Crowdcentric’s CEO Toby Daniels on Using Content Marketing as a Crucial Tool

toby danielsToby Daniels is the Founder of Social Media Week, and the current CEO of Crowdcentric, a strategy firm that works at the intersection of media, communications, and technology. The company also owns and operates Social Media Week. Daniels has previous experience at ThinkSocial and Mint Digital. The Makegood recently spoke with Daniels about advertisers using content marketing as a crucial tool, as well as the 2014 Super Bowl.

The Makegood: Having just “celebrated” the Super Bowl, what did you find to be the most crucial social media platform? Did you experience a new kind of marketing on any of these social media platforms?

The Super Bowl is a marketer’s dream as it creates a playing field (pun intended) for social media campaigns to thrive and achieve stratospheric levels of reach and scale.

The promise of social media as a real-time amplification channel was highlighted in a significant way in 2013 through the now infamous Oreo “Dunk in the Dark” campaign.  This year, the stakes were raised, and it was interesting to see how the different brands took a more integrated approach to their campaigns.

Real-time marketing is perfect for events on the scale of the Super Bowl, Olympics and World Cup, and it requires teams of people focused on every single imaginable social channel.  But even more importantly, these events offer brands a way to deliver a message through content which then ignites a conversation through social media.  We saw this year during this year Super Bowl with Coca Cola’s America is Beautiful ad, which sparked both controversy and conversion at a scale we’ve never seen before.

The Makegood: Content marketing is becoming more and more popular as advertisers try to strike an emotional chord in their viewers. Which content marketing did you find most successful before, during and directly after the Super Bowl?

It’s true that content marketing is becoming more popular, but it’s still very early for brands and most are still unsure of how to create and publish at the kind of scale they have typically expected from broadcast media.

With Vine, a platform we’ll be highlighting extensively at Social Media Week this February, few brands have been able to effectively master the tool, but I was impressed by Tide’s quick-thinking and effective Vine that questioned from @tide “Adding a puppy to the family @Cheerios? Beware of puppy stains. @Tide #GetsItOut #SB48

Though it’s important to draw the distinction that Tide’s videos were pre-produced based on anticipated events, as opposed to what we’d call true real-time marketing.

Another ad that stood out to me came from Snickers, who bantered with JCPenney. They came across as witty, human and relatable. You also had Cheerio’s bold stand to support diversity, even in the face of backlash in the past. They use the Super Bowl to elaborate on what their brand stands for, and that’s something that  is crucial for brands to understand in social media.

On the content marketing front, I do especially appreciate AdAge’s ranking of the advertising. As commercials roll out, AdAge takes the opportunity to highlight why ads were (or were not) successful.

The Makegood: What did you find to be the most important technology during this Super Bowl? In other words, which advertising and marketing technology succeeded most?

Technology platforms are designed to make executing on campaigns easier; it’s no longer a manual process. As many of you already know, these platforms are more tools in the marketer’s tool belt and can increase the reach and visibility. This Super Bowl for the first time, the use of Vine as a social media platform was a standout. Vine really got a big boost by the use of big brands like Tide, and we expect to see it become much more prominent.

Generally speaking, when it comes to content marketing platforms, I’m impressed by Social Media Week’s brand partner, Percolate. They help brands create and improve content across all channels at scale. This brings efficiency to real-time content creation efforts and enables them to leverage live events like the Super Bowl or the Olympics. In addition, they enable brands to legally and ethically source content from their supporters, which is crucial with any sustainability.

The Makegood: We also have the Olympics to look forward to. Do you believe, this event being held in a different country and culture, that the marketing strategies and advertising will be very different in tone and structure? Do you believe that content marketing has been successful for the Olympics as well?

I do think that there will be opportunities to leverage content marketing and social media around for the Olympics.

Twitter is interesting because it gives us an open channel of communications across geographic and cultural boundaries so that we can connect to other fans and directly to the athletes.

We’re seeing across all sports, including the Olympics, that athletes are already on Twitter and are using it to connect directly with their fans.  As we build up to the event, we’re going to see the level of communication increase overtime.

Any marketing needs to be culturally sensitive and appropriate. Our friends at the IAB excel at educating marketers on this. So, with the Olympics, there will be the opportunity to focus on cross-cultural advertising. Given the political climate in Russia currently, I expect to see more brands taking stances on their core beliefs, like we saw with same-sex marriage recently in the United States or even with Cheerio’s on interracial marriage equality.

Given the time frame and length of the Olympics, content marketing will be crucial to any brand wanting to get involved. If we look back to the London Olympics, many brands were using content marketing. It’s important to remember that content marketing is just another tool and doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions. Just as your brand should be using Twitter regularly, your brand should be engaging in content marketing.

The Makegood: Thank you, Toby.