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'It's do this or die' - Adjust Your Set ECD on why all brands need to be thinking about content marketing

Taking a leap and getting involved in the world of content marketing and branded entertainment is a case of “do this or die” warned executive creative director of Adjust Your Set, Will Barnett.

“It’s too easy to fast forward or click away from an ad. Today, people create their own schedule, their own curated view of the world and their own shared peer-to-peer passions and ideas,” explained Barnett, who is serving as a judge on the panel for the inaugural The Drum Content Awards.

“With content brands can be more human in their communication and talk about what people are interested in, not just about themselves.”

A marketing buzzword of recent years, Barnett admitted the term content is still seen as a bit of a “catchall” which can leave brands confused by what good content marketing actually is.

“It [content] needs clear direction, a clear purpose and a good idea,” he said. “Then out of that we can develop new and engaging ways of telling the brand story.”

Having been with Adjust Your Set for the last six years, Barnett has seen the world of content marketing evolve first hand; helping clients including Marks and Spencer, HSBC and Bacardi make the most of their content, adding there are no brands or industries that wouldn’t benefit from content creation.

“[By creating content] brands can become more agile and reactive and, of course, digital creates data so chief marketing officers can target audiences more specifically, leading to quality engagement and measurable ROI.”

Of content done well Barnett taps The Lego Movie, Always ‘Like a Girl’ and Intel’s ‘Power Inside’ as work “I wish I’d created” adding on the flipside Vogue’s ’73 Questions with Victoria Beckham’ was a “shocker”.

“Content gives us the opportunity to build stories rather than just tell them. To create innovative campaigns, formats and editorial that are in sync with how consumers behave today,” he added.

“We need to be creating things people would want to watch, read, spend time with and share. Brands are starting to behave like broadcasters, and broadcasters are starting to behave like brands.”

As a judge Barnett said he’ll be watching for “originality and creativity” and is hopeful for some “I wish I did it” moments. However, he warned those who are thinking of entering to steer clear of clichés – “Twitter went crazy for the idea” – in their case studies.

“Brand storytelling with a narrative in its DNA, clear messaging and does it make a contribution to society is what I’ll be looking for.”

The Drum Content Awards are open for entry until Friday 7 August. To find out more about the awards, categories, judges and how to enter visit The Drum Content Awards website.

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Gillian West

Gillian West is The Drum’s social media manager and works to ensure The Drum’s content reaches followers across platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram in an engaging, relevant and timely manner. Based in Glasgow, she has been actively involved in building The Drum’s Creative Works brand for over three years now and has interviewed major creative figures including Rankin, Peter Souter, Rosie Arnold, Bob Greenberg and Vicki Maguire. During her time at The Drum she has attended events such as Cannes Lions, the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Art Director’s Club Europe, D&AD and more.

All by Gillian