Content is 60% clutter

Content is 60% clutter

Here’s a solution

There’s an ancient marketing truism that says half of every advertising budget is wasted. The numbers just got worse.

A Havas reveals that 60 per cent of branded content is seen as clutter by its target audience. It was poor, irrelevant or failed to deliver.

This is scarcely an advance.

Maria Garrido, Havas Media Group’s global chief insights and analytics officer, says: “What brands need to do is break down their content, take a step back and ask, for their industry, what the role of content is.”

This is, of course, a statement of the bleedin’ obvious.

I’d say the answer is much simpler. Brands need to offer work people want or need to read and watch.

Far too much time is spent on strategy, segmentation and content-waffle. Not enough on what works.

Indeed, the word “content” might be part of the problem.

It suggests a generic, expandable foam used to plug the gaps in the internet.

“Content” demeans writing, filmmaking and design – as if they were some secondary product that detracts from the essential work of having meetings.

About 10 years ago, people first cottoned on to the idea that high quality, expert, helpful writing and video boosted search rankings. Big creative agencies, digital shops and PR outfits were quick to get in on the act.

Thus, creativity played a poor supporting role to the things those agencies excelled at: strategy, research and charging lots of money. In some cases, the percentage of a client’s budget that goes on the work can be as little as 20 per cent. No wonder it is insipid, stale and dull.

Havas describes its findings as a wake-up call. Very true.

So here’s what to do:

  • Only use an agency run by creatives
  • Pick people who empathise with your audience
  • If there spelling and grammar errors in their emails, don’t hire them (there's probably one in this post)
  • Create writing and video clearly made by real people, with the grain and personality that goes with that
  • Make your people stars – writing should always have a byline
  • Be definitive – decide what you can do really well
  • React to the world – what is happening today that you should be talking about? Urgency is good
  • Don’t spend four weeks pecking at a piece of work until there isn’t a hint of character left. Enjoy it and post it
  • Leave the impression that the people creating your content had fun being helpful. Jokes are good

Our agency Highbrook came into being to do just that. We think it’s the only way to “do” content.

Get our newsletter for insights into modern comms