CMA Summit 2013: How owned media - The Economist's Nick Blunden - sees content marketing

Nick Blunden, SVP, Global Head of Digital and content Strategy, The Economist.

Nick promised to talk about the importance of content marketing, but kicked off by mentioning the old chestnut the death of advertising.

He said that he had ‘Lost count of number of events that talk about the ‘death of advertising'. However Nick feels that reports of its death are greatly exaggerated. As an example he mentioned The Super Bowl which he suggested is as famous for advertising as football.

The problem for advertising companies he said was that ‘it's getting harder and harder to reach people through advertising.'

So what about content?

Well Nick said ‘I should say all we have to do is replace advertising with content. I wish with all my heart it was as simple as that. The challenge that makes advertising more difficult makes content more difficult. We live in a very cluttered world. 90 per cent of world's data in last 2 years.'

The key for Nick though is as human beings we are all interested in stories. He cites Barack Obama as a story teller beyond compare. ‘Obama was quoted as saying that the biggest weakness of his administration was its failure to effectively tell the story to the American people. Stories have created brands - Shakespeare brand is worth $600 to 1 billion and it's not even a commercial brand. Another example is the Red Bull space jump - cost about $40 million. It's a fantastic example of a great brand story. ‘

The greatest storytellers have an identifiable voice' said Nick. ‘Brands haven't always got a consistent voice online. Everything that Red Bull does is about human endurance and endeavour - even if activities are different.'

Nick then suggested that content might still be king, but brands also need to understand importance of context. He cited the changes in the music industry where the value is in live music. He added that Google makes content discoverable but not desirable, that's down to content creators.

Nick also debunked the myth that brands have a found a strategy that they can use to create a viral. He said ‘social is a mindset not a place and viral is an outcome not a strategy,' for example Korean singing star Psy, who has had many millions of views on YouTube, has no idea how Gangnam Style went viral.

Finally Nick posed the question. Should all brands become publishers? He doesn't think so. ‘No it's not about that, it's about marketers getting better at creating content. You don't need a spacesuit to have a story to tell. All we need to do is unlock the story that all brands have.

Content gives us a huge opportunity but it can't live in isolation. We need to put content and advertising together.'

Nick Blunden was speaking at the CMA International Content Marketing Summit - Weds 27 Nov.

Full agenda at www.the-cma/summit.

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Posted in CMA news
27thNov 2013

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