"The reality for brands is that platforms need great content on a regular basis": HUGE's Martin Harrison talks Empty13

Looking ahead to 2013 and offering his thoughts as to what can be expected during, what has been dubbed 'Empty13' by many within the marketing and communications community, is Martin Harrison, senior planner for global digital agency HUGE.

2013 will see more and more brands begin to focus their time and money on content. “Content” tends to get thrown around with terms like “social media” and “curation,” as a catch-all for a loose set of activities that don’t really add up to a strategy, but almost all online marketing platforms need good content if they are going to be effective.

The problem is that producing good content is difficult. It’s easy to criticise traditional ad agencies for struggling with the challenge of creating good, regular content, but many clients also struggle.

They’re equally set up to make one TV ad every six months to a year, with two or three key campaign shots and some globally approved copy. It can be difficult when you’ve spent a career obsessing over every second of a piece of film to start churning them out weekly.

But the reality for brands today is that platforms need great content on a regular basis. Your YouTube channel isn’t going to work just by updating it regularly and your Facebook page will die unless you’ve got something compelling to share.

So, out of necessity, I think we’ll see brands continue to increase their spending and change the way they are organised in order to start publishing content. Already we see some of our clients introducing new processes, forging new relationships with suppliers (I also think it will be a good year for small production houses) and thinking deeply about how to become publishers, managing content on a global level.

To see an example of how this can work, look at Home Depot’s YouTube channel; its 2,600 videos have been watched more than 36 million times. Popular topics include “How to Select Painting Tools” and “What’s New in Grills”. It’s a brilliant example of how to start producing online video: real employees, just the right level of production, clearly underpinned by a search strategy, and useful.

I expect we will also see a corresponding increase in investment on photography. Years ago when Agent Provocateur displayed all products on actual models it was pretty radical. Now, if you want your products to be pinned to Pinterest, you’re going to have to move from a standard white background catalogue shot to something worth sharing.

Overall, I expect we’ll see investment in video and imagery, coupled with increased utilisation of YouTube and expansion into new image driven platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Brands will continue to use Facebook, as they become more and more comfortable and KPIs start to get defined, I think brands will evolve the way they use it. We’ll see a lot more engaging imagery, commercially focused activity and links to content, and a lot fewer “Hey, it’s Friday!” posts and apps. Fingers crossed.

Find out more about Empty 13 on the official website.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.