According to Shannon Pruitt, “Great content begins and ends with people, while data, insights and new technologies ensure the content is audience-led, targeted, and on-brand. New technology and media platforms are enabling us to reach niche audiences, as well as those that are often underrepresented in the old paradigm.” She goes on to explain how her company, The Story Lab, recently partnered with the media company MiTu to develop an influencer program aimed at bi-cultural Hispanic Millennials- a digital-first audience that over-indexes on digital video. “We looked for and relied on innovation to help us fill a content void and reach this audience. Our campaign garnered almost 10MM views, and yielded over 100MM social impressions, most of which were driven by sharing. Because of this success, we are looking at more ways to innovate in the Peer-to-Peer space.”
Shannon confesses that she is “obsessed with pop culture and the consumer trends that are changing the way we buy, what and how we watch, and ultimately which content we spend time with.” She and her team are constantly scanning the landscape both in the US and markets around the world to understand what is going to make the next big impact for their clients. She adds, “While the ‘content’ space was once anchored in linear television, today the democratization of content has created a more diverse and ultimately richer experience for consumers. Time and time again, we’ve seen that if the content is good, people will seek it out, whether it’s created by a brand, a studio, a teenager or a computer. Brands have a unique opportunity to join this environment with the right level of creativity, ingenuity and utility.”
Since launching their Content Compass approach in 2014, Shannon and team have helped notable blue chip clients, ranging from GM to MasterCard, map out their content strategies, with a clear view of both their consumers’ preferences as well as how content can help amplify the brand’s overall marketing messages across properties, screens and outlets. The Story Lab Content Compass is a proprietary method for architecting branded content platforms from inception to execution. Shannon’s hallmark of marrying consumer data with popular cultural touchstones is at the heart of the project. The Content Compass helps brands create a content roadmap at the very beginning of their creative process - before they begin the content creation phase, then helps identify the right consumers, the right content, the right time and the right format-- becoming the foundation for a brand’s content mapping, investment and creation plans.
“Additionally,” she says, “our experience shows us that to be effective, branded content must be relevant and focused to both the brand and their consumers; unfortunately, even the best-intentioned creative companies can easily fall into the trap of creating or sponsoring content that matters to one but not the other.”
Shannon Pruitt lived in Japan for two years after college in order to teach English to elementary and middle school students as part of the country’s highly prestigious JET Program (Japan Exchange Teaching Program). “Living in Japan and teaching my students taught me invaluable lessons about local relevance and the importance of traditional customs and cultural nuances. But I also learned that powerful ideas can transcend borders and travel quite well, and that many emotions, and their related experiences, are universal. Little did I know that I would today be working for Dentsu, one of the world’s largest and most respected Japanese businesses!”