Raconteur’s opening event, hosted at The Savoy in London, launched our series with a powerful panel of speakers and keynotes discussing the value of real, independent journalism and editorial in branded content marketing initiatives. The event brought together one hundred of the most senior marketers in the UK to learn how to create branded content that would be trusted and valued by key audiences.
Our panel of speakers included Gideon Spanier (Evening Standard), Andrew Grill (IBM), John Mark Williams (Santander), Tim Cawsey (Gemalto), and Anne Godfrey (CIM), all of whom helped the audience get to grips with the idea of quality journalism in content marketing, and some core tactics they have used for their own projects. Media Editor at the London Evening Standard, Spanier, opened the night with a keynote which claimed, “Every company is now a media company, and every company needs a Head of Content who can set direction for the whole business”. Not only did he set the tone for the evening, he set the expectation that marketing directors shift gears and think of themselves as directors of content for ‘media brands’.
Gideon SpanierMedia Editor, Evening Standard
Andrew GrillGlobal Managing Partner, IBM
John Mark WilliamsHead of Breakthrough, Santander
Anne GodfreyFormer Chief Executive, CIM
Tim CawseyHead of Branded Content, Gemalto
Agreeing with Spanier’s bold statement, Santander’s John Williams confirmed: “We’re a publishing company now.” He knew that if Santander was going to be convincing at advising small business owners on how to make good financing decisions, which is what the Breakthrough Programme aims to do with independent advice and content, they had to get the publishing strategy right.
Including questions and advice from the audience, the major take-away of the panel discussion was that in order to succeed, ‘brands will have to learn to be more like publishers and develop content skills…[and] that marketers will have to create a genuine value exchange.’ It’s in the ‘genuine value exchange’ part that our thesis on the role of journalism comes in – if every company is a media company, every company is a publisher. Businesses must think about audience, about content curation, about commissioning journalists, and about balancing independent content to remove bias and ensure independence.