Ricardo Zanella, General Manager LATAM speaks to VoxNews.
Headquartered in London, Green Park Content specializes in Brand Publishing aimed at bringing together creativity, SEO and data intelligence to create branded content hubs that reach an organic public and engage consumers on digital platforms. In Brazil, the organization is headed by Ricardo Zanella, a professional with experience in agencies such as Y&R, Giovanni, FCB (now FCB Brasil), SantaClara, DM9DDB, Africa and Pontomobi (Isobar), where he plunged into the digital world.
As the head of Green Park Content, and with all the changes taking place in the advertising world, Zanella believes that it doesn’t matter how or which medium is used, but “there is always room for good ideas.” With respect to brand content and brand publishing, Zanella believes in consistency, frequency and coherence. “Engagement should ensue from this,” he says.
VoxNews – There is a lot of talk about Brand Content and Brand Publishing today. What are the main differences?
Ricardo Zanella – They are both good strategies, focused on content, aimed at promoting brands/products in a way that is less invasive than advertising. In this age of hyperconnectivity, where brands have to cope daily with ad blocks and skips, both are very interesting strategies and certainly complementary to communication and media strategies.
Regarding the differences, brand content is a strategy for subtly introducing a brand into content relevant to the consumer. Brand publishing is the brand acting as publisher, bringing relevant content to its target over determined areas that make sense for the brand. It’s an ongoing strategy aimed at maintaining your public, an always on.
VoxNews – Which strategy is best for brands? When should a brand use one or the other?
Ricardo Zanella – A lot depends on the goals and timing of each brand. For example, last year Ford used brand content in a web series to launch the Ka Freestyle car, with the goal of portraying a family’s lifestyle on a surf trip. Timely, interesting and with a clear objective. Danone Baby has been using content focused on the day-to-day life of a mother and baby for at least two years, with the aim of keeping its audience engaged in areas relevant to them, maintaining an active relationship with their current and potential consumers.
VoxNews – What kind of results do brands get from both? Tell us about some examples of Green Park Content work.
Ricardo Zanella – In the case of branded content, the results can be more immediate, with a more specific goal like launching a product. In our case, with brand publishing, the results are directly related to frequency and consistency. With the case of Danone Baby, for example, the site’s audience has grown a lot since the work began. Today there are over one million organic hits on their website.
VoxNews – Do consumers perceive the difference between Brand Content and Brand Publishing?
Ricardo Zanella – I don’t think so. In the end, it’s all content. Even in media initiatives, such as with social media, everything is considered content. Not just the consumer, but even the market gets a little confused, putting everything in one basket.
VoxNews – Are brands ready for content use and appropriation? And are consumers?
Ricardo Zanella – Again, it depends. Some are. Take Red Bull, which hasn’t been just an energy drink company for a long time – it’s a content company as well. For me, this is the best example in terms of content appropriation. But, on the other hand, there are brands that are still in their infancy, or perhaps not even at that stage yet, but for sure will soon be more involved in this. For consumers, it’s hard to say, but definitely there are some who are prepared, and others who aren’t yet.
VoxNews – What is most important in creating branded content? Is it always keeping it up to date, or is it engagement? Does one thing lead to the other?
Ricardo Zanella – I believe the most important thing is a clear definition of your goals. Is content part of the strategy or is it just to check out an innovative item? After that, in order of importance, you need to define which areas make sense for the brand, which personas. These areas need to be studied from the perspective of SEO. Is there potential? Do you have a relevant number of searches? And, after that, consistency, frequency and coherence. Engagement should ensue from this.
VoxNews – How do you measure engagement?
Ricardo Zanella – There are some metrics, such as viewer numbers, dwell time, bounce rate and rejection rate, among others. But there are also performance metrics that can be very productive, such as audience potential, number of leads etc. It depends a little on the objective.
VoxNews – Is entertainment part of this engagement strategy?
Ricardo Zanella – Entertainment can be an overall brand strategy, not just for engagement. Theoretically, entertainment has greater potential to engage. But if it’s an immediate action, engagement will be much more about the topic than the brand. Again, consistency and coherence are very important. David Beebe, former Global VP of content marketing for the Marriot hotel chain, often says entertainment is not a 100-meter sprint – it’s a marathon.
VoxNews – Is brand publishing the evolution of traditional advertising or do they complement each other?
Ricardo Zanella – They complement each other. In a country as big as Brazil, where there are completely different realities and habits, media is very important for brands. Brand publishing still has a lot of room to grow and can certainly be an important part of any company’s digital strategy.
VoxNews – There is no buying media with brand publishing. In Brazil, the media is still the main source of revenue for agencies. Are there any restrictions for this reason?
Ricardo Zanella – Perhaps. I won’t get into this area of revenue because it is a very sensitive topic. But, for sure, it ends up restricting a little.
VoxNews – Do content producers need a specialized multidisciplinary team?
Ricardo Zanella – You need specialists. It’s the same as for the big publishers, where the sports person doesn’t talk about the economy, and vice versa. Brand publishing is the same. There are journalists who are more focused on certain topics. The more specialized, the more relevant. In addition, you need multidisciplinary teams that include art directors, photographers, videographers and SEO, planning and management specialists, among others.
VoxNews – How do you see the future of Brazilian advertising with all these specialized areas?
Ricardo Zanella – There will always be a rich future in advertising. I’m still an enthusiast and fan of big campaigns. For me, there is always room for good ideas.