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Like Japanese Knotweed, 'content' should come with its own health warning.
Have you ever been to a conference, or read an article in a marketing magazine and heard the phrase ‘content is king’?
I will tell you who hasn’t heard the phrase ‘content is king’. That is people.
Living now, right here in the 21st century we’ve created our own perfect version of hell.
A world where we have become so distracted by the petulant shouts and screams of advertising messages that we ignore our own children, partners and friends.
Don’t worry about sleep! Get sucked into another Reddit wormhole.
Drop your phone down the toilet as your concentration lapses whilst scrolling endlessly through Instagram!
Be interrupted for the 11th time in 45minutes whilst you are listening to music/watching TV/reading an online paper.
CONTENT IS THE DISEASE OF THE 21ST CENTURY.
IT IS LIKE JAPANESE KNOTWEED.
A weed deemed so dangerous and invasive that you can’t even get a mortgage on a house that has it.
Like knotweed - where content thrives it suffocates everything else around it. You can’t just pull it up because 50 more bits of content will sprout up in its place, seeding and re-seeding itself until all is just a mirage of re-hashed bollocks that no one needs or cares about.
The thing is, that by making more of this stuff you are literally punching yourself in the face. Studies have shown that the cognitive losses involved in looking at your phone are worse than those of smoking a joint. Literally the opposite of brand building.
Good brand building requires two things.
You’ve got to be distinct from everyone else to be noticed and you’ve got to remain lodged in someone’s brain for future references when they might be considering buying something from your category.
The challenge is that the more content we produce, the harder it is for anyone to see anything because content is like heavy smog. It is impenetrable, and the oxygen depletion involved makes us more stupid.
The more content people produce the more it shapes the kinds of marketing we do, and the more the narrative is driven by simply the idea of producing content.
You can imagine how such conversations go:
“Oh we should totally do x,y,z that will make amazing content’.
“That will literally look amazing on Instagram.”
CONTENT HAS BECOME THE MEANS AND THE END.
The result is that for the rest of us in the real world, everything becomes shittier.
Your experiences online are more annoying.
Your experiences at work are more interrupted.
Your distractedness around your own family is made worse.
When content is your obsession you forget about things that actually matter.
Like good brand experiences.
I went to a Justin Timberlake gig the other night at the O2 - it was ace.
As per usual the queues for the bars were unreasonable and they mostly serve beer anyway which isn’t my drink.
Then I spotted a new bar, called ‘The Schweppes Ultimate Mixer”, a bar selling spirits and Schweppes mixers. They encourage you to try adding a twist to your usual drink and thus provide the ultimate spirit/mixer experience.
I actually did a jig, I’m a G&T girl so the thought of not having to queue for an over-priced crap G&T from the beer bar filled me with great joy.
The menu showed all the options, there were pictures of heavily garnished G&T’s looking 50 shades of delicious and at £7 each, I felt like I was going to get an expensive but ultimately great drink. This for me represents good value.
I ordered two.
What I got, was a plastic cup of gin with a warm small can of tonic.
No garnish. Not even a drop of lime.
Not even the smallest hint of care.
I was once served a G&T by a man called Ian (who had only one tooth), in a social club in the arse end of Wiltshire. I paid £1.50 for it and it was delivered with more aplomb and significantly more care than these mugs.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised but this for me represents the problem of content. The whole experience was designed to look good in ‘content’.
It was all for show.
When content drives the conversation everyone forgets about what it is really like to make products and services that actually work.
Like Japanese Knotweed, content should come with it’s own health warning and a threat to withdraw investment should it be detected within 100ft of the brand. It befuddles those that work on brands and causes them to chase wildly spurious ideas that fix nothing for real life people.
We’ve got plenty of problems in the world today.
We don’t need more bad G&T’s in the world contributing to that.