Guest Lecture: 5 questions to Adrian Pickshaus, Territory

Adrian Pickshaus is Executive Creative Director and Editor at Large at Territory, one of Germany’s leading content marketing agencies.

But what is behind the buzzword “content marketing”? What characterises good content? And what does a journalistic education have to do with this type of marketing? In this interview, Adrian Pickshaus answers the most important questions from his guest lecture.

Brand University: Hello Adrian! Territory is one of the leading content marketing agencies in Germany. But what actually is content marketing?

Adrian Pickshaus: Content marketing is a marketing strategy on the meta level. In general, it is about telling good stories that fit a company – and that are interesting for a defined target group. Often it is less about classic product communication. It is more important to entertain, inspire and inform potential customers. Content marketing wants to make people fall in love with brands.

BU: Why is it so important for brands to tell stories? Wouldn’t it just be enough to advertise?

AP: With the rise of social media, brands today have to meet huge communication expectations. People expect to be able to meet their love brands on Instagram and Twitter, on YouTube and Twitch, on TikTok and Facebook. For all these channels, brands need a lot of good content. Classic advertising is perceived by many users as annoying, intrusive and invasive. But we like to listen to and watch a good story. That’s when the web becomes a digital campfire.

BU: You started your career as a political journalist. What makes a good story from your point of view?

AP: Conflict is important. In every good story, the heroes and heroines have to overcome big problems, they fight against inner and outer demons. As audience members, that’s exactly what we find exciting. We want to dance along on the volcano, to be on the fine line between triumph and disappointment. However, many companies shy away from actively addressing conflicts. This is one of the main reasons why 99 percent of press releases end up in the waste basket immediately. In terms of content, every story should address basic human needs: We want to be informed, we want to be inspired – and we want to be able to identify with real people, with their feelings and actions.

BU: Where do you get the inspiration for exciting stories?

AP: When we approach a brand, we try to map out a so-called thematic territory. What are the values of a company, what does this brand stand for? And what distinguishes it from the competition? Then we look at the products: What makes them special? How, where and from what are they produced, how are they designed, how are they marketed? And above all: who does all this? Finally, we take a look at the zeitgeist: What topics move people out there? Where can the brand dock onto trends and topics, make credible contributions to public debates and discussions? This creates a triangle. All the good stories are buried in the middle. Many companies don’t even know what treasures they are holding.

BU: What advice would you give our students if they are interested in doing content marketing?

AP: If you want to tell stories, no matter in which format, then a journalistic education is enormously helpful. If you want to design content marketing, become a graphic designer or study film. And if you are interested in the strategic and planning dimension behind content marketing, then aim for a classic agency career. Most advertising agencies now have content marketing in their portfolio. Territory has its roots in the publishing business and sees itself as a journalistic, producing house. We write, shoot, edit and design ourselves. If you are interested in jobs or internships, feel free to get in touch via e-mail.

Many thanks to Adrian Pickshaus for the insight into the world of content marketing and the work as a storyteller.