Danny Devriendt: stories and how social becomes a currency

Danny Devriendt - via Twitter

Danny Devriendt – via Twitter

At the Content Marketing Conference Europe 2014 in Antwerp, Danny Devriendt presented a keynote, titled “The Horse’s Ass: how social becomes a currency”. Danny, previously EVP Social and Digital Media at Porter Novelli, and now managing director of Universal Media’s Brussels, has a love affair with branding, social media and content (among many other things – and a few people – of course).

Danny Devriendt, named the 3rd most influential ad executive on Twitter in 2013, is also interested in what has become known as native advertising, a topic he covered at the Content Marketing Conference Europe as well.

“There is not a lot of value in a plain marketing message”

Indeed: since some time now, the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) shows increasing attention for content marketing for obvious reasons and within a specific context. The organization even published a content marketing primer (see below), be it more for publishers and agencies (or in other words: one way of looking at it, remember content marketing is an umbrella term).

In his keynote Danny did not just cover native advertising. As a matter of fact: the exact terms don’t even matter that much. What matters is that, according to Danny, today content is the most powerful asset in the quest to reach the target audience of a company. There is not a lot of value in a plain marketing message, Danny says and it’s all about storytelling…. Social media, real time marketing and content marketing became the new normal, Danny says.  Classical push advertising evolves to interactive and influencer marketing with content as key element. Content is what audiences see, share, like and what ultimately shapes their opinion about a company. Content is what they remember. But what is the life time value of a thought, a memory, a shift of perception? If content is gold, how to coin it?

We asked Danny to share a practical tip on content marketing and, in his case, the storytelling dimension. 

Danny Devriendt: Content is the new buzzword. But sadly, it’s such a hollow concept. A dot on a page, with a circle around is content. Content is like data, big data… it only works if you bring it to life, if you can nudge it to be functional.

Don’t believe in content, but go for the refreshing power of a good story. A story is content brought to work. Stories educate, move, share, participate, polarize,… So… what’s your story? What content can you create that will captivate the consumer, that will take away perceptions that block you to succeed or how will you enhance success.

As the theme of the conference was “creating business value through customer value, using content”, we also asked him what is one of the most important ways that content marketing creates value for customers.

Danny Devriendt: For a consumer, there is not a lot of value in a plain marketing message. At the most, the marketing message can be moving, inspiring, funny, intriguing or captivating. But most often, it ends there.

No consumer ever entered a friend’s living room claiming “Bacardi Rum, the mixable one”. Using clever content brings value to a consumer, if the content fits the consumer’s lifestyle and interest fields. Good content brings stories to the consumer, with information he can use, discuss, share, and comment.

Stories are social at the core, and we are all constantly looking for those stories that bring answers to the questions of our everyday lives.

Danny Devriendt Content Marketing Conference Europe 2014 quote in the content marketing eBook by TopRank Online Marketing – via SlideShare

Danny Devriendt Content Marketing Conference Europe 2014 quote in the content marketing eBook by TopRank Online Marketing – via SlideShare

Below, as promised, that IAB content marketing primer. Input and thoughts welcome!

About Danny Devriendt

A successful blogger and an avid user of social media, Danny Devriendt is one of the leading authorities on Digital and Social Media and the predictive web in Europe. He is the managing director of Universal Media’s Brussels office, and sits on the Board of Directors of IPG Mediabrands Belgium. Before, he was EVP Social and Digital Media at Porter Novelli, heading up PN’s social media efforts.

Danny Devriendt on storytelling

Danny studied Educational Sciences and Agogics, the social science relating to the promotion of personal, social and cultural welfare. His healthy passion for people, Schrödingers cat, quantum mechanics and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy make him an unorthodox out-of-the-box thinker.

He was a journalist for eight years, working for print, radio and TV. He specialized in ICT, lifestyle and socio-economic news.

A passionate presenter, he speaks regularly on the integrated use of digital media, web 3.0, augmented reality, predictive web, crowdsourcing and metrics, content and real time marketing, and conversation management. He conducted media and digital media training sessions and seminars to brands and organizations all over the globe. His vision on digital and social media is daily voiced through his Twitter channel @dannydevriendt, his personal blog www.heliade.net, and a plethora of online forums.

Danny is a guest-lecturer at various educational institutions on digital media, communication to generation Y and media-analysis. He likes writing poetry and short stories, winning several prizes in Belgium and the Netherlands.