How is content marketing changing? Which trends are
already having a major impact in 2017? Which will matter most in the years
This summer, we’ve been chatting with some of the smartest
strategists in the business to tackle these questions.
Our most recent interviewee was Daniele Kohen, who is a true
marketing all-star. As the Managing Director of Neo@Ogilvy, West, Kohen heads
up a talented team that handles the full spectrum of services – including
content, branding, search, business intelligence, and analytics – for a wide
range of impressive clients.
So, what is he seeing in the space this year? Which evolutions
is Kohen keeping a close eye on?
Check out our full Q&A below to find out:
Q: What is your background and what is your
role at Neo@Ogilvy?
A: I run our office on the West Coast. I came
here just over three years ago and it was just myself. Now I oversee a team of
about 40 people and I’m responsible for all of our operations, P&L and
commercials for Neo West. Client wise, I’m the global lead across our two
largest pieces of business. I’m also part of Neo’s management board.
background started in banking. After a relatively short period of time, I
realized that I kind of hated it, so I decided to get a master’s degree in
marketing communication. I was in London back then.
From there, I
started my first job in media and after a few months the company that I was
working at – which was called Mone – literally split in half. Half of the
company was embedded into Mindshare and the other half was plugged into Ogilvy
with a vision – 10 years ago – of providing media services solution within a
big traditional advertising firm. That’s how Neo was conceived in the first
I was young
and lucky enough be part of the birth of this new company, Neo@Ogilvy.
I spent three
years in London and then later was moved to Italy, (where I’m originally from),
to locally run our American Express account and oversee our small Italian
office. I was later transferred to our headquarters in New York, where I spent
four years working, for the most part, on global pieces of businesses such as
IBM, UPS, and Qualcomm. Then, three years ago, I was asked to move here to Los
Angeles to set up Neo.
Q: What is the composition of your team? What
are their areas of expertise?
A: We have a diverse roster of clients between
global and local engagements, branding clients, and direct response clients. That
allows us to have a nice blend of talents and experts.
planners and buyers and media generalists, we have some very key functional
teams, such as SEM and SEO.
In our LA
office, we successfully run a very unique practice which is Affiliate Marketing.
Within Ogilvy NA, we are the only office that provides such capability and,
frankly, one of the few agencies that put such an emphasis on this channel. If
managed correctly, it is by far, the most lucrative form of marketing out
also a strength of ours; we have a very robust team that focuses on measurement,
business and audience intelligence, as well as custom dashboards building
It’s a beautiful
mix of expertise that allows us to act and operate relatively independently,
while always backed up by a global infrastructure called Neo
Q: Broadly speaking, what do you think the
difference is between good brand content and bad brand content?
A: The fundamental difference between good and
bad really comes down to – and this is no surprise – storytelling.
If a brand
doesn’t have a well-informed story to tell its audience, then there’s no point
putting effort or money into creating content or distributing it.
comes from having the right content team: content producers, managing editors,
content creators, you name it. It takes a village to do it right.
In this arena,
the biggest mistake I’ve seen is clients being unable to remove branding from
the story. And it happens very often. Adding too much branding to a piece of
content reduces the likelihood for that it will be amplified and shared. The
story is what must come through.
Q: What changes have you seen in the content
marketing space this year? Which trends do you think are having an impact so
far in 2017?
A: Not just this year, it started last year
really, but recently there’s been a huge influx of content – both editorial and
sponsored – made available across sources and devices.
that increasingly for a piece of content marketing to really matter, it must
have a unique point of view as well as a well thought out distribution plan. These
two factors need to be considered at the conception phase, not as an
content optimized for social distribution is also a very important trend that
we’ve been seeing.
More and more
users are leveraging channels like Facebook and Twitter as their primary news
sources, rather than websites where content marketing distribution has
traditionally taken place.
publishers need to consider these changes in content discovery seriously.
Q: How has Neo@Ogilvy been experimenting with
new approaches/formats/platforms? Are there any campaigns/programs you can give
A: We’ve been focusing on content programs that
feel truly native to the publishers we work with.
One example in
particular is a campaign we did for Qualcomm with The New Yorker, which is known for its topical cover art. We
developed a content program which leverages their covers as an editorial hook
to then tell a brand story.
So, last April
we brought their covers plus ads to life via a Qualcomm augmented reality
experience, and this year we’re working on a program with their cover archives.
been experimenting with social video quite a bit.
here would be a campaign with one of our clients, Fiji Tourism. With INSIDER, a
part of Business Insider, we developed a four-part story intended to be
distributed specifically via social media.
have garnered hundreds of thousands of views, and shares and comments. Part of
that success came from choosing the right partners. And it’s not just do a
one-off experiment; we want to keep working to test new tactics so that we can
finesse the approach and make it better.
Q: Finally, how do you see content marketing
potentially evolving over the next few years? Which emerging trends are you
keeping a close eye on?
A: In the near term, I don’t think we’ll see
much of an abandonment across most major content
When it comes down to content consumption, marketers
and publishers will have to adapt to the ever changing human behavior – i.e. shorter and shorter attention spans. For
example, long-form pieces will need to increasingly have clearer headlines and
structures that allow for skimming.
That said, I do
think we’re at the beginning of another period of major change that will impact
like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, bot-based platforms, voice-based
search, could be very important trends in a couple of years. Right now, they
all sound like your typical marketing jargon but it could only take two years
for any one of these, or all, to have a major impact.
we’re doing things like The New Yorker
example I gave earlier. That allows us to see to how audiences respond to
formats like augmented reality, and to be ready for these important new