For brands, now more than ever, content is king but who generates that content?

I think it was Bill Gates who coined the phrase “Content is King” back in the mid 1990s. He was right then and he is right today, possibly even more so today.

In today’s economic climate, traditional media owners, desperate for content but unable to afford to produce it themselves, are increasingly looking to independent production companies to generate that content.

But ever more cynical consumers are skeptical of content distributed via traditional media channels, especially in Malaysia where the mainstream media is acknowledged as being controlled by the government. Even content on respected platforms such as the BBC, CNN and CNBC has come under scrutiny recently after questions were asked about content produced by UK company FBC media

At the same time, or perhaps as a result of this, consumers are now changing the way they interact with brands, both during the evaluation stage, purchase stage and, critically after the purchase.

In the past, despite the major investment required to attract a new customer, the brand owner would be happy to sell them something and let them go. If they didn’t come back, it didn’t really matter as there were an increasing number of consumers to replace the initial customer and competition was limited. Moreover consumers expected little from the brands they bought.

Now after a purchase, consumers want to be involved with brands and mindful of the lack of genuine information available, want to influence others. Thanks to social media, they can do this and will share information, thoughts and opinions about their acquisition, long after the actual purchase.

Those consumers also believe they have a right to a role in the development of the brand going forward. This means that increasingly we are seeing consumers create content that defines brands and not the brand owner.

So content is still king, but it is now created by consumers. The key is to influence that content in the same way as traditional media once did.

Do you agree?