Context is king: what it means for brands


I have always been wary of the phrase ‘content is king’ and the kinds of people who say that, usually in self-aggrandisement.

The rise of Apple iTunes has, with all the grace and elegance of a sledgehammer, amply demonstrated that it ain’t necessarily so.

In an article on CNBC titled The New King: Context!, Nicholas Scibetta of Ketchum has reviewed the shift from the dominance of content to the prominence of context, including a reference to my recent article on the rise of contextual search.

Scibetta’s focus is the impact on brands. He writes:

Providing context, and thereby relevance, offers brands an authentic opportunity to connect with stakeholders on the stakeholder’s terms. It also enables the customization of messages to reflect the context. In today’s media environment, it’s crucial for brands to ask themselves how they are adding value to a piece of content through either the distribution or consumption of that content.

Said another way, does the brand show consumers they understand their world; what is important to them; and what they want to read, watch, and listen to? In addition to creating content that answers these and other similar questions, brands that create content that is tailored, for example, via distribution channel, location, or time of the month will have a leg up on others in cracking the “context” code and connecting with their stakeholders with authenticity and relevancy.

Absolutely. Brands today need to think of themselves as media companies, creating relevant, useful and interesting content to engage with the customers. Part of that journey is becoming as sophisticated as the best media organizations, not just in content creation, but in intelligently understanding and using context to create value. Those that do, will win.