Digital agency iCrossing today announced the hiring of its first chief content officer, Kayvan Salmanpour, whose career has included executive stops at Novel and NewsCred. Salmanpour plans to combine data with proven branding tactics to create long-term content marketing strategies that generate consumer fans for iCrossing clients.
What's more, he doesn't want content marketing to go the way of display advertising, which has made the branding community roll its collective eyes in recent years.
"The marketplace is quickly approaching a point where content from brands is in danger of being painted with the same brush as the banner ad today—looked down upon as an example of where we in the digital world squandered our chance to make the Internet great," said Salmanpour (pictured right).
The agency's parent company, Hearst, has a wealth of data he said will help his team identify trends and build strong messaging. Fusing such stats with the sensibility of winning approaches of the past—think how Ben & Jerry's has benefited from a messaging and sales standpoint thanks to supporting LGBT rights for some 35 years, Salmanpour said—to create an authentic, branded dialog with the public.
"Brands can struggle to have a point of view," he said. Indeed, content marketing, as the industry knows, is difficult work, and Salmanpour called the new gig a "massive challenge," while adding "that's why I moved over." Content marketing nowadays is about so much more than Facebook likes, the CCO suggested.
"We are focusing a lot more on building and retaining an audience for the brand themselves, rather than sort of renting out an audience," he said. "So for us, it's just creating an offering where brands can access a full-service, content marketing studio for [clients]. Whether it's for current clients or new clients, it's about building that really solid offering."
Salmanpour will report to Nick Brien, CEO of iCrossing, and Troy Young of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. While the new exec joined iCrossing only two weeks ago and didn't name specific clients he's looking forward to working on, some of the agency's notable customers include Mitsubishi Motors, TD Bank, UGG, LG and Hampton Hotels.
"I want to help elevate how brands think about and execute content to a point that it is resonating genuinely and emotionally with consumers," Salmanpour said. "And I believe the combined offering of iCrossing and Hearst can bring that to life."