Why Wavemaker believes brands need to go beyond ads and embrace compelling narratives 


A group that helps companies connect media, content and technology will help attendees at the upcoming Innovation Mission in New York City understand how to unlock the power of branded content.

Wavemaker will introduce attendees to their world-class content and experiences that have helped brands connect with their audiences and enrich the purchase journey.

We caught up with Noah Mallin, head of content and experience at Wavemaker, to learn more about what they are doing and learning about branded content.

Here’s our interview with them:

First, tell us a little about your organization.

We are Wavemaker, part of Group M which is WPP’s collection of media agencies. We are global and have U.S. offices in New York, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago and Denver. Our clients range from IKEA to Adobe, Paramount Pictures, L’Oreal, Church & Dwight, Xerox, and Doordash among many others. I lead the content and experience team which specializes in anything that isn’t an ad.

What are the most important trends you’re seeing in branded content today that media companies should be aware of?

The biggest trends are around creating branded content that can be distributed in many different places and is built from the outset to be featured in social, digital, on-demand and streaming video, and even places like airplane seat backs. We are also seeing a desire to be able to better understand the impact of branded content on audiences through measurement and even sequential messaging.

Media companies now more than ever are paying more attention to branded content. Why do you think it could and should be a significant part of their future business model?

If you are a media company, storytelling is the very heart of what you do well. You get what it takes to engage an audience. What we know is that ads alone are having a harder time impacting, and even reaching, audiences and that this gap increases as we go further down the audience age bracket. For brands to reach an audience effectively they must include a strategy that goes beyond ads and embraces compelling narratives that people will choose to see and not skip. Media companies are uniquely positioned to help create this and distribute it efficiently.

Are there niches or areas of focus that you think media companies should be looking at when they’re considering their branded content strategies?

The ability to create great content is a great way to add value to on-site events and activations, whether it’s a food pop-up or a financial conference. Putting on events that can be amplified for brands with content that highlights their participation and turns that into stories is effective and smart.

What will attendees learn from the Wavemaker team on this unique branded content focused innovation mission?

My hope is that attendees will come away with a better sense of how branded content is viewed from the agency lens, what we look for in partners, and what we hear from clients across many verticals about what works and what could be improved.

You can register for the Innovation Mission on branded content here.