As a marketer I find the job of a journalist fascinating. And when I say journalist I mean the one who investigates, the one who searches deep down for a subject, the journalist who knows how to use storytelling and introduces his subject in a unique way. Journalists who take to the streets in the middle of a protest just to feel the atmosphere, journalists falling in the same category as Frost/Nixon, The Newsroom and sometimes even Zoe Barnes (House of Cards). That’s what I find extraordinary in the job of a journalist!
And even if I never studied journalism and I never worked in an editorial office I can see that the marketing of our time “married” journalism/media and they now have a baby that many companies need to hold in their arms: Brand Journalism.
Brand Journalism has started to increasingly widespread among the many companies that want to tell the story of their products/services in a new way, moving away from “We’re the best. We’re the greatest. We’re the solution to your problem” and struggling to create journalistic content yet with a hint of advertising. Only someone with a trained eye and working in the field will recognize the difference between brand journalism and simple journalism.
When I above mentioned the fact that more and more companies are beginning to embrace the brand journalism concept I had 3 brands in mind:
- RedBull has an online and offline magazine with spectacular images and stories on influencers in the field –Red Bulletin
- Microsoft created a platform that shows “people, places and ideas that move us”, launching it on Instagram looking to find out people’s stories –Microsoft Stories
- General Electric launched an online magazine with news from the field of innovation f, science and technology – GEreports
Some would say “Well, these are all simple webpages with subjects from the company’s field, like a blog, or a newsfeed” and I agree with them. Because today the consumers are bombed with a ton of bad publicity that only aims for selling the products/services. But what if there was a banner prompting me to read about a story of a peasant who saved an entire village? That’s right. And you know how he did it? By using a specific product/service.
You feel me?
I think one of the Best Practices a marketer should adopt for 2015 is Brand Journalism. And to end this on a positive note I want to leave you with the next few words (so you see that I’m not just talking nonsense) written by Larry Light who is a CEO Arcature, former global CMO @ McDonald’s and the former chief brands officer @ InterContinental Hotels Group.
Brand journalism captures and speaks to the interests of interconnected consumers who want customized, connective content. Brand journalism can be the most valuable tool in the marketing toolbox. Marketers have the chance of a lifetime to connect and engage consumers with journalistic brand storytelling that customers will want to consume. In this new era, brand journalism will be an increasingly important part of marketing’s future.