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Brand Storytelling: A Docu-Series

This January, eighty brand marketing executives, and their agency partners were invited to Park City, Utah to participate in a first-ever Brand Storytelling event held in association with the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. These invited guests were chosen because they are the people pioneering a new era in advertising, media, and marketing. These are the individuals leading efforts in shifting investments away from interruptive messaging, and towards content that delivers value. They are leading efforts to create content that informs, enlightens, entertains, thrills, and endears consumers with their brands. Our job was to host this group in Park City for the first weekend of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and create a forum where marketers could meet with peers, filmmakers, creators, influencers, and media partners. It was a highly charged crowd of brand storytellers and their cast and crew that gathered for four days. We took the opportunity to talk to a couple dozen of them, capturing over 13 hours of interview content. Now, we are near releasing a five-part docu-series that captures the perspective and insights of this highly-charged group, all captured during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

-- Can Brands Create Content that Makes Money? That seems to be the concept that a few brands are pursuing. As CFOs and procurement teams are looking for more ways to cut costs to increase profitability, along comes a new idea; “let’s build content creation competency that can produce branded content while at the same time creating content we can actually monetize.” Just read what Pepsi is doing with Creators League: Pop Star: PepsiCo Makes Big Bet on In-House Content Creation "Our goal is to really behave like a Hollywood studio," said Mr. Jakeman, president of PepsiCo's global beverage group. That sounds familiar. I think we heard David Beebe, VP Global Creative + Content Marketing at Marriott International tell us the same thing.

So, to follow the reasoning here, brands must make an investment in staff and resources to become content machines, producing all sorts of content to engage today’s social media, anti-interruptive advertising consumer. Why not offset the cost of that investment by developing un-branded content that can be monetized in the same manner as a traditional Hollywood Studio? Certainly, that is what Pepsico and Marriott are aiming to do. Who will be next? Interestingly, a major global CPG company has a marketing executive that carries the title “Global Head of Content & Media Monetization.” Media Monetization? What? Huh? Stay tuned…the story is unfolding every day and we will do the best we can to bring it to you. -- Watch for weekly news updates from Brand Storytelling in your inbox, and share this with other storytellers in your network. Of course, if you’d like to contribute to the story, I'd love to hear from you. Email me:

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