Content2013 kicks off in a couple of weeks. One of the speakers is Alistair King, founding creative partner of the King James Group. We asked him a few questions about content marketing, the industry and what he sees as the future of this trade.
What does your role as a founding creative partner of the King James Group involve on a daily basis? And more importantly, what are the challenges SA faces when it comes to being recognised in the fields you specialise in?
I’m a hands-on creative – in the trenches so to speak. I not only work with my creative teams on a daily basis guiding the creative solutions that we eventually present but I also sometimes take the odd brief and solve it personally, just to keep me out of trouble. When your name is on the door you get to influence the strategic direction of brands and so I get involved at that level – that is ultimately where all great advertising starts. The more provocative the strategy, the more powerful the work. Creativity is my life and passion so that’s where I try to focus my energy.
Content marketing is the latest ‘buzz word’ in the marketing and digital industry. What is your definition of Content Marketing?
It might be the new buzzword, but it’s been around in practise for decades in many different guises. It’s found new impetus with the advent of digital media, so that obviously makes it feel like its something new. Digital media obviously gives it more clout than ever before and so its best years are still ahead of it I believe. But the challenge of selling your client’s brands or services remains the same. By my definition, content marketing is not a crude sales pitch. It’s a way of imbuing your brand with a deeper substance. It’s what advertising could and should be, but seldom is.
What role does King James play in this new discipline?
King James has never been a traditional agency. We have had a multi disciplinary approach from the day we started and have added the necessary skills and companies to our group as communication has changed. We’ve had a digital offering for 14 years, a PR offering for 11 years, and a live branding company for eight, to list but a few, so developing content of various forms is intuitive to how we operate. We’ll continue to do whatever feels right for our clients, in the mediums that are most relevant to their challenges.
What, in your opinion, are the most exciting developments in the world of CM? And what campaigns have stood out?
The most excitement development for me is the creative headspace that CM is pushing marketing into. Marketers have developed a lot of rules, regulations and textbook theories over the 120 years that classic advertising has existed, and this cerebral constipation will ultimately destroy it. CM has brought with it that beautiful freedom that comes with anything seemingly new and sexy, and that is what is most exciting about it. I’ll reveal what inspires me at the talk.
What challenges do you/the industry face?
Our challenge never changes. Getting marketers to express their brands in fresh, exciting and provocative ways will always be our single greatest challenge. We have so many incredible new tools at our disposal and persuading marketers to use them in an interested way will come down to our skills of persuasion. Anyone can make content. But making content that is genuinely awesome and inspiring will always be the ultimate challenge as a creative person. In the short term I think our greatest challenge is getting marketers to invest proper money into the creation of quality content. I fear that tons of rubbish will be produced as agencies try to cobble together branded content on budgets that can’t do the idea justice.
What is King James’ focus for the year ahead (CM related)?
We re-invented and re-launched our digital offering last year in the form of PUNK. PUNK and King James work together on everything now so putting out some quality pieces of work is our absolute goal. There’s too much talk and posturing in the market place. Everyone has an opinion on what the future is and how it should be done, but I’m quite bored with it. I’ve told my guys to focus on actually doing it – put the good ideas on the table, make it happen. If it’s good it will be talked about. And that’s ultimately how to be judged
Are South African brands open to try new platforms for content marketing? If yes, can you give us some examples?
It depends on the category, but yes. It will be a slow process growing it however until the viewing figures justify the expense of doing the content properly.
What are you looking forward to most at Content 2013?
I get bored with theory and fighting rhetoric. Too many people are talking and talking about how content should be while not actually doing it themselves. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some real examples of inspiring work.
What will you be sharing with the delegates of the conference? Can you give us a peek into your talk/topic/presentation?
I have a point of view on how my industry is changing and I have some thoughts on how to persuade marketers to embrace CM – and that might be useful to anyone who is battling to get client buy in. I’ll be sharing my experiences as an integrated agency owner in a business that is evolving constantly, so if I can inspire some future great content creation, I’ll be happy.
The full Content 2013 agenda is available on the website.
Content 2013 is taking place on the 25-26 February 2013 at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. Follow on Twitter @Content_2013, #Content2013
Content 2013, SA’s first comprehensive content marketing conference, has just announced their stellar line up of speakers. And as promised, they will be sharing uniquely crafted presentations that address very specific aspects of the content marketing industry.