Are Big Brands Trained to Distribute Content Like a Consumer?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Salvatore Salpietro, who is based out of New York City and is the CTO at ISEBOX Ltd, a content publishing platform for brands and agencies used by Procter & Gamble, adidas, Endemol and many others. He also plays guitar in NYC indie-rock band All in Italy. You can find Salvatore on Twitter at @zepcatsal, @ISEBOXdotNET

In our daily personal lives, we use things like Gmail, eBay, Amazon, and Wikipedia. In our daily lives we’re consumers. We use tools developed to satisfy our limited requirements. If I want to share a video of my dog doing tricks, I’ll post it on YouTube. I’m not too worried about advertisements, links to unrelated videos, comments or popularity statistics being public. And the thought hasn’t even crossed my mind to make the video easily downloadable by TV programming directors, newspapers, or other non-online media outlets to multiply my exposure. That’s not what I’m setting out to do when posting on YouTube.

But the Big Brands – these are all concerns of theirs, aren’t they? Or are they? Let’s look at the Coca-Cola YouTube Channel. They certainly wouldn’t allow me to see how popular the video is, or how many people like it – surely that would be intelligence the consumer shouldn’t know about. And most definitely they wouldn’t allow advertisements from other brands on the same page. That can’t be right when in every other area they are obsessive about protecting their brand. And why would they want the temptation of non-related videos – like a Duracell brand video – sitting alongside theirs and threatening to take the viewer off the page?

Ads from other mega-brands (Procter & Gamble) and popularity information on a Coca-Cola Channel YouTube video

But that’s what has happened – rightly or wrongly. Big Brands have adopted consumer-grade platforms as their main outlets for distributing content. And they’re finding major roadblocks, time and again. The largest of these surrounding the inability to provide video download, and (confidentially) tracking download and traffic activity. Not to mention conceding ownership and loss of brand control.

Since Big Brands are using (wonderful) tools like YouTube for everything video-related, a YouTube link gets slapped onto press releases, sent to journalists, and to television stations in hopes of getting some coverage. But, obviously the video will be “online quality” – not for broadcast – and requires a hack to download anything. Plus all of the same issues highlighted at the outset of this article. Not really ideal for the business-to-business content delivery.

When a Big Brand has an online media center, digital press office, or whatever the name-of-the-day might be, it’s almost always difficult to navigate and frustrating. Why aren’t tools that make it “YouTube Easy” to view video being sought out more by Big Brands? Why aren’t tools that address issues like branding control, popularity/statistic confidentiality, and video download and distribution more ubiquitous for their specific audiences? They should be. There are a few out there. But these Big Brands have been trained by us – the consumer. We use it for our stuff, so they want to use it for theirs. And it’s awkward.

I run the technical operations for a platform that has been addressing this issue – but still has some way to go. And luckily (for them and their target audience) some Big Brands are catching on. For example, adidas used our platform to distribute content (images, video, documents) surrounding the Stella McCartney designed Great Britain Olympic team uniforms, and it was a breath of fresh air for them. They were no longer constrained by consumer-grade platform issues.

The question is (and I don’t have the answer): Is it correct for brands to have one platform to reach everyone? Or should there be one to reach their consumers, and another for “business to business” content delivery? Or will the two eventually merge and the needs for both become one and the same? So far, it seems like the student is teaching the master, and Big Brands are taking cues from their customers and adapting it to every cycle of their content distribution. It feels more broad-brushstroke than strategic.  More kneejerk than tactical. Rightly or wrongly. Either way, both sides are currently leaving something to be desired in the process.

There are 2 comments. Comment?

  • It just appears Coke micromanaging their youtube page isn’t a priority. There might not be an immediately discernible percentage that would necessitate putting blinders on their consumers. And it wouldn’t be “cool” for a company of that size to be greedy with their viewership on youtube; of all platforms. On the other hand– I believe that kind of management would serve certain burgeoning companies very well. A quiet place to view a polished product. A presentation. Coke will always dominate a crowded room. A smaller company will need to engage customers in a much more controlled environment.

    • I agree – it isn’t always necessary to withhold that information or keep the consumer in the dark. The real question for me has been the reasoning behind using these tools for b2b comms and content distribution… when they are clearly tools aimed at consumers. Point duly noted re: small brands and companies that have a different set of engagement needs than the “Cokes” of the world.

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