11th July 2011, by Andrew Bowyer
Making Content Creation Work For Your Brands
Brand Director Mark Given talked about how Fosters decided to become a “leading voice in UK comedy”, creating a brand platform that consumers could believe in to turn them into ‘Choosers’.Content marketing is a big topic at the moment and ad-funded content always makes for interesting case studies. Mark did not disappoint, with an honest and detailed account of the Fosters Funny strategy.
I’ve attempted to play back the key points from his presentation – hopefully we’ll have a SlideShare to follow soon. I’d love to disagree passionately about every detail but the fact is I wanted to share this because it’s pretty spot on.
The 4% lager market is crowded and dominated by promotions. Supermarket customers scan for offers before selecting their purchase. Fosters needed to move beyond price promotion. The holy grail in beer marketing is to turn an inherently disloyal consumer into a Chooser – one that reviews the bar taps and says “pint of Fosters, please”.
Without a clear brand identity and a set of values to align themselves with, consumers have a hard time building affinity with a beer brand. For a long time, Fosters lacked a brand platform – something that the consumer cares about. Mark was honest in admitting that this had troubled Fosters for a long time.
The brief: develop a brand platform to convince Tribal Drinkers (the target audience) to choose Fosters.
Sport is over-crowded, music has better-suited partners and food just doesn’t fit. Comedy, however, does. Furthermore, it’s finally living up to its ‘new rock & roll’ badge, growing in online popularity and social potency. So Fosters developed a long-term strategy to ‘own’ UK comedy and develop from a purveyor to a creator of quality content.
The word ‘creator’ is key here.
The strategy relied on the same three ingredients that are (or should be) at the heart of content marketing:
- Awareness Sponsorship of comedy on 4.
- Credibility Grass roots investment through the Fosters Comedy Award.
- Engagement Create new comedy, ‘Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge’.
The opportunity arose to work with Steve Coogan and Baby Cow, and Mid Morning Matters (an original Alan Partridge series) was created to go live on Fridays on the Fosters Funny website.
Production costs were paid by Fosters, which owned the rights to the show for the duration of the Friday episodes, whereupon the rights revert back to Baby Cow (the original producers of Partridge), which is free to sell on the content with percentage revenue going back to Fosters.
Comedy is divisive and the approach was a risky one. What is interesting – and maybe a testament to the culture at Heineken UK – the internal sell-in was not the biggest challenge. Senior management were involved at the earliest stages and were prepared for flak. The comedy community can be unforgiving, with Stuart Lee one of the outspoken critics.
The biggest challenges were the contractual and rights issues, and Mark is proud of Fosters’ work to climb the learning curve, securing the services of an ex-music industry consultant to work with them and Baby Cow to develop contractual agreements.
The presentation wound up with golden rules. Everybody loves a golden rule.
- Get the basics right, and understand your objectives and your strategy.
- Think long-term. Fosters are using a 5-10-year plan.
- What are you bringing to the party? How are you contributing?
- Quality is everything. Without quality, you have nothing.
- Leverage PR.
- Get your contracts right and secure access to talent.
- Create a seamless consumer journey joined by the content.
- Be brave. They only saw the finished video 2 days before airing.
We finished with questions that understandably sounded a lot like “how much?” (“not telling you!”) and “how do we measure this?”, which I’ll cover in our round-up of the forum.
With such a well-prepared presentation and a great preview of the new Vic & Bob show, this one was a success. Next up is Mike Hoban from Confused.com talking about in-house advertising.
Have your questions answered direct from the Brand Republic Forum. Leave a comment below or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday, you may have seen Havas Media's 'Meaningful Brands' study. There’s a lovely infographic summarising it here.
You’ve created a fantastic product. The technology is truly cutting edge, the design is ultra-slick and the market is drooling. What do you then do? Throw it in a Jiffy Bag and get it out there? Fail.