You don’t need a content strategy

In 2014, a market stall appeared in New York’s Central Park, selling “spray Art”.

The otherwise nondescript stall had one twist — it was run by Banksy, with the artist selling authentic but unbranded canvasses of his iconic work for just $60 a piece. During one day of trading, the stall sold just 8 pieces, earning the artist a grand total of $420.

Banky Does New York — 2014

After reading about the stunt online, one of the lucky customers sold two of the very same pieces at Bonhams Auction House in London — for $160,000.

On the flip side of this, a teenager left his reading glasses on the floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Within seconds of putting the glasses down and walking away, visitors assumed the lost property was part of the exhibition and began to take photographs.

Two stories that illustrate one thing; the way we judge and value things — whether it’s art or advertising — is shaped less by what they are, and more by when, where and how we experience them.

For those of us in the world of brands, it throws up an interesting question; what if brands don’t just need a content strategy — but also a context strategy? A strategy built less around what we say, and how when and where we behave.

For brands and agencies, this means a shift from building a brand platform — to building brands as a platform.

From piggybacking ready made cultures, brands now have to provide places, tools and resources — the context — to push cultures and communities from the bottom up.

Take Converse, who don’t just talk about music — but run their own recording studios where unsigned musicians are offered free recording time, access to producers, equipment and even royalty free samples. In just over 4 years, more than 900 artists have recorded in the space — leading to more than 17,000 shares on Instagram — as well as coverage in publications all the way from the New York times through to Vice.

Likewise Pigalle, who don’t just sell basketball equipment, but renovated and run their local basketball court — open for anyone who wants to play or practice there. The court has no hashtag, no call to action — it asks for nothing. And yet it’s generated more than 500 press articles, becoming a modern Parisian landmark.

The takeout? Do a great job of building context and the content will build itself.

By Perrine Lize, Managing Director and Huw Devine, Strategic Planning Director.

Originally published on L’ADN