You know that we "made it" as an industry when a 35-year old, local fastfood chain produces a series of commercials-slash-short films and gains massive viral success. (We're looking at you, Jollibee.)
We're not just talking about local success here; we're talking global, as in you should see the reaction videos from Youtubers around the world within 48 hours after the ads' release. And can we just add that these Jollibee ads came out on Valentines Day? A day that has a thousand and one brands competing for attention? Yep.
I'm assuming you've seen all of it, but here's a compilation of Jollibee's viral videos if you want to relieve the pain (haha), plus 2 more videos from the past that also went viral as a ripple effect.
Of course the credit is all Jollibee's, the genuises at McCann, and the artists behind these major productions, but it's times like this when you know that as an industry, we have arrived. Content Marketing in the Philippines has reached a tipping point. Jollibee sets the bar high, and everyone begins to see just how important Content Marketing is to reach new markets online.
Or, in Jollibee's case, how to move people to buy buckets of Jollibee Chicken Joy (thigh only please), or to successfully make the Jollibee Yum Burger (with a message written on a post it note) a legit symbol of *ehem* true love.
Although Content Marketing has been around for a long time, it wasn't until the last 5 years that we started seeing drastic shifts in the Philippine landscape: From traditional marketing to digital, from printed brochures to sponsored social media posts, from TV commercials to Youtube/Facebook videos, from marketing to publishing,
from hardselling to storytelling.
The Content Marketing Playbook, in a nutshell
Content Marketing is defined by CMI as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and ultimately, to provide profitable customer action.
Jollibee has all of the checkboxes ticked:
- They create valuable and relevant content
- They consistently create such content
- They aim to attract and retain a clearly defined audience
- They distribute said content in the right channels
- Their content strategy drives profitable customer action
Jollibee has figured out a formula that works and now they're reaping the benefits of their investment and hard work.
But Jollibee isn't the only local brand who's investing in digital content.
Globe, in 2014, shifted its advertising budget from print and outdoor to full-on digital. And true to form, we've seen Globe put together their own portfolio of multimedia content in the past 2 years, gaining them significant traction and solidifying their online presence.
In the past year we've seen Philippine Airlines, Fujifilm, McDonalds, Nestle, among others, up their own marketing game too.
There are a few important takeaways that local brands can get from this discussion.
1. Consistency is more important than virality
Jollibee already has a repository of #KwentongJollibeeSeries videos long before its recent Valentine series became viral. In fact, past videos are already getting significant traction, albeit not on a global scale. It took Jollibee a long period of experimentation and consistency before they're able to discover what works for their brand.
There are no secret formulas in virality. Ann Handley of MarketingProfs even described virality as "a happy accident."
Creating content consistently, however, is something that can be practiced and developed over time.
That said, instead of aiming for viral success, focus on your unique brand story, get to know your buyer personas, and consistently churn out great content to attract your people.
Consistency is key in the Content Marketing game, and if you're doing something good consistently, somewhere down the road the content you put out may just go viral.
2. Content marketing is an ongoing business process, not a one-time big-time campaign
What many local brands still fail to see is that Content Marketing is not a mere "campaign" or "department". In hindsight, content marketing success really depends on the company's level of dedication, on whether or not Content Marketing is a priority.
One quick look at the content local brands are putting out this year and you already know how fierce the competition is. Not to mention, people have become ruthless in choosing brands they want to follow and the content they want to consume.
Busineses are putting the bigger chunk of their ad spending online. Big B2B companies are hiring hundreds of Content Marketers. Brands are becoming publishers, artists and producers.
It's about time local brands stop settling with their "one-man Content Marketing team." Whether you outsource your content strategy to experts or you build a team in-house, you have to treat content marketing as a necessary business process and not just a fleeting marketing campaign.
3. Storytelling transcends industries and business types
Regardless of the industry, whether B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer), whether agency or startup or enterprise, storytelling is the one thing that sets your content strategy apart from your competition.
Nothing is original, but YOUR brand story makes your take on a subject matter unique.
This is evident in various local ad campaigns we've seen recently:
Nido is local brand that manufactures powdered milk for children. B2C.
McDonalds is a fast food chain with a massive global presence. Also B2C.
Globe is a homegrown telco brand and a business solutions provider. Can be considered both B2B and B2C.
The point is, regardless of the business type and model, storytelling is universal. I reckon this is why Filipinos--being natural storytellers--are winning at Content and Digital Marketing.
4. Knowing the right content type for your business is a must
One can argue that what Jollibee pulled off is applicable only to big, globally expanding brands that have massive following. Or that it's effective only for B2C. And maybe there's truth to that.
It is important to know what you want to achieve for your brand in order to know the type of content you should create.
In the most natural sense, visual and video content types lend itself well to Business-to-Consumer models and product-based businesses. Whereas, informative and long-form text content may be more applicable to businesses (and professionals) offering highly technical or creative solutions and services.
Security Bank's Personal Finance Blog
Sunlife Financial's Brighter Life E-Magazine
Insurance, finance and banking may seem like boring highly technical concepts, but with the right understanding of their buyer personas, Security Bank and Brighter Life are able to create relatable and highly shareable blog content.
While video content is perfect for Jollibee and Globe (and others), informative blog content seems to work really well for Security Bank and Sun Financial. They know the type of content that works for them, and they use this medium to publish content that customers find relevant and valuable.
5. Digital is, hands down, the most flexible, measurable and scalable marketing medium
Local brands now know that investing in digital content allows for more flexibility, reaches a wider audience, all with lower advertising costs. They're not anymore bound by 30-second TV commercial limits or the small space on page 23 of some magazine. Because of this, marketers are able to practice more creative freedom and flexibility.
Not to mention, viewers can now replay, share and talk about their ads real time, 24/7 -- and not wait around in front of the TV to chance upon your 30-second segment.
The best part is having access to real time insights and performance data for every marketing campaign. This is something that's impossible to measure with traditional media; not even the most intuitive qualitative data gathering methods like FGD or interviews, or the most systematic surveys can produce data that digital platforms can capture with such accuracy and speed.
How's your Content Marketing strategy for 2017? Are you taking advantage of the advancements to the local digital landscape?