In Today’s Digital Landscape, Brands Need Long-Term Strategic Content Partners

David Bates, Managing Director, ATKPLN


In the 30 years I’ve worked in design, branding, and marketing, I’ve seen multiple instances of seismic change that forever impacted our industry. In these instances, the companies that survive are most often those that are exceptionally good at what they do or those who are agile enough to adapt and evolve. These times often shine a light on flaws in current practices. While these methodologies may have come to be for very good reasons, they often outlive their purpose. During these times of upheaval, companies often react in one of three ways:


  1. Resistance: Pushing back against the changes and doubling down on existing ideals and approaches. This works, sometimes for those who are exceptional, but most often results in a company becoming irrelevant and eventually failing.


  1. Pivot: Swinging pendulum-like to a new or different approach that has merit but is accompanied with great risk. Success usually depends on the company’s appetite for difficulty in weathering the evolution to a new approach.


  1. Hybrid: Setting long term goals for change, but implementing manageable, hybrid steps that move in the appropriate direction. Companies that embrace long-term focus with interim solutions seem to most often have the ability to weather changes.


To say that brand marketing demands have changed since the early ‘Mad Men’ days of advertising is an understatement, but most of the methods for producing content in the marketplace have remained the same. The clash between old school process and current needs can cost campaigns in quality and much more. If brand content needs are growing, a rethought and revitalized creative process will not only optimize the volume of their creative output, but also continue to elevate a consistent core ethos. New needs call for new measures, and This is where a more flexible, hybrid approach can become key for long term success.


To meet the constantly shifting and growing demands for fresh content, brands must objectively look at what they can realistically execute internally to determine how external partners can best supplement those capabilities. Since the content needs for brands are constantly changing, evolving thinking to embrace a long-term strategic content partner can be an advantageous approach to address holistic content needs. Since audiences consume content much differently than the early days of broadcast advertising, advertising needs a total plan shift that truly addresses not just whether the work is being handled by an internal or external agency, but how evolving content needs can be quickly addressed to meet overarching brand goals. A toggle switch choice of internal vs. external simply doesn’t account for all needs. Supplementing these choices by aligning with a strategic content partner beyond single spots or campaigns, brands are able to more effectively keep up with the high volume of content they need, while still retaining consistency in production value. Consumers are far more savvy than in past years, and brand inconsistencies are often quickly spotted and shared on global platforms. Having strategic partners walking alongside can significantly help with both quantity, quality, and consistency of content output.