies in other countries pick up cues on the technology available and how it can be effectively used by the brands.

Colella, however, cautioned that merely creating and putting out content, which weaves a brand's values and proposition, is not enough. The content on the platform needs to be nurtured and cared for, much like a plant, to ensure it leaves an impact.

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