News & Views

The 4 Pillars of Intelligent Content

by Contagious Team

It’s not enough to have a content strategy. Have you also got a production strategy? A new report from Contagious and strategic production company Saddington Baynes outlines the principles and processes behind creating high fidelity visual communications that thrive across multiple platforms and adapt to a specific person or context

‘What’s our content strategy?’ is a question that’s been high on the agenda of many marketers. In a recent survey, 70% of brands and 77% of agencies reported having tried some form of branded content marketing, and budgets are on the rise too (Digiday/MailOnline). 

This shift is being driven both by an increasing appetite for content and by the proliferation of channels, platforms and devices on which to put that content. Alongside YouTube’s inexorable rise (six billion hours of video are watched on the site each month — 50% more than in 2012), upstarts like short form video network Vine are stealing our attention. What’s more, video on mobile is growing at a rate of 133% per year (Ooyala).

For marketers, learning not only to accommodate, but play to and capitalise on these changing behaviours in content consumption is vital. 

A standout example of this from last year was AT&T’s unscripted reality TV series @SummerBreak, via BBDO New York and Hollywood’s The Chernin Group. Instead of traditional network broadcast, @SummerBreak’s stars used Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr to distribute content, keeping viewers in the loop on a near-constant basis. Meanwhile, AT&T’s crew of 45 editors and producers cut footage of their exploits into short video ‘episodes’ that aired on YouTube. The series clocked up 644 million views of the content across the various platforms.

To carry off this kind of content coup requires a new and more effective approach to the creation and distribution of content – a production strategy that delivers and distributes Intelligent Content.

Contagious has been working with London-based Saddington Baynes to identify and distil what we feel to be the most important (though by no means exhaustive or prescriptive) aspects of such a strategy. Drawing on a wealth of case studies and expert interviews, we’ve broken these into the following four ‘pillars’:

1. Create Once, Publish Everywhere explores how to publish content across devices and countries in a way that’s both consistent and efficient. For example, the online localisation tool Saddington Baynes built for Honda Motor Europe meant that local marketing teams could easily select the combinations of vehicle model, colour, parts and price that were relevant and available in their market and deploy quickly – taking pressure off the central team without risk of delay or fragmentation. 

2. Respond in Real Time shows how adapting in real time can help brands capitalise on the zeitgeist and optimise performance. New technology and tools, such as those provided by Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, mean that it’s possible to refine advertising and editorial content on the fly and use real-time data to swap in different creative variables in ways that were not imaginable before. 

3. Enable Content Control looks at how technological developments in both inputs (gesture, touch, voice control) and outputs (large format or flexible screens) are enabling more immersive, interactive experiences. Poster child for this approach has been the Audi City showroom in London, which replaced a handful of shiny, top-of-the-range cars with floor-to-ceiling multi-touchscreens that allowed customers to explore 3.5 million possible car configurations, delivered on demand in life-size on a high resolution video display.

4. Right Person, Right Time, Right Content discusses how perceptive media are beginning to identify individuals from data trails, sensors and facial recognition. The result? More targeted content that is personalised to who and where you are and what you’re doing. Intel’s Audience Impression Metrics (AIM) Suite, for example, uses (anonymous) sensors, recognition technology and algorithms to profile shoppers by variables such as age and gender and deliver the appropriate content in response. 

Illustrated with case studies from Audi, AT&T, Burberry, British Airways, Coca-Cola, John Lewis, Pantene, Honda Motor Europe, Strongbow and Universal Pictures (amongst others), the report examines how to create future-proof assets that can be efficiently and consistently deployed across all channels. Its aim is to lay the foundations for ‘Intelligent Content’ – designed and produced at the outset to be consumed by anyone, on anything, in real time.

You can download a full copy of the report here: