Let's start this week's round-up with the 2012 CMA Awards and its winners. On Wednesday night in a glittering Old Billingsgate by the river Thames the best in content marketing were celebrated. Twenty-eight winners and twelve highly commended agencies from across the globe were recognised as leading the industry with work ranging from iPad apps to video, social media campaigns to customer magazines, and for clients as diverse as online retailer, Ocado, through to Parks and Reports Scandinavia.
The big awards of the night were The Grand Prix which was won by Seven for its multi-platform solution for Sainsbury's Little Ones Baby and Toddler Club. The judges said "Little Ones is magnificent, completely out on its own. Its clean segmentation and astonishing results make it a demonstration of content marketing at its very best." Little Ones also picked up Best Content Marketing Solution of the Year (Consumer).
Best Content Solution of the Year (B2B) was awarded to Progressive Customer Publishing for economia magazine, the customer title for The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). The magazine was praised for its "engaging content combined with excellent delivery."
Launch of the Year was scooped by FuturePlus for Fender, the universally revered guitar brand's magazine, Fender Magazine. The judges singled it out as "the perfect example of content marketing".
Seven, Redwood, Wardour and August were the most successful content marketing agencies of the night, each taking home a clutch of three awards. Additionally, on the winner's roster were a number of international agencies including Spoon Publishing from Sweden who won two awards and Head Office from Belgium.
The awards followed CMA's International Content Summit which centred on the issue of brand storytelling. The Summit kicked-off with an opening address by CMA's CEO Patrick Fuller, was hosted by BBC's Stephanie McGovern, and saw business stalwarts such as Brice Bay (Sofitel Luxury Hotels), Toby Guiducci (The Met Office), Claire Hilton (Barclays), Matthew Taylor (Royal Society of Arts) and Dave Trott (CSTTG) took the stage to inspire and educate delegates moving into 2013. We were also treated to speeches by content marketers such as Story Worldwide's Jon King and Nicola Murphy, CEO of The River Group on the future of content and how to monetise it.
Read more about the International Content Marketing Summit 2012 talks here.
In other members' news this week: Plumb Center and Parts Center has hired Redactive Media Group to launch a customer magazine for its brands. Plumb Parts magazine will be published quarterly and be distributed to 50,000 customers via point of sale dispensers in over 500 branches nationwide and by post. The magazine is designed to enhance customer engagement and loyalty; support product sales and promote Plumb Center and Parts Center initiatives.
Redactive has also created a supporting website for the magazine, www.plumbpartsmagazine.co.uk, which will broaden the magazine's reach and capture prospect data.
Meanwhile award-winning content marketing agency August has launched a microsite for international cruise operator for P&O Cruises. The launch follows the unprecedented success of their printed magazine, Our World which has been responsible for an amazing uplift in bookings and has received a record response from readers since it launched in March 2012.
The microsite will feature inspiring travel and lifestyle content as well as the latest news from P&O Cruises. It will be promoted within the magazine and also emailed to P&O's many subscribers. Relevant calls to action on each page will push people from the microsite to the P&O Cruises website where people will be able to book their holiday.
Christmas is only three weeks away and most of us are getting rather festive, including John Brown which has created a Christmas Shopping app for its long-standing client Heal's. The Heal's Gift Finder app provides inspirational gift ideas from across the store, allowing users to simply shake the interactive snow globe to see what the gift app picks for them, then purchase gifts easily and instantly from the Heal's mobile website. John Brown - which publishes Heal's customer-facing print material - collaborated with app development agency Ideawell, to produce an intuitive app to help customers find gifts quickly and easily, providing users with inspiration and a polished, consistent experience that is fun, and chimes seamlessly with the Heal's brand.
This is Heal's first venture into the world of apps and is proving to be a useful dual-purpose sales tool for the retail store. Find the app here.
If you want your content marketing to be a success you have to be shareworthy says Susan Gunelius at Forbes.com. She notes that every piece of content should be created with a focused goal - content that people will want to share with their own audiences. What makes content shareworthy in Susan's opinion? "Shareworthy content can spread much wider than low-quality, dull and useless content. With that in mind, shareworthy content must be useful, meaningful, and relevant to your audience. If your content doesn't interest them and deliver value to them, they won't want to share it across the social web on their websites, blogs, Twitter profiles, Facebook Profiles and Pages, LinkedIn Profiles and Pages, and so on," she notes. Susan continues: "To create shareworthy content, you need to understand what is meaningful and useful to your target audience. That means you need to spend time listening to them online so you can hear what gets them talking and sharing. Once you know what type of content motivates them and makes them feel something (enough to want to share it), you can begin creating more and more of that kind of content." Read the article in full here.
Marketing website Warc has this week looked at how content marketing is benefiting big brands, focusing on brands like American Express, Virgin Mobile and L'Oréal which are all making greater use of content marketing as an increasingly important way to engage with internet users. Also mentioned in the article is Renaissance Hotels, which launched a new engagement platform, ‘Navigators' and social channels in May this year, so that guests can interact with each other.
"As a global brand with limited awareness and limited marketing budget, we have to find ways to be relevant and drive consideration," said Dan Vinh, VP, global marketing, for Renaissance Hotels. "Content is critical for us because it's the currency that drives our relevance and therefore consumer consideration for our brand."
If you are looking for a new channel to promote branded content via the web, you ought to consider social-photosharing site and app Instagram. As content marketing agency Brafton notes on its blog, "Visual media grabs consumers' attention and compels people to engage with content, whether "liking" a photo on a social site or sharing it with friends and family." In an effort to make Instagram a service that consumers access through web browsers, the network recently announced badges, a tool that helps promote Instagram web profiles. The add-on button is aimed at helping marketers, "showcase [their] brand and the content [they] share on Instagram," says the company. The new feature makes it easier to incorporate Instagram branded content on any website, blog or online presence. Instagram users can access the badges feature by navigating to the drop down menu after clicking their profile names. This latest update makes the social service a more recognisable network as internet users who don't own smartphones or use the site can view the media shared on the network. Are you already using Instagram in your branded marketing activities?
With social networks now a crucial part of brands' marketing activity, they now have to prove themselves as proper, sustainable commercial businesses says John V Willshire, founder of Smithery, an innovation works for marketing and product development, on marketingmagazine.co.uk. John notes that the social networks are constantly evolving with both Facebook and Twitter changing its structure in a bid to make money, and brands are finding out how to create marketing that works in these realms. One way brands can improve their output is to "learn from the Vikings", John points out. "Not just warrior raiders of popular myth, Vikings were explorers who would colonise areas for a time, work within the local society and learn all they could. They would take all this new knowledge and continually send it back home. Then, when there was nothing more to be gained, they would leave and make their way back to their improved homelands."
John urges brands to not be a "social network colonist" and move on to the Brave New World and stay there forever but to be a Viking and learn what you can for as long as it is worth your while, then get out. Do you agree?
And lastly this week, content and commerce collide as Grazia relaunches its iPad edition. Paid Content's Rob Andrew notes that "many publishers are beginning to realize the prospect of selling stuff to readers." Rob continues: "One of the great emerging prospects in digital media is the fusion of content publishing and ecommerce." And popular women's magazine Grazia is now the latest to jump on this trend, by reorienting its iPad edition as a fashion and beauty salesroom.
The UK title has launched a new ‘shoppable' iPad edition which, according to its publisher "enables the reader to buy items directly from Grazia's influential fashion pages, acting on impulse as soon as they see items on screen. They will also be able to link through to purchase everything from theatre and gig tickets to books and technology products." Grazia's ‘click and shop' feature is powered by PopSugar's Shopstyle, and revenue is split between the two. Could partnerships with premium brands bring innovative new advertising solutions and a new way to monetise audiences?
The iPad edition sells for £1.99 (per edition) through the Apple Newsstand.