Content Marketing and the Role of Events in Brand Storytelling

Richard Dodgson


Audiences are becoming ever more discerning of the digitalised, content-heavy environment, which means the quality of a brand’s content is paramount to how it is perceived online.

Brands must be disruptive, unique, creative, relevant and authentic all at the same time in order to stand out among the flood of content, banner ads and Facebook pages. Events are content stories and they can play a huge role in a brand’s story through their ability to create dynamic, proactive strategies which inspire audiences accordingly.

It is vital that the design and execution of events is completely on message and representative of the brand, down to the very last detail. Brands must endeavour to design event stories that have the sophistication and wow-factor that portrays them as current, cutting-edge, stylish, on trend, and surprising.

Brand storytelling is a specific type of content marketing that draws us in emotionally and is at the heart of all marketing. Great brands have great stories to tell and events offer the unique opportunity for brands to promote these in front of an engaged and captive audience, and can often form the beginning and end of a brand’s story.

While content is very much ongoing and brands need to ‘live happily ever after’ by developing a living and breathing relationship with audiences, the value and impact of a good brand story cannot be underestimated and brands should let their events be the means for delivering a meaningful message to prospective customers. Event audiences are there specifically to absorb a brand’s content through the things they see, the people they meet with and the overall event experience.

In an ideal world, the audience would take it all in, but the fact they are present doesn’t mean your brand’s messaging is going to be particularly memorable or effective, so it is vital that the design and execution of the event is visionary and inspiring, while remaining on message.

A company with an outstanding content strategy is Red Bull, a great example of a Visionary, Inspiring, Bold and Exciting (VIBE) brand. Their content creation process centres around sports and cultural events and projects, and its strategy has been in the making for nearly 25 years. They are kings at developing an ongoing story for their brand to drive consumer interest by engaging with the audience’s tone of voice and appealing to their appetite for easily digestible, but cool, stylish content.

To others in the industry, Red Bull is the ultimate example of a brand that every forward-thinking agency encourages its clients to emulate. Red Bull’s brand image is one of adventure, extreme sports and freedom, and this key messaging is emulated in the events they are behind.

Take the Red Bull Air Race, for example, a globally-renowned event that inspires audiences to live the Red Bull brand lifestyle. Everything it does is designed to evoke emotion in its audience by establishing connections with the brand, and reinforces the relationship with its target audience in every interaction. Even the more unorthodox and amateur annual Soapbox race gets people thinking creatively, and from the moment the crowds arrive to the moment they leave they are constantly absorbing brand messaging which will stay with them for a long time.

Timebased has produced the GQ Men of the Year Awards for the past 19 years. GQ is a lifestyle magazine and therefore the associated awards ceremony celebrates the cream of the crop from the world of entertainment, politics, literature, film and music.

The GQ brand itself has an admirable longevity - Timebased is tasked with reinventing the awards ceremony each year and developing GQ’s content story in line with the UK’s leading glossy men’s magazine. We recognise that quality and style have always been at the heart of the GQ brand and work this into every detail of the awards ceremony. Every year, our challenge as corporate, yet creative, event co-ordinators has been to take the event to a new level, securing the GQ Men of the Year Awards a place as publishing’s most coveted celebrity event of the year.

Brands are living an ongoing story and cannot afford to stand still. Instead they must strive to develop a brand personality around who they are and what they stand for. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand and is often classed as one of the main components of a content marketing approach.

Through producing creative and inspiring events you can give your products and services a unique identity.

Originally published by the GMA
Back to Insight