What You do matter more than what You say: Replace ‘You’ by Brands!

This is turning out to be a great learning so far, I learnt “What is Content Strategy?“, “How should I understand my audience?“, and once I have understood my audience, “How shall I segment them“. This has been a great learning experience.

As I go more and more in detail, now is the time to know about the “Connection” between Marketing and Content Strategy, and we will try and go over quite a few interesting facts here:

Marketing is: 

Understanding consumer and designing products and services to meet their needs and wants, and communicating this to consumer that you’ve done this.

Any content you produce is like a product which you should definitely market. In order to engage with people you want to reach, you must understand them. Content Strategy needs to benefit services and products that your organization creates. Your content should be meaningful and relevant to the products your organization makes. It should be able to brand your product or service. Both should be an absolute part of your content strategy.

Content needs to communicate about the Brand which your product or service defines…!!!

But What is a brand and how Experience is important!

Is Coke a brand or is Sony a brand?

A brand is not just the name or look of a product or service! Its your understanding of the product,its your best idea of the product or service, and how this idea or concept is different from alternative that you have!

Let’s spend some more time on this, and let’s talk about the experience which coke delivers!

Coke ad links coke with the experience of feeling happy when consumer feel happy they drink coke, and are taken to the Coke experience of happiness. By speaking to these experience Coke is able to engage consumers in the brand.

Today, more than ever, how a brand behaves is more important than what it says. Messaging is important, but what really matters is how a brand engages and interacts with the people who impact the business, from
its customers to the people who influence customers.


In order to build a strong experience brand, it’s important to understand what the drivers of experience are, and how they variously impact consumer perception and purchase.

Fundamental to build any brand is:

1. Product. What you do, sell, and how well you meet your customers’ needs. It’s how you name and define your products or services and price them.

2. Communication. How you consistently promote your brand through marketing and sales – presenting your promise. It is the marketing collateral, advertising, materials, graphic standards, etc. that communicate your brand attributes, create awareness, and develop a brand image.

3. Service. How well you deliver your brand promise. Customer interaction with your company before, during and after they purchase.

An important addition to the brand-building fundamentals:

4. Experience. Synchronizing the entire business in order to generate a unique and consistent experience with the brand. Creating emotional involvement between the brand and the customer.

How to make sure content strategy is relevant to the brand?

You should be able to articulate the concept clearly.  The best tool to do this is to write a positioning.  That specifies who the target statement is, and what is the core concept! And how it is different from competitor!

You use this positioning statement to see how your content is relevant to the same experience the brand speaks to. The positioning is central to the content strategy because this is what keep the content on strategy.

Inspiration: Making consumer believe that they can accomplish things in their own lives.

Many brands have been successful as they inspire their users.  Famous example is Nike which challenges the consumers to take challenge and just do it!

The fact that you are able to do something is far more important than the fact how you did it?

Identity: Identity experience is seeing oneself as being a successful person! As a brand if you can provide useful advice and tips on how to use clothes to appear successful, this will in turn create an excellent identity experience. For this one contact point can be a sales person coming to you and suggesting you a tie which will go well with your suit!

Second example could be an example of say Tesco retail store in UK, where they do a utilitarian advice by suggesting a recipes.

In order to make sure that all the content fits in Content Strategy you need to generate the storyline which is for your brand!

You need to keep it generic enough so that any individual piece of content will tell its own story, but that component is rich enough to stick together to make sure that it caters to the brand and experiences it relate to.

We will get in more details on Experiences, in our next post…this is getting really interesting!


How do I segment my audience?

I never understand what segments are? How do you keep someone inside the segment, and someone outside of it?


The harder it is to measure something the better it is in understanding the audience.

In our previous post we talked about understanding audience by targeting them, and creating personas!

Organization talks about Geographical measurements (Where they live which block etc., or demographic (How old they are, how many children do they have etc). But these are weak measures of segmentation, since ultimately two 28 yrs old may look strikingly similar but will have absolutely different needs!

It’s time we start thinking about something like psychography; Who they are, what they need; segmenting based on those needs, values, and the motivation to consume information is important for organization. The more difficult it is to measure a segment the more successful it will be to segment a market.

Let’s take a cue from TV industry:

They use Day parts, they study that what people do in the morning to what people do in the night is something different, and they were different over the weekend…but this is one part, if you keep Demo and Geo at one end and Psycho graphic at the other end…you then need to understand what is happening in someone’s life in the morning, compared to what is happening in the afternoon…it is different.

For example; in the morning you may want to know about the Weather or say how to make best out of your day and in the noon, may be an update on the news, or say something which recharges you! At the end of the day you don’t need a repeat…hence a deep understanding comes from understanding your segment…

Experience a user has makes a lot of difference; how?

Experience work is very important to understand the audience. Because when you start to look at a specific experience, you tend to see how it creates an emotional reaction to the material…let’s say time out experience…when we look at people who are consuming some kind of media message because they are enjoying a release from their regular life, it is one of the reason why reality TV are so successful

There have been instances where women creates time out experience…especially when they are raising kids, and  or working…especially in the evening when they can curl up a cup of coffee…and now let’s say an iPad and consume material, so what your organization is doing to provide some kind of time out experience?

It is not created by you throwing the information at them, it’s going to be a soft touch that really understands that moment in a woman’s day! What kind of information she is looking for, and make her life more interesting!

Create Stories!


Idea of story first and content flowing from it is a brilliant one. Narrative story telling is a huge hit, story illuminates thing for people…but at different levels. Some appreciate visual content in the story, some appreciate stories to be made available for them in chunks…some appreciate telling stories through words; that is where target audience come in picture, and that is where you have to understand the importance of target’s definition of story telling…so that your company can achieve a successful relationship!

In this post and in the previous one, we learnt about how we can define and understand our audience, be it story telling, creating personas, or targeting by knowing their behavior; one aspect is common in all these approaches; You have to understand your audience by being the ‘Audience’.

In our upcoming posts we will talk more about relationship between organization’s brand and its content! Till than happy reading!

Please help! I don’t understand my audience!

If you give people engaging content which improves their lives they will consider giving you their time.

Yes…right…but I never understand my audience, their behavior, and how can I communicate my message across to them!


This is in continuation of my previous post, where we touched upon the importance of content strategy. In this article we’ll ponder more thoughts on segmenting our audience and basing our content based on that!

In all practical ways organizations have to determine the few messages that are key to fostering their strategic message forward.

As a common rule of defining the content strategy; People will only learn about things which they are motivated to learn. People will accept what they need to know from an org that will deliver what they want to know.

Think about a newspaper or a magazine, you are more willing to read what is relevant to your need.

Know your Audience:

I want to target ‘Mass Audience’! 

There is nothing called Mass Audiences…that something we have to accept…Organizations should aggregate a number of targeted audience which is only way to reach out to your audience, and be successful.

Facebook has a large mass audience, because it serves number of small set of audience which has variety of needs…a Senior graduate student will use it in a different than I or you would use it…ultimately FB has been able to aggregate these audiences in to a large mass audience and create a product…that is exactly what an Organization should do!


Key point is targeting the audience, defining segments…but again How?

Let’s understand this:

People’s emotions and cognitive limitations are real, they can only attend to certain number of topics deeply at one time, so people only pay attention to topic when they are motivated to do so

The idea that self interest and social identification precedes motivation; Org have to understand the Social ID, and self interest need of the audience so that they can craft message on “where they are” and “who they are”, and “how they are receiving the message”!

We need to craft message as per audience need, attitude, and behavior in such a way that improves their life style. And you should be able to predict “what user needs before she even telling you!

Don’t ever dare to ask user what they need! They never know this! Did anyone knew they need an iPhone?

Create Personas:

While census data or a questionnaire may help provide you a more complete picture about a target audience segment, understanding how people naturally interact with content with no external influence is essential in identifying their needs and wants and how you can design content to maximize its impact with minimal time and intrusion.


Image courtesy: Moz.com

Personas are successful, since it helps Organization in understanding what their user type is? Its base? Persona is always based on research and not on intuition It’s about interviewing people, following them on their daytime, experience their life style, understand various stakeholders…

Aspirations are different for different cross culture boundaries but organizations have to spend time with the target audience, follow them, see what is their day like, what they do in their time understand what is valuable for them. This is how you can design something which is regardless of the culture market!

Let’s take an example of Personas:

A major Pharmaceutical company is trying to understand the aging population of the USA. With this they are modifying their shelving needs to re-craft and to serve Older American. They are mimicing Arthritis, what it is like to stand up for patient who have Arthritis. After a seeing the user base or personas so to say; they made the shelves lower to make sure it is less pain and easy shopping for users. With age comes the problem of vision; hence to improve this they have increased the font size of the signboards so that user can see those…and their goal is to appeal to that market.

For more on Personas please visit: Moz.com

In our next post we will talk about Segmentation, Creating Experience, and Stories. Till then happy reading!

Content Strategy: Engaging Audience everywhere!

What is Content Strategy? How is it different from Content Marketing? How can Content Strategy help in engaging our audience? And how in the world of Enterprise Social Network (ESN), a well defined Content Strategy can help?

These are few questions which have always alarmed me with no answers! You tend to get lot of ‘Noise’ on Google, but again does that cater to my need, when I need, where ever I want?

I am learning about Content Strategy, and during this process its alignment with ESNs too. Before we go deep, let’s take a look at this small video:

The video is called Drag Him Away. It was created by Britain’s National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV). It not only raises awareness with credible content but gives people a personal experience that reinforces that they can intervene and do something to stop abuse.

The London billboards are one great example of Content Strategy. Let’s learn more about the concept!

In simplest of words ‘Content Strategy’ is

Effectively communicating the story, in a Credible. trustworthy, and transparent manner!

Why is it important to understand and master the concept of ‘Content Strategy’; simple: because the content that you’re sharing and / or using to communicate and share your goals and objective with your audience consumes their time!

Most of the minutes which you want your content to consume are already committed to working, eating, sleeping, and being with friends and family.

Let’s view this from an end user who will be consuming yours and ‘Like Yours’ information, for her:

  • There is ever-rising tidal wave of information, and it will continue to rise
  • No more time (Not even an addition of one more minute to 1440 minutes of a day!)
  • And it is getting more complicated by every passing second…

As a content administrator for your brand, or for your organization, you have to communicate in something that matter to them, and not the message that You want to communicate, even if the message is important…

Remember, if your audience is receiving more than what they want to know, means you are asking them to spend time on what you Like!

What I am learning along the way is:

“If the content is not smart it is not strategic”

We as content originator have to understand that just because we’ve put it does not mean it is really engaging…You need to remember the pressure on their time! We need to STOP sending out non-strategic messages which consumes time…lot of time! Respect Time!

Strategy refers to the direction and the goals that people often leaders have, and they are thinking about where the organization should be going!

Wait a sec, you said…you don’t have a strategy…ok…no worries…let’s decompose strategy: Do you have Goals, and priority label on these goals…well Yes! Every Organization has certain goals which are prioritized, ad hence becomes a strategy…

However, you need to understand the difference between Strategy, and Tactics!

Tactics are primarily basic things which need to be done, and last for a Year or less whereas Strategy: conveys a roadmap…it refers to the prioritized roadmap and lasts more than a 2-3 years!

While developing the ‘Content Strategy’, for you the First imperative should be to deliver value to empower customers, think about what they value, and how they behave; What matters to them and their work. This should become the base of your strategy.

How effectively you can create a content that enhances your communication, and address customer needs defines how successfully you’ll be able to communicate your Organization goals!

You should communicate in an engaging way. It should be articulated so that the ‘where‘, ‘when‘ and ‘how‘ audience will receive this message gets addressed. If your audience doesn’t receive your message: Where they need it the most, When they need it the most, and how they receive it; your message is bound to fail!

Make sure you know who your audience are! The more specific you can define and understand that narrow set of people…the more expressive and targeted your content will be to them!

Your content may reach and address various geographies and diversified culture but remember

How people decide to spend time with their content is not a function of culture.

All right then, what did we learn, let’s summarize, and keep learning…

Message 1 Content Strategy Message 2

Rest in coming days…Happy Learning!

Why did LinkedIn acquire Slideshare?

Social Media is gaining momentum in the business space and this is indeed a very strategic acquisition for LinkedIn simply because it has always been a professional networking platform.

SlideShare has been an app available through the LinkedIn interface for quite some time. Bringing the service in-house is only going to strengthen the alliance.

In a world of social CRM, where professionals in any department inside an organization are mining social networks for signals, content and messages from their clients, prospects, partners, and employees, a repository of content and a socialized inbox (Rapportive, a Gmail plugin, which LinkedIn acquired in February), clearly point to the future.

Why did LinkedIn acquire Slideshare?

Samsung generated 12 million minutes of Brand Engagement

“Phone launches have become ever more competitive with an incredible amount of pressure to prove successful within the first few weeks. If Samsung wanted to make an impact with the launch of Galaxy SII, they needed something that was globally relevant, highly engaging and easily scalable across dozens of local markets,” explains Kristen Kelly, VP global business director of Starcom.

“Mobile games and Angry Birds were that opportunity. We knew that our target audience used social games far more often than they watched prime-time television shows, and as the number one mobile game in the world, a partnership with Angry Birds would offer us meaningful access to their over 50 million unique active fans. In addition to the custom Galaxy level, we created an online area for users with never before seen images, online video and a contest where users could enter to score highly coveted Angry Birds’ merchandise, as well as bragging rights to those fans who secured the exclusive ‘Golden Egg.’”

The Partnership

Starcom collaborated with Rovio to create the Galaxy SII level, with Samsung getting unrestricted access to the beloved Angry Birds characters. Rather than just a badged level, Starcom worked with Rovio and Enrich Mobile to offer a much more compelling, integrated experience and incidentally, the first ever Angry Birds level to be played in zero gravity.

The Angry Birds characters were used in mobile rich media units and video strategically placed throughout the Angry Birds mobile game. Samsung ran more than 14,000,000 rich media impressions within the Angry Birds game mainly in Europe, Asia and Australia, driving users through to a Samsung-owned mobile landing page, which acted as the hub of the campaign.

Getting potential players through to the “hub” was of course, just the start. The landing pages on both web and mobile allowed Angry Bird users to watch a video showing them how to unlock the “Golden Egg.”

Crucially Rovio designed the gameplay so that the virtual prize, the aforementioned Golden Egg, would be almost impossible to find without watching the video, being told virally via social media, by friends or via message boards.

The news spread quickly, creating a viral buzz for the weird, spacey level and of course, the Samsung Galaxy SII. Starcom reports a high click-through rate to the Samsung SII product pages from the hub, and a high number of competition entrants keen to win Angry Birds merchandise. This campaign had thousands of entries, says Starcom, all of whom Samsung can now communicate with directly.

Justin Lello, CEO of Enrich Mobile, describes the campaign as “seamless to the user in the publisher environment.”

“The Angry Birds/Samsung Galaxy SII campaign was a classic demonstration of how an integrated sponsorship campaign created positive viral buzz from devoted Angry Birds fans around a very slick Samsung owned environment and game play,” says Lello.

“Through this integrated approach, users build positive relationships with brands and in turn an exponential earned return unobtainable through standard display media.”


Users have spent more than 12,800,000 minutes engaging with the Samsung branded level. It can be seen as an example of how modern agencies can execute an integrated marketing campaign.

“The development of an ownable Golden Egg Galaxy level, combined with targeted mobile rich across technology and entertainment environments, delivered an incredible response to the campaign — more than 1.6 million game plays and average of eight minutes of engagement per user,” reports Kelly.

“As the level itself was playable globally, the organic seeding and earned online buzz led to game plays from all corners of the globe. Starcom recognized the power of leveraging paid, owned and earned, and negotiated with Rovio to broadcast a message to their Angry Birds Facebook Fan page about the promotion — to 4MM+ fans.”

“We also broadcast the message on Samsung’s Facebook page as well. This active approach to harmonizing the effects of paid, owned and earned, established the success of the Galaxy SII launch. Galaxy SII is already Samsung’s best ever selling phone with more than five million handsets sold in just three months.”

‘Facebook Comments’ Now Being Indexed By Google

Stumble upon this interesting article on how Google is NOW indexing the Facebook comments…a new beginning for Social Media?

Add-on commenting systems like Facebook Comments enhance the user experience, but can make it harder for search engines to index content.  Most third party commenting systems leverage javascript to display information and add bells and whistles.  However, Labnol.org reported that now Facebook Comments are being crawled (and ranking) in Google’s SERPs effectively breaking the mold for third party commenting systems and rankings:

Facebook Comments can be displayed in a few different formats, XFBML (Xtended FaceBook Markup Language) and HTML5.  While the report references that Google is crawling comments embedded in an iframe, that specific functionality has been  is no longer supported for Facebook comments.We performed some tests and can confirm that many of the comments are in fact showing up for articles.  Here’s a search for a comment on the Raven blog that uses an XFBML implementation of Facebook Comments: 

So look for Facebook Comments showing up in Google results.

Read here complete article…

Some interesting observations

Assuming that there is a link between economic outlook and price sensitivity, the key takeaways for digital marketers are that when marketing to consumers between the ages of 18 and 49, deep price discounts are less important than when marketing to consumers over the age of 50.

This makes sense as it has direct correlation with buying habits…the impulsive buying habits v/s the thoughtful approach towards buying. It is quite reasonable too if you are coming up with discounts for the consumer of the age group over 50. This also gets highlighted due to the level of financial stability and independence.

A better understanding of customers and how their economic viewpoint changes over time is only the first step to becoming a well-informed digital marketer.

  • Group buying has reached mainstream adoption:

According to Experian Hitwise Demographics for the four weeks ending Jan. 29, 2011, the largest age-bin for visitors to Groupon.com are those Internet users over the age of 55 (37.5 percent).

This is in direct relation with purchasing habits. The more secured and thoughtful approach towards purchasing makes it reasonable for people of this age group to do a group buying.

  • Email is the driving force behind group buying:

While group coupon sites have often been characterized as the Web 2.0 of online shopping, social networking sites are not the driving force fueling their growth; that distinction belongs to email.

In analyzing the upstream traffic to a Website, or a category of sites, it is possible to visualize the “tipping point” of that site or category by looking at visits from social networks versus visits from another source such as search or Web-based email services.

During the very early phases of social buying, back in November 2009, visits to group coupon sites came predominately from social networks (49 percent) versus email (9 percent).

By the summer of 2010, social buying sites experienced a tipping point in source traffic, with email services assuming the role of traffic leader. Since most group coupon offers are driven by a daily deal delivered to consumers’ inboxes, the fact that email services account for more than 17 percent of traffic to the category is not surprising.



Consumer Insights

Checklist for the 2011 digital marketer

  • How well do you understand the target customer for your products and services?
  • How have market conditions affected purchase drivers for your target customers?
  • Have you found the right balance between competing on price versus relying on brand loyalty?
  • Are you leaving money on the table by focusing too heavily on discounting?
Credits: Experian Marketing Services

Experian Marketing Services

Let your customer guide you

While Joe Kennedy’s old adage still holds that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” in the digital world, to be successful, the tough also need to get smarter by understanding their customers and how external forces such as economic turmoil alter purchasing behavior.

We will be talking about Consumer Insight in the coming few days. The facts and figures have been taken from “Experian Marketing Services” and further analysis of these facts has been done here.