SO­CIAL LES­SONS

CON­TENT& CO IS A SO­CIAL ME­DIA AGENCY BORN OUT OF THE BRAND BUILD­ING NEEDS OF LEWIS ROAD CREAM­ERY. THREE YEARS ON, ITS FOUNDERS ARE IN AWE OF ITS ABIL­ITY TO RIDE THE SO­CIAL ME­DIA WAVE.

NZ Business - - CONTENTS - BY G L E NN BAKER GLENN BAKER IS EDI­TOR OF NZBUSINESS.

Con­tent&Co is a so­cial me­dia agency born out of the brand build­ing needs of Lewis Road Cream­ery. To­day it’s rid­ing the so­cial me­dia wave.

When you’re in charge of an emerg­ing bev­er­age brand look­ing to en­gage a so­cial me­dia agency ca­pable of pro­duc­ing in­sight­ful, high im­pact con­tent – but you’re un­able to find one – what do you do? In 2015, with their leg­endary prod­ucts about to se­ri­ously dis­rupt the lo­cal mar­ket, Lewis Road Cream­ery’s An­gela Weeks and Peter Cul­li­nane de­cided to stop look­ing for an agency and cre­ate their own.

Both had ad­ver­tis­ing back­grounds, so they had a nat­u­ral head start. Con­tent&Co was born.

An­gela and Peter quickly re­alised they couldn’t be both client and agency so they en­gaged a team to look af­ter their baby.

Twelve months af­ter launch­ing Con­tent&Co Maya Brown came on board as GM to spear­head the man­age­ment of the busi­ness and morph it from con­tent pro­duc­tion agency to one of­fer­ing so­cial me­dia strat­egy, ex­e­cu­tion and me­dia plan­ning.

“We wanted to cre­ate a busi­ness that could con­tin­u­ally serve up high qual­ity con­tent for our dig­i­tal plat­forms,” re­calls Peter. “A busi­ness that would al­low for a seam­less re­la­tion­ship of de­liv­ery of as­sets but also stand on its own two feet from day one.

“For us it’s al­ways about peo­ple and the most chal­leng­ing and dif­fi­cult as­pect of set­ting up Con­tent&Co was find­ing the right mix of tal­ent,” he says. “The ideal com­bi­na­tion of at­ti­tude and ap­ti­tude.”

Maya, who had been global mar­ket­ing man­ager for Ice­breaker NZ over five years, was look­ing for a change and saw Con­tent&Co as her next big chal­lenge.

“The busi­ness had only been go­ing a year and was work­ing with just a hand­ful of clients. The goal was to broaden the client base, as

well as the of­fer­ing and re­ally es­tab­lish the com­pany as a leader in the so­cial space,” she re­calls.

“Con­tent&Co started out cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful con­tent for brands, and it was just a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion to evolve into a full ser­vice so­cial me­dia agency.

“We’d cre­ate these lovely im­ages for [clients] to use across so­cial but there was no strat­egy be­hind what they were post­ing and no me­dia plan. So we brought on the right re­source and started own­ing the brief from the be­gin­ning – de­vel­op­ing the strat­egy, cre­at­ing the con­tent and a post­ing plan with sup­port­ing so­cial me­dia spend.

“The full-ser­vice of­fer­ing is what has re­ally driven our growth over the past year or so,” says Maya.

An­other rea­son Con­tent&Co is suc­cess­ful is be­cause they re­ally ‘get’ so­cial and are geared up to ser­vice it.

“Brands need con­tent that is so­cially sticky, and lots of it, be­cause the life­time of a piece of con­tent is short,” ex­plains Maya. “We un­der­stand the need for a con­stant va­ri­ety of fresh con­tent that is high qual­ity but also af­ford­able – every video doesn’t need to be a TV ad­vert. Hav­ing said that, you don’t want to give up the brand stan­dards on so­cial. There has to be a bal­ance.”

SO­CIAL AD­VICE

Maya says so­cial me­dia is a fast-chang­ing in­dus­try and it’s im­por­tant to keep up.

“One ex­am­ple is Face­book re­cently chang­ing its al­go­rithm again, in an ef­fort to pri­ori­tise ‘mean­ing­ful’ per­son-to-per­son in­ter­ac­tions among friends and fam­ily. This means or­ganic reach drops even fur­ther for brands.

“Busi­nesses must be more strate­gic about the con­tent they post, be­cause posts that pro­mote mean­ing­ful connections and in­ter­ac­tions among peo­ple will be pri­ori­tised in the news feed.

“Have good con­tent that is rel­e­vant to so­cial. Large-scale ad cam­paigns de­signed for bill­boards won’t cut it as the only so­cial con­tent dur­ing a cam­paign – it needs to be sup­ported with snack­able posts that are vis­ually ap­peal­ing.

“On so­cial peo­ple judge a book by its cover and sim­ply won’t fol­low an un­ap­peal­ing so­cial feed,” says Maya.

Peo­ple of­ten have the wrong ap­proach to so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing – with the KPIs of sim­ply in­creas­ing likes and fol­low­ers. But this doesn’t di­rectly trans­late into more leads or sales, she adds.

“With the re­cent changes in Face­book we also pose the ques­tion of whether it’s bet­ter to use a paid ad­ver­tis­ing strat­egy to gen­er­ate likes and a fan base or – be­cause you can’t reach many or­gan­i­cally any­way – are you bet­ter putting that money into boost­ing your con­tent to reach your tar­get au­di­ence?

“It’s also im­por­tant to have qual­ity fol­low­ers. Hav­ing 1000 that have joined be­cause of a com­pe­ti­tion lure won’t en­gage; they won’t be hot leads and likely won’t lead to sales.

“Rather have 200 that have fol­lowed be­cause your con­tent and brand is rel­e­vant to them and they res­onate with the con­tent you’re post­ing.”

Rather than try to do too much on so­cial across too many plat­forms and get an av­er­age re­sult, it’s bet­ter to do your re­search into which plat­forms work best for your brand and at­tract the big­gest tar­get au­di­ence, says Maya. Then fo­cus on do­ing a few re­ally well.

DE­VEL­OP­ING LAND­SCAPE

Look­ing back over the past three years Peter Cul­li­nane says Lewis Road Cream­ery “lives and dies” by its so­cial me­dia in­ter­play and Con­tent&Co has never dropped the ball.

“We set the busi­ness up based on this need, de­lib­er­ately stepped away and let it fly. We’re re­ally in awe of what it’s do­ing.”

There’s no doubt the so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing land­scape will con­tinue to de­velop. So­cial is the new world of brand com­mu­ni­ca­tion and un­ques­tion­ably it will re­de­fine the in­dus­try even fur­ther, be­lieves Cul­li­nane.

Con­tent&Co’s op­por­tu­nity is to not only sat­isfy the needs of Lewis Road Cream­ery and other clients (Tril­ogy and Dole are two other brands it works with) but be open to other like-minded clients go­ing for­ward, he says.

Maya be­lieves brands will con­tinue to need a strong pres­ence on so­cial, to el­e­vate their suc­cess and in­crease ex­po­sure.

“We’ll look to con­tin­u­ally im­prove our me­dia plan­ning of­fer­ing as paid strate­gies on so­cial will con­tinue to grow in im­por­tance and we’d as­sume that, as a re­sult, Face­book will also evolve and im­prove its ad of­fer­ing and re­port­ing func­tion­al­ity.”

MAYA BROWN

PETER CUL­LI­NANE

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