Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Marketing's New Mission: Engage and Entertain: Insights on Brand Storytelling from Emmy Award-Winning Expert David Beebe

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Marketing's New Mission: Engage and Entertain: Insights on Brand Storytelling from Emmy Award-Winning Expert David Beebe

Article excerpt

Ever heard of an Emmy-winning marketer? Meet David Beebe. His long list of awards and accolades includes a couple of Emmys from his time running the content studio for Disney/ABC Television. And it all makes sense when you see his work as a branded content producer, content strategist and trail guide on the wild frontier of content marketing and brand journalism. (Just for fun, you may want to binge-watch his short films on YouTube, including the three-part Two Bellmen, produced for the J.W. Marriott brand.)

Described by AdWeek as a "branded content master who makes it OK to love marketing," Beebe will be presenting the opening keynote at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference in New Orleans this month.

Q: Your film series for Marriott bears no resemblance I to advertising--in fact, it's such an entertaining spectacle that it's easy to forget that it's branded content. What's the rationale for that approach?

A: Short film is an effective type of light-touch content marketing. To make it work, the brand needs to be a natural part of the story--like a character--not something that's superimposed onto a pre-existing plot line. In the Marriott films, you see the hotel features and benefits--the restaurants, the pool, the services--without interrupting the story. In today's world, brands need to stop interrupting what consumers are interested in, and become what they are interested in.

There's no argument--traditional, interruptive marketing no longer engages people. That's because technology enables all of us to choose when, where, and how we interact with brands. When you're entertaining people, informing them, or solving a problem, then you're engaging with people.

Marketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won't be a second. You have to build a relationship before you can ask for a commitment. You have to show that you have something of value to offer before people will engage.

Q: How do you measure the ROI of a project like that?

A: There are many ways to measure ROI. But before taking any measurements, it's important for marketers to first understand the intended purpose of the content. It could be to introduce a brand, drive engagement, drive revenue or any combination of those things. Once you've determined what you're trying to do, then you measure whether it's successful or not.

For film, engagement is the most important measurement. It has to go beyond views. Are viewers sharing it? Are they talking about it? Are they liking it? How are they responding? You can buy views now, so those aren't as meaningful. Having 100,000 views with 80 percent engagement is better than having 1 million views with 10 percent engagement.

I developed what I call "the 3C strategy." I use this with every brand I work with to develop content and creative: content, community, commerce. First, a brand needs to scale content of all types, then build a community around it, and finally create commerce from the community.

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Q: Although your films are considered shorts, the longest runs just over 35 minutes. How do you reconcile that with the supposed eight-second attention span of the average online consumer?

A: The consumer's attention span is short. But think of it this way: a brand has eight seconds to get the consumer's attention and to convince them the content is worth their time. They're bombarded by content all day long. TV ads, radio, email, IMs, texts. …

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