As marketers, you’re likely well aware by now of the fact that most people – two-thirds of consumers to be precise – express loyalty to brands that provide them with informative, useful branded content. This is a very powerful finding that is driving innovation in the advertising industry and radically transforming the landscape for publishers, agencies and their commercial partners.
Brands are responding to this shift in consumer preferences by giving them what they want, which is increasingly becoming sponsored content. Done well we know it is effective: studies have confirmed it can be twice as memorable as display ads. Done badly it can be at a minimum embarrassing – for both publisher and brand.
To adapt to this new reality, and to fall under the ‘done well’ category of native advertising, publishers are building in-house content studios. These studios are usually content-creation units staffed with editors, writers and marketers that help clients tell their stories. Major publishers are investing in these independent in-house content studios, with brands such as The Guardian, The New York Times and the Financial Times establishing Guardian Labs, T Brand Studio, and FT Squared, respectively. For these big players, it’s like starting a media agency within a newspaper, which already has the benefit of distribution to an audience well-known to them, and access to the talent required to make these content strategies a success: expert storytellers, web editors and creative directors, SEO managers, social media experts and so on. All under one roof.
We’re pleased to say C&EN Media Group is no different. To support this growing consumer trend, we have established the C&EN BrandLab: C&EN’s own custom content studio specifically designed to create engaging content to serve the marketing needs of chemical and pharmaceutical organizations. It is one of the first custom content studios among science-focused and association publications, as was announced in a recent press release on the creation of the division.
The C&EN BrandLab is led by respected science journalist and editor, Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., who will be working with a number of editors, writers, marketers, designers and advertising executives as part of her team to develop and execute content strategies with clients.
The team has been operational for a number of months, but the official launch date was May 1st, which coincided with the unveiling of a new website to support C&EN BrandLab’s activities. And they are off to a very good start, busy with stories and projects for clients such as Chemours, Ashland, Shimadzu, CAS, and more.
In particular, the campaign by chemical company Chemours is an interesting case study. It is the largest native advertising effort that C&EN BrandLab has undertaken, but it also has a high level of sophistication within the campaign. The campaign is a 9-month multiplatform approach that will see content distributed across print, web, newsletters and social channels. It will explore The Future of Chemistry as its main theme, and will broach subjects such as sustainability, globalization and innovation. It has received positive recognition among C&EN’s readers already as well.
C&EN BrandLab has only just started telling clients’ stories. The team, led by Raj, is excited to work with agencies and brands alike, to fill a need to reach a targeted audience, to speak with scientific accuracy and authority, and to simply bring interesting concepts to life.
Bibiana Campos Seijo