Turning Customers into Super Fans: Q&A with MOCEAN CCO Greg Harrison

Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, Brand Storytelling

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Turning customers into super fans is no small feat. Tapping into the key tenets of what boosts brand affinity for the casual consumer calls for the delicate integration of data into creative that then moves, educates, and/or inspires. Doing so demands know-how on both sides of the brain, and, most importantly, the ability for the two to work together. Of course this applies to the generation of branded content and entertainment itself, but before one can even get that far, the same powerful combo of information and artistry needs to be deployed from the earliest moments of connecting with and launching a project with a brand. MOCEAN, the west coast integrated entertainment and brand agency, is using both sides of the brain to create brand lift for brands in fashion, film, and more. Brand Storytelling caught up with Greg Harrison, Chief Creative Officer at MOCEAN, to learn more about how the full service agency creates fans and builds community by boosting brand affinity:

What is the great benefit of brands who are open to making brand films?

It’s creating brand love by genuinely entertaining or educating your audience with content that’s meaningful to them, such that they seek it out and want to share it with others.

While there’s ample evidence audiences can be allergic to overt marketing and advertising tactics, those same audiences welcome branded content if it’s authentic, entertaining, and most importantly, relevant to their world.

What are some of the pitfalls that plague brands looking to make really good branded content?

Creating good branded content is different from creating good advertising or marketing, and the pitfalls are often rooted in trying to apply the tenets of the latter to the former.

Effective branded content’s impact is measured in conversation, shares, and sentiment, not in typical ad KPI’s and quarterly sales results. It’s important for brands to be realistic about how branded content is a longer-term play to build a meaningful relationship with your audiences and fans.

Patience and perseverance is key – focus on what your brand has to say and then say it consistently and honestly over time.

Do you typically bring brands story ideas, or do brands bring the ideas to you?

For us it’s worked both ways, but it’s best when it’s a 2-way conversation, discussing both the brand’s mission and voice as well as specific ideas and concepts.

Often, we’ll receive a log line or a content category a brand is interested in exploring and we’ll engage our strategy and creative teams to expand these into creative platforms, then treatments, scripts, digital series bibles and ultimately production plans. For clients we have a history with, knowing their audience, voice and mission often leads to ideas we pitch back to them for new content.

A good example of this back-and-forth is the branded content we’ve created for our long-time client Focus Features. They came to us wanting to rethink the typical interview-based content they were producing for their digital channels. We knew their audiences were cinefiles that love the art and craft of film. They liked the idea of doing something with the locations of their films, which led us to pitching the digital series Reel Destinations, a hosted, film-focused travelog series, which is now on its 14th episode and has spawned two other spinoff series.

How do you get the brands themselves to think differently about their approach to content?

MOCEAN’s unique approach to content stems from our long history working in the entertainment space with major studios and stre