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Brand journalism: Why brands are becoming publishers

‘Brand journalism’ is the latest buzz-phrase floating about in B2B. It’s definition? Brands creating content based on the core storytelling principles of journalism.

And with growing sources of endless digital channels to reach, engage and influence bigger audiences, brands are acknowledging that they can become media owners in their own right.

But with these growing opportunities to target prospects, the danger of content saturation is very real and means the brand message could get lost or diluted in the ether. So how do brands get it right?

Authenticity is critical. To achieve genuine thought leadership brands have to gain deeper audience insights to respond effectively to changes in buyer behaviour.

Speaking at this year’s AOP (the Association of Online Publishers) B2B Media & Marketing Conference, Conor Ogle, global head of marketing, global banking and markets, HSBC, said customers value authentic insight, “You can’t fake content – a lack of authenticity is obvious.”

But how do brands instigate creating authentic content? Some brands have repositioned themselves and are trying to evolve as ‘publishers’. This is something that Siemens' director of digital marketing, Stefan Heeke disclosed to conference delegates – revealing Siemens’ decision to hire two journalists from German nationals. Heeke’s opinion that journalists are the best professionals to deliver thought leadership is something I, naturally, agree with.

After all journalists’ role to uphold integrity and objectivity should carry a lot of weight. I got the general feeling that most brands in the room tended to agree with this point, but it was also highlighted that pricing is key and some agencies are now adopting journalistic content production (at a cheaper cost) processes to win work.

Planning and producing editorially-driven content to deliver a consistent brand message to the target audience is core to deepening brand-loyalty and engagement, and it will be interesting to see how brands develop their future content marketing strategies.


Would you rather work with publishers or agencies on content?

Are you adopting journalistic techniques? If so, what results are you seeing?