The brand marketing and publishing landscape has changed radically in recent years. Traditional print and broadcast companies have seen their business models disrupted by the internet and social media. Brands, through content marketing and social media are thinking and acting like media companies. Red Bull is one example that comes to mind. Brands are now recognizing that Ad campaigns come and go. Stories endure. Stories attract attention and build an audience that contributes to the conversation and builds consumer engagement.
To quote Pulitzer Price Winning Author and Historian Studs Terkel, “People are hungry for stories. Its part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another”.
As the distinction between brands and publishers becomes increasingly blurred so does the lines between content and commerce. Great content marketing isn’t just about promoting your product or service; it’s about providing a platform for action. The brands that stand out foster genuine community and inspire action around a bigger cause.
One brand that has flourished in this new world is TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). TED is global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading”. TED has created a viral platform for global thought leadership by tapping into people’s innate curiosity and leveraging the power of quality content.
“By combining the principles of radical openness and of leveraging the power of ideas to change the world, Ted is in the process of creating something brand new. I would go so far as to argue that it’s creating a new Harvard – the first top prestige education brand in more than 100 years”. – Anya Kamentz Fast Company
TED’s Mission Statement reads as follows:
“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinking and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other”.
TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event. The annual conference began in 1990. Presentations address a wide range of topics including research, innovation, science and culture presented in a storytelling format. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways. Past presenters include Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Seth Godin to name a few.
Since 2006, the talks have been offered for free viewing online. Its Ted’s embrace of technology to distribute video that makes it stand apart.
One of my favorite TED talks is Simon Sinek “How Great Leader Inspire Action”. Sinek’s main point is that People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. When you have 18 minutes it is well worth watching.
Can you think of any traditional Product Based Brands that have transformed themselves into Media Companies?