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!


Innovation – Driven by Customer

Numerous studies demonstrate that 70-80% of all new products fail. Lack of relevance, lack of differentiation, inappropriate pricing and not-clear messaging all factor into a brand’s struggle when launching a new product.

However, the ultimate judgment of new products falls to consumers, who, ironically, are often absent from the development process. That development stage stands the greatest chance of generating transformative new ideas early on, before the brand has made a significant investment.

Product creation and adoption are enormously difficult. Not everyone can be like Apple. In fact, only 4 percent of the products you create will succeed past the second year of their launch. And big brands fail spectacularly, too. Witness the failure of Lifesavers soda pop or Ben-Gay aspirin.

Well, could the creators of Lifesavers soda or Ben-Gay aspirin have known that their products were going to fail? Well, yes. Consumer co-creation could have uncovered an important insight to prevent a product failure.

Over the last decade, consumers have helped brands to drive front-end innovation and generate their participation in all stages of a product’s lifecycle largely due to internet. Many brands are NOW investing in “customer co-creation” techniques to avoid late-stage product failures.

The brilliant concept of ‘Crowdsourcing’, in which a broad pool of consumers is invited to suggest ideas and/or respond to specific design challenges, has been widely adopted by marketers. The strategy can potentially shorten the time it takes to get new products to market, not to mention, can leverage an empowered consumer culture. For example, MyStarbucks.com uses an online e-suggestion box to solicit ideas from customers, who can also rate the ideas of others. The company then reports back to this “crowd” of engaged consumers when certain ideas move into development.

But with advantage come together are the disadvantages too. Here is why : For all its benefits — including a broad reach and a high volume of submitted ideas — this approach poses significant challenges. For some brands, the sheer volume of ideas can be daunting to review and assess, sometimes because these sites become prime targets for disgruntled customers to post their customer-service grievances. In addition, these sites’ public nature makes it easy for competitors to pounce first on promising ideas.

For this there is an alternative of ‘Private Communities’, where you interact with customer longitudinally, with a smaller groups (200-400). This format also enables community facilitators to lead an ideation and concept development process that is more structured — thus, potentially more fruitful.

Should You Involve Your Customers in Product Creation?

Regardless of whether you opt for a public or private approach, there are several factors to consider before investing in a co-creation initiative.

  • Recruit the right customers. Carefully consider the types of people from whom to solicit ideas. Think beyond their key demographics and consider recruiting them based on their creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Use a structured approach. Don’t ask consumers what they want in a new product without giving them a structured brainstorming approach, or something to react to. Wide open, blue-sky approaches place too much pressure on consumers to produce what they think is “right” in your eyes. They’re more likely to apply principles and ideas from other companies to your product when they don’t have a structured approach.
  • Manage your expectations. Consumers can only produce ideas based on what they know — their needs — and are not equipped with the knowledge of what’s feasible from a financial and manufacturing perspective. Thus it’s crucial to have processes in place that enable internal R&D resources to vet, narrow down, and refine consumer-generated ideas.
  • It’s more about needs than solutions. Start by determining unmet needs or barriers. Then, feed those needs back to consumers to help inform their ideation process. The ideas your customers generate may not be production-ready, but you can use your understanding of those needs to develop consumer-relevant products of your own.
  • Seek fresh eyes in evaluating ideas. In addition to asking the people who submit ideas to also rate them, consider transporting those ideas to a different venue to get a fresh outlook.
For example, Unilever used face-to-face sessions with young men to develop a new brand extension for its AXE product, the AXE Twist.  Of course, AXE being AXE, the “focus group” included a lot of sexy fun for young guys in a get-away location for Spain – a totally appropriate way to get customer feedback given the nature of the AXE product.

Co-creation is an immature market. Although 80 percent of product strategy professionals use social media to engage with consumers, far fewer do so for product co-creation. And yet, consumers are interested in product co-creation. A private Forrester survey reveals that 61 percent of U.S. adults online are wiling co-creators. But to involve them, marketers must set expectations for the time commitment and reward the co-creators.

Reward need not mean a financial payment, either. Public recognition for helping launch a product can be a powerful incentive.

This way you end up involving consumers from the very beginning of Product life cycle. A product is for customer…and it should be By Customer too.

Social Media…what does it take to get noticed – Part 2

Continuing from where we left in 


Brand Campaign Integration
It’s possible for a social media program to piggyback off a good brand campaign
implemented by a brand’s agency of record, but it has to be transformed into the more
accessible, cooler younger brother of the formal campaign.

In other words, you don’t want to create a bunch of social media profiles that are over-
branded with your product or logo (and therefore off-putting). But it might make sense
to take your tagline (and the promise that comes with it) and build an audience whose
common interest is achieving that promise.  (It’s much easier to inspire community
around a cause or interest than it is to rely on a community based on an innate shared
interest in perpetuating your brand.)