My life is pretty much divided into three parts: work, play and family.
I spend most of my time on this site talking about the latter two. You’ve probably seen me gush on my wife and kids or ramble on about weekend adventures camping, backpacking, mountain biking or road tripping. But all of that usually happens after the 9-5 where I’m a content marketing manager by title - sort of a catch all phrase that implies I’m a digital marketer who helps editorial teams plan, create, place and optimize content all over the web for our clients large and small. I work very closely with nearly every department within our creative agency. From web developers and social media teams to UX (user experience - the people who make sure a site feels and operates properly for a given audience), to strategy, planning sales and beyond.
I’d argue a quality content team rubs shoulders with everyone.
Some days the job feels like a grind — as I’m sure it does any industry — but seasons where I get to craft branded content make work feel a bit more like play.
What is branded content?
It’s a lot of things really, but the way I couch it, “branded content” is any extension of a brand that really bring its personality to life. Think voice, tone, style and how they translate across mediums. Mediums are a lot of things these days with the expansion of the web, social channels, influencer networks, out of home marketing and the many traditional forms. Branded content is the byproduct of making sure videos, blogs, webpages and everything between are an authentic representation of the brand, the way the client wishes, and in a way that will connect with with existing and tap into new target audiences.
That was a mouthful.
Branded content is why you can spot a Nike campaign from a mile away. Branded content is charged by the soul of a company and what it hopes to inspire. Think Patagonia, Gatorade, Dove, Hello Human Kindness from Dignity Health, Specialized Bikes, Yeti Coolers and so on. Think of the of a Casey Neistat video and why it sticks out so loud and proud.
What does branded content do?
Creative agencies typically help companies launch brand campaigns to increase public appeal for, spike awareness of, or inspire positive sentiment on behalf of a fresh chapter for a brand. It’s a really exciting time to be in the shoes of a marketer if given this chance.
On an executional level, content marketers and other creatives get the opportunity to build the sandbox/universe that a brand will dance in for the foreseeable future. We get the opportunity to look beyond the brick and mortar, nuts and bolts, etc. to build up a brand as a personality, and then we shepherd the conversation around the whole thing.
What makes branded content effective?
Again, I’m dumbing this down in the spirit of keeping this post fun (see play vs. work) but a strong branded editorial calendar is fundamental. This calendar is an inventory and gameplay for how all of this dialogue will take place. It centralizes:
- creative departments
- supporting media placements
- supporting video
- social media
This calendar usually accompanies other "do and do not" brand standards that help usher every execution into a space that fits within the overarching vibe of the entire push so audiences can clearly and effectively recognize all media as coming from the same place.
There are many nuances in each calendar depending on the main KPIs (key performance indicators) and business goals of any given brand, but the gist of it is to drill down posting cadences, resource needs, important or subsequent timelines and marry any supporting strategies such as SEO (search engine optimization - creating content in a way that most magnetizes web users via search engine visibility and prioritization).
Who does branded content in Arizona? Where can you get branded content in Phoenix?
I’m super committed to putting Arizona and the greater Phoenix region on the map when it comes to high quality marketing. So to answer the question, I do branded content in Arizona.
Most people think LA, Portland, Chicago or New York have the best creative agencies. Shoot, even Austin and Salt Lake City have some epic marketing and advertising agencies. But I’m convinced the Valley has what it takes and that's why I'm trying to make a name for it alongside many others.
Phoenix agencies include:
- Kitchen Sink Studios
- Moses Inc.
- OH Partners (Owens Harkey)
- and a ton of other boutique shops and video companies in Arizona
Some content Tyler Kurbat has done
Over the past couple years, I’ve worked alongside some killer teams and we’ve launched creative content that I’m very proud of. Shout out to everyone involved. Could not have done it without you.
Two campaigns for GORE-TEX® immediately come to mind. I got to help build a team of social media influencers, videographers and athletes including Olympians, and other outdoor industry professionals. I helped ideate two brand campaigns known as The Breathe Project and Experience More that helped shift the emphasis of the brand from stone cold product benefits into more of a lifestyle appeal that could magnetize a broader audience. Our roster included Danny Davis, Nicole Eddy, Mr. Ben Brown, Caroline Gleich, Aly Nicklas, Andy Best, Sonnie Trotter, Callum Snape, Forest Woodward, Brendan Leonard and many more talented individuals who I have the utmost respect for. Once they were ramped up to the ask (I helped create the angle, its needs and how it could empower our campaign through each party), it was on to the content creation.
I shifted gears into editor, talent agent, borderline interim creative director to steer each blog, video, social execution, web page and deployment into the best lens for the client.
Again, this is when work feels most like play for a guy like me.
I’m extremely honored to say all of the early mornings, late nights and midnight oil did not fall on deaf ears. The Breathe Project took home the Best of Show award at the 2017 Phoenix ADDYs and all the performance metrics that came out of it were incredible.
But I don’t just manage branded content. In fact, most of my career, I’ve created it.
Some videos I wrote the voiceovers for and helped concept include:
And work for many other brands like Red Bull, Macbeth Footwear, Avilla Homes, Bravo Tipping App, OfferPad and more.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this through. I tried to avoid all the buzzword mumbo jumbo and cut to the chase of something I'm really passionate about. But now I want to hear from you.
What's some of the best branded content you've seen?
Who produced it?
How could it have been better?
What was most compelling about the piece/medium?
Tell me this and more in the comments below!