Forms of Functional Content

October 18, 2020

By Joshua Mathias

Whatever 2020 has thrown at us, it was not enough to slow the march of content-creation. Entire feature films have been shot and aired without the cast and crew ever meeting once! Yes, campaign approvals and execution have slowed, but this is more in response to consumer restrictions than brand willingness.

The pandemic was not without its challenges for content creators. In a survey by Sirkin and NewsCred, 42 per cent of responding leaders said that their teams lacked the bandwidth to quickly create new content. Before we blame the ‘rona for this too, consider that 52 per cent of the respondents in this survey said that managing shifting priorities and strategies is a significant challenge.

The need for agility is probably more critical today than ever before. This agility extends beyond the speed of creating content to also identifying and incorporating new forms of content into the brand arsenal.

Animations are probably the easiest and quickest way to bridge the social distance. Many companies that used to invest in creating full production shoots can now pivot to animation. It can also be produced completely online, from brief to final asset, and is now firmly a part of every creative shop’s offering.

Cinemagraphs are not new, and while recognized when described, the name is probably less familiar. Software capable of creating impactful cinemagraphs are easy to find, and amateurs and novices alike cn easily create these. This is an especially useful approach for brands with a lot of stock imagery, and looking to refresh these into newer formats.

Livestreaming has seen an exceptional increase in popularity in 2020 simply because people sought new ways of interacting and accessing entertainment when sheltering in place. Brands follow to where audiences congregate, and livestreaming has been used effectively for product launches, events and concerts, and so much more.

User-Generated Content is an old favourite, and seeing a return to the spotlight as the connectivity boom has made content creators and media owners of us all. As the only one in this list that is not entirely in the brand’s control, custodians need to institute an engagement strategy for these third-party endorsements.

A strong content strategy requires a creative and agile approach to the forms of content employed. Diversity in formats can ensure longer relevance, improved returns on the original investment, as well as more opportunities to position the brand in fronts of its audiences.