Power of Content Marketing

Today Kevin talks with Koen Denolf about content marketing. Koen is content strategist at Het Salon and explains how content marketing gives a new dimension to events.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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Welcome to eventplanner TV. Today I'll talk with Koen Denolf about content marketing. Koen is content strategist at Het Salon and explains how content marketing gives a new dimension to events.


Hi, Koen. Welcome to our studio.


Hi, Kevin.


We're going to talk about content marketing. What is it about?


In content marketing, companies are going to use content as a means to make the connection between their brands and their brand objectives. What they want to reach, in marketing and communication objectives. So, they’re going to look into the expectations of their public, and they’re going to try to make a connection with the expectations and their brands, in making contents that bring the two together.


So, they're going away from the classic marketing, where they just want to sell something.


It is the next step from traditional advertising, where traditional advertising is from up to down, and people talk about the brand, just the brand and the USB of the brand. Content marketing is bottom up, it starts from what is your public like, and what are they looking for?


And, I mean, if you look at the success of websites like Tripadvisor, you see that there’s a trend that everybody, even if they go to a local restaurant, they’re going to inform themselves about, 'Is the food good?', 'Is the service good?', but they do that for every kind of purchase that they make; For travel, for buying a washing machine. And, brands have to see this, and have to meet these expectations, and try to bring the expectations of the public and the brand together. And that’s content marketing.


But, if you're talking about content marketing, I immediately think about written articles, editorial content, and..


Yes. Most of the means that are used in content marketing, are magazines. Printed magazines, digital magazines. But, it also means websites, blogs, apps, even and event is…


How do you see the link with events?


Well, in an event, and that’s the big change with traditional advertising, I mean, in traditional advertising, you had a 30 second commercial, you could keep people attached to your product for 30 seconds,


If they don't zap away…


(laughs) If, they don't skip the ad. But, in content marketing, be it a magazine, or be it an event, you have more time to engage your public with your products, with your brand. I mean, people read customer magazines for an average time of 25 minutes. People who come to an event, and they’re hosted well, they will be there for an hour, two hours, or even longer. So, you have a vast amount of time, to keep these people engaged with your brand.


And, bring your story.


And, bring your story. And, that is important. I mean, you see a shift in, in event marketing. When they start thinking about content marketing, meaning that it’s less about the food and the drinks and the environment, but it’s more about the content. It’s more about what you tell to the people. It’s more about what they take home with them, the story in their head, or even something physical, that is about the story of the brand. Is about…


But, then you need to know what your story is, because a lot of companies, if you ask, 'What is your story?', they just don't know.


A lot of companies don’t know about, don’t know what their story is, it’s true. They used to do communications in traditional advertising, do very creative ads, but they’re all very ad-hoc. A lot of these companies don’t have long-term vision, and that’s an important thing in content marketing, is you need to have a solid story, where you can build on it for a long time. Meaning, for a long time, but also in different media.


Yeah, but, that also means that you have to think cross-media?


You have to think cross-media. And, I mean, an international example, Coca Cola. They discovered content marketing two years ago, and they completely shifted their communications. It’s not about refreshing any more. It’s about happiness. So, they think throughout all their media, on creating things that are about happiness. I mean, I saw this thing in Korea where they put big Coca Cola dispensers and people can hug them, and then they get a free Coke.




That’s the way that companies are shifting from traditional advertising to content marketing. So, we’re here to talk about event marketing, and I think it’s , I have to say to your viewers, event companies, they don’t only have to invest in making the best organized events; They also have to invest in people. Thinking about the story of the event, thinking about the brand’s story, and translating it into an event.


But, you say, 'Invest'. That also means you have to invest in people, time, money and so on. But, will it always result in extra profit at the end, or extra value for the company?


If I look at what’s happening internationally, I mean, I presume that a company such as Coca Cola, that they know what they’re doing. I think they have the best people on board doing their marketing. If they completely made the shift to content marketing, well, completely... They continue doing traditional advertising, but in a content marketing way. They tell something. Then, there is profit. If I look at my company, if I look at my clients, they still have traditional advertising, but they also are making the shift from taking budget away from traditional advertising to content marketing. And, they invest in a magazine, they invest in facebook, they invest in events, even. The important thing is, they have to break down, the silos in companies. You still see, in big companies, that there is a division that’s involved with advertising; There’s a division doing events; There's a division doing, well, whatever.




These people, they don't talk to each other. Well, I'm putting it very black-and-white now…


Of course.


But, it is something I saw in big companies. And, so you have to break down these silos. And, there has to be one brand story, and everyone has to agree on the brand story. I mean, you can…


And bring the same story.


Yeah, you can work with five agencies, whatever. But, one of them has to say, 'Look. This is the brand story', and everybody, everything has to...


Be aligned with it.


Be aligned to the same story. And then you can do events that are part of an advertising campaign. There’s this Belgian bank, ABC, and they do the campaign, which is about finding the gap, or the gaps, in the market. So, they did an appeal to entrepreneurs, to come up with ideas, and ABC helped them to start up that business. It was very successful, but, I mean, this is potentially, a content marketing campaign.


That's a great story.


That’s a great story. Because, ABC is about entrepreneurship, so it’s their brand story. But, if you look at what they did, and if you look at the potential, if they would have gone 360 degrees, they could have done events bringing entrepreneurs together, and sharing ideas. They could have done a magazine or online magazine quarterly, with all the new startups. And, they could have taken this idea, and built on it for years. But...


Maybe they are listening and they can start on it now...


(laughs) They can. But, I actually talked to them, and they said "You're right. But, we’re still into this ad-hoc campaign thing. We do a campaign for six months, and then we do another campaign." And, this is something that brands have to, have to stop with, because you invest so much money, and then you throw it away. You start all over again. You have to think of a brand story, and build on it for years, and years to come, and do it in every possible medium.


Well, that's an interesting thought to conclude with.




Koen, thank you very much for coming to our studion.




And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next time.