Category : content strategy

The hero in employee branding

Businesses tend to use the word hero in employee branding. They are keen on hiring heroes or they describe their internal extraordinary workforce as such. A hero is someone who is brave and performs astonishing deeds. Does this actually happen between the four walls of an office? Commitment differs from heroism. True heroism comes from altruism, an instinct to do what is not being asked, anticipating on a situation which is potentially dangerous, uncomfortable, unforeseen and sometimes life threating. It means sticking out your neck for others facing huge risks.

All shapes and sizes

Heroes come in all forms and shapes but being or becoming an office-hero to me is a tiny bit weird. It connotates with topping client expectations, problem shooting and operational excellence. All very knightly and admirable but is it correct to refer to it as heroism? When it comes to being a hero, the b-to-b office environment might not be the best example to use the word. And yet, maybe times have changed, and we’ve grown to a different meaning, so we actually can use it in the workplace. Was Steve Jobs a hero? Some heroes perform great acts, some are never in the spotlight and remain unsung.

Calvin Coolidge said: “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.” For now, I will stick with: “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion and the context.” Maybe everyone can be a hero depending on the scale of their deeds, even in the office…

Thanks for making me wonder…about heroes

 

 

How marvelous storytelling arises from a traveling suit

The suit has become the modern harness of nowadays knights. The power-suit has been worn by men and women for a long time, to stress status, to emphasize a sense of style or just creating plain unification in an obligatory office setting. The suit has a rich history, the story of Roski Yard adds another dimension to the equation.

We needed a suit

The Traveling Suit movement started in 2016. The Amsterdam based designer duo Roski Yard decided to make a long-lasting design. The thought of the traditional suit arose, one that would fit any occasion, everywhere. A design that needed to be challenged and paraded by unique woman, mirroring their own beliefs and that of its makers. A suit with a client centric view, a disruptive design that would be tested by a worldwide panel of female wearers. Roski Yard wanted stories…

Not just a design, it is one day out of a woman’s life

They decided to put beauty in the eye of the beholder. Instead of just designing a piece, they put a unique piece together to gather its wearers experience and stories. The idea was to provide women around the globe with the suit for one day. By including a disposable camera with their garment, they enabled the wearers to capture their moments wearing the traveling suit.

The power arose from earlier days…

Early 1920’s Coco Chanel, started the tilt in women’s wear. Coco kept it traditional, feminine yet authoritative, making women feel comfortable in the masculine elements of a suit. It aligned with the post WW-1 era, a time where women were partially shedding their traditional role.

Helmut Newton also made a bold statement while capturing the stunning style of Yves st Laurent in 1966. The photograph of a boyish femme fatale in a tuxedo, smoking on the street became famous. An explosion of power and erotica while putting women to unusual power. In that developing era of sexual freedom, female power dressing literally followed suit.

And it continues today in a different setting

Following this historical line, I see Millennial designer duo Roski Yard understanding the midst of the customer first, lesser choice and unconventional methodologies era. They captured a beautiful cross-border storyline on a suit fitted to inspiring women. Building on experience first.

Their website launched today and displays its colorific wealth of only one suit. Visit http://www.roskiyard.com/ Follow their suit movement on Instagram: @roskiyard

Thanks Roski Yard for making me wonder…about fabric power!

 

 

2020 every day, bite size strategies

The European Commission introduced Europe 2020 as a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Back then, in 2010, we were emerging from an unprecedented crisis and needed to address impactful, long-term challenges. The strategy was designed to help Europe transform itself over a 10-year period, from 2010 to 2020.

The corporate world also considered 2010 a good year to reset their strategies over a 10-year period. Or, maybe 2020 just sounded more futuristic and forward-looking than 2014. It is the end of the second decade in this century, so if companies were going to reset their strategy, shooting for 2020 made sense.

2020 vision

The term 20/20 also refers to a person’s vision. Optometrists decided what a person should be able to see when standing 20 feet from an eye chart. If you see what a “normal” person should see, you’re said to have 20/20 vision.

We need a day-to-day eye for excellence

It causes me to wonder whether we shouldn’t all think as if it is 2020 every day. We’d sharpen our wits to see the challenges we face, and develop solutions for them, with extraordinary vision. On a daily basis we encounter products and services being brought to market with remarkable speed, and we experience disruption in many areas of our personal and professional lives. It is time we start to .

2020 Content Strategy?

I think 2020 can be used in both connotations when applied to content strategy. We need to evaluate and validate trends and develop strategies based on values connected to a fast-forward society. Let’s call it fluidity in strategy when it comes to content, context, creativity and commerce.

Coca-Cola -for instance- has a different vision for the future of their content marketing.

  • They’re committing to use their content to make a difference in the world with content that has value and significance in the lives of their customers.
  • They want to hone their storytelling ability and use stories to generate conversations that will lead to transformational actions. As a result, they’ll earn a disproportionate share of popular culture.
  • They’re moving from creative excellence to content excellence.

In Coca-Cola terminology, one needs to create ideas that are so compelling it can’t be controlled. That content must be linked to the organization’s objectives, brand and customers’ interests and values. Customers have moved into the on-demand culture. They communication on their own terms; those terms are changing as new technology provides new ways to communicate. Coca-Cola’s call for dynamic storytelling is intended to include input from customers to tell the right stories. And, they understand that the stories will be dynamic, changing as the customer conversation continues.

Do you have excellent content sight?

If you don’t see your organization being on the leading edge, maybe it’s time to bring in your extra set of spectacles to get you there. Remember, the clock is ticking!

B2B Content Strategists: Stop Writing for Businesses!

B2B content is intended to engage existing and potential customers. And, while customers do work for businesses, you can’t engage them with impersonal content directed at a mass entity. If you struggle to create appealing content, you need to stop writing for businesses and start writing for people. Just maybe we need to stop segregating the B to everything else. We still cling onto nominators too much!

Challenge Yourself to Address a Human Hive

The majority of business writing is targeted at a business network rather than a hive of human beings. You need to think about the fact that users, teams, colleagues, peers – in other words, people – make up a business.

Traditionally, we’ve always believed that B2B content needs to be formal, written with a “stiff upper lip.” However, to be engaging, content needs a personal approach.

Just because you’re writing about business topics, you don’t have to be boring. While you must convey certain crucial information to your audience you can do so with infectious energy and flair . You need to write in a way that is easy for the reader to relate to while communicating the required information.

Write with Abandon

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” You can apply this insight to your writing to make a real impact on your audience.

Keep your writing simple, but make it sharp and clear. Remove the barriers that often stand between your audience and your message. Make your writing attractive by sharing trends and experiences, and even products and services, happily and without restraint.

Be honest. Honesty will give you credibility, and that will build trust. The more your audience trusts you, the more likely they will be to engage with you.

Work to understand your audience. Don’t just write about things you think might concern them. Stay in touch with the communities where your audience participates. Ensure that you’re writing about things that will resonate with that community.

Above all, make sure your conclusion sings. The last paragraph of your content needs to inspire and motivate your audience. Take the time to make reading your content all the way to the end worth your audience’s time, and encourage them to take some action.

So….B2B content?

People want to work with people they like. If you can’t talk to all of your prospects in person, at least make sure that you connect with them in writing. It’s the small things that can lead to big business. For your next project, write as if you were talking to a friend – the results may surprise you!

How Does Culture Affect Local SEO?

As a content strategist considering local SEO rules for a client’s website, should you also keep the local culture in mind? The culture of any given area determines the marketing vernacular that consumers will understand and what kind of language may offend. If you are going to use local SEO in your B2B marketing plans, then you need to learn that area’s culture.

How Consumers Recognize Products

If you want to sell soft drinks in Buffalo, New York, then you should know that most people in Buffalo refer to soft drinks as ‘pop’ and not ‘soda.’ People in Buffalo refer to chicken wings simply as ‘wings’ and find the term ‘Buffalo wings’ distasteful.

But does that really matter to a small business trying to sell products in that area? If your B2B marketing to Buffalo area businesses refers to soft drinks as ‘soda,’ your message will be lost. If you are trying to supply Buffalo restaurants with chicken wings and you refer to them as ‘Buffalo wings’ in your SEO content, your message will fall flat.

Their Native Tongue

The city of Chicago has a Polish population of approximately 1.5 million people. There are many parts of Chicago where all the signs you see are in Polish. So when doing content strategy for Chicago, for example, understanding the Polish audience could bring you thousands more customers. You could capture more of that market if your local SEO plan included Polish language content. Not only would you catch the attention of more businesses, but you would also appeal to businesses that your competition is leaving behind.

When developing local SEO strategy, you need to know how important ethnic roots are to your consumers. It would be a huge benefit to anyone trying to market to Chicago businesses to use some Polish content. As a content strategist, a dominant ethnic culture in your client’s target market is an important B2B marketing fact to be aware of.

Why Use Culture?

Paying attention to culture with your local SEO as part of your content strategy sets you up to appeal to niche markets that your competition might be neglecting. Your direct appeal to the local culture strengthens your brand and puts you in front of business professionals who represent the niches you are appealing to.

Culture and local SEO go hand-in-hand. As a content strategist, it is critical that you understand that local culture dictates whether or not your client’s message is received when a target market starts looking for new vendors.

Take content on a service trip

A company’s brand, buyer journey, customer experience and service design are important assets. Unfortunately in many cases the company’s content does not follow the funnel the way it should.

Excellent combination of design and information

The most successful companies reach peak performances through the combination of service design and content or as I like to call it: content supply chain excellence. These businesses make sure that they go above and beyond in every interaction, on all levels – be it brick or clicks.

Whether their customers enter their shops or visit their websites, they enjoy an immersive service, information mix that is so comprehensive they have a best of brand culmination of impeccable experiences. And they are right in doing so as customers judge service holistically; they have an overall experience that does not segregate one element from another.

Content as a guide and an immaculate trigger

When done well, content can compel on its own a flawless journey that pulls people into an immaculate search-, reading- or buying experience. Not just any content will do. It needs a strong grid, and an immaculate trigger.

For content to serve -creating traction and avoiding churn- it needs to do many things:

  • It is relevant: Content needs to be on point, timely and market sensitive. Varying from the lure of pending topics and trends to background and research on deeper issues matching the company’s identity.
  • It meets logic: Content needs to follow the various buyer- and customer journeys on all levels for all personas. The biggest challenge for companies is ensuring that content -at each level of the customer journey- is appropriate, consistent, and logical.
  • It defines an emotional context: Content expresses compelling stories; the founding myth of the brand, its essence, vision, and opinion. Genuine emotions and authentic experiences are key in keeping these narratives strong and trustworthy. The best stories aren’t fairytales, they reflect the brand and include a wide spectrum of topics.
  • Serve and guard: Good content needs to ‘serve’ and ‘guard’. Content guides a customer journey or flow whether it is online or offline. It secures a service mind-set and a service tone of voice. All good stories are supported by service, and the other way around.
  • Content as a publishers’ mindset: In order to become a content driven company one needs to think as a publisher, having knowledge and expertise on display.
  • Non-stop flow: Content simply does not ever stop.

Getting the overall formula right

Getting the content-service formula right can be difficult as customers judge service in a simple way: it’s there or it’s not.

The best content has thrust

The best content has thrust. As technology becomes more advanced and every platform for sharing content becomes competitive, there is a risk of commoditization. “Someone makes an innovative breakthrough, and by doing so they stand out as unique in their field. However, because of the breakneck speed of technological advance, soon everyone else is offering those same features,” explains innovation expert Daniel Burrus. “A product feature that was special, unique, even astonishing, rapidly becomes a standard feature.” As features become standard, the competitive landscape becomes based on price alone – and content is no different.

However, it is possible to stop content from becoming a commodity.

Breaking the Chain

For content to not become a commodity, it needs to transcend advertising and serve a real purpose. Content masquerading as long-form advertising is already facing an uphill battle. It doesn’t require insight and often doesn’t take your customers’ or readers’ needs and motivations into account. But content marketing can be a service. When the content tells a story that meshes with your company’s brand strategy. This could mean that you employ a team or that you work closely with an individual to create content. Just make sure that you are using an actual content strategy and not a formula-driven offering.

Thrust in a Story

The best content has thrust. This means that its stories are supported by comprehensive and tangible data. The best content writers conduct research for the benefit of the reader. Good content is also sensitive to market trends and takes into account what is trending. Emotions are present, pain points are addressed and intentions are clear – but it is more than selling. Good content tells a story as well and it offers solutions and conclusions instead of just a call to action.

Putting It Together

Content thrust creates interaction

Good stories are not fake. Instead, they breathe your company and are supported by a super omni-channelled strategy. Your content needs to reflect your intentions and a sincere consideration of your customers.  A team approach is necessary to make this happen, be it working with an in-house team or employing a writer who works closely with management. This to make sure that any content produced meshes with your brand strategy. Translating team talents into stories is a win-win that benefits the content producer as much as your company.