Going from brand to content to the user experience

Most companies recognize the importance of a customer centric brand approach but fall short in developing a comprehensive content marketing plan. Often, companies develop a succession of content pieces without having a clear overarching goal or in coordination of the brand strategy. Aligning all the content creators in the company is key in maintaining a consistent voice and in strengthening credibility and building trust.

Technology businesses face unique challenges to communicate their brand and product information clearly and in lay man language, so customers would really understand the proposition quickly and effectively, grasp changes, or upgrades. Engaging customers with newly introduced products and the relationship of the new to the existing solutions or products may be complicated. Cleantech companies face a similar challenge. For example, in the competitive residential solar markets, the solar industry turns almost exclusively to rational promotional tactics with cost savings analysis of the customer’s energy bill, available tax credits, and various financing models. A different approach can introduce programs that engage customers on an emotional level and promote the benefits of utilizing solar energy at home. Such brand strategy is likely to be advantageous over rational approach and may give a competitive edge.

At the Spring Silicon Valley Brand Forum, a panel of marketing and branding experts and consultants discussed the benefits and challenges in incorporating brand messaging with content marketing. Panelists included Sanders Arts (Atmel), Karl Isaac (Adobe), Margot Merrill Fernandez (Facebook), Bob O’brien (Interbrand), and moderator Bob Kennedy.

The panelists discussed how brand strategy, content marketing and the user experience go hand in hand. Building and keeping a community is one of the goals. A community-based brand strategy would focus on the customer experience; i.e. the customer’s conversation and story. In order to build and maintain trust, conversations need to be authentic. Empowering the users to tell their own stories and encouraging them to share their experience is a desired process. Building a community starts from mapping out the user experience from sign up to on-boarding, usage, and all the way to exit or sign off.

Creation of content is one thing, maintaining and updating existing content is another challenge. Facebook has been paying careful attention to communicating changes in the platform and the impact such changes or upgrades may have on each member. Facebook evaluated business users on how they used the platform for their brand. Monitoring the entire user journey helped assess how businesses use Facebook, for what, the frequency, setting choices, etc. Further, mapping out the user process allowed Facebook to derive metrics that were aligned against the corporation’s goals, as well as identify necessary adjustments..

The panelists suggested that content strategists:

Align of all the content creators in the company. Take a team approach, educate and collaborate with marketing and the communication personnel, engage the brand content staff, product content producers and the company’s bloggers to keep one voice for the brand.

Measuring, or metrics, are a hot topic and sound like buzzwords. To be effective, assess of what you measure and what it may mean in your company, industry, markets, etc. Just setting metrics doesn’t mean you get valuable insights. Combine the data captured on user clicks, the the user time spent on content and how the webpages are used, the user navigation, etc. with monitoring content and its impact. Also, monitor social media channels to harvest valuable feedback and to help design your social marketing.

Today, some technology companies provide the platform for users to create content. Adobe has a creative community where users share design assets. Numerous chat rooms and community-based forums invite users to post content. Facebook has 1.3 billion users that create content every minute. Can the users – the public content producers – hurt your brand? For example, controversial or hate messages may be posted using your social media platform, which may be unacceptable or in opposition to your company’s values.

How can a company ensure that the content the masses create are aligned with the platform’s brand strategy?

This challenge definitely creates a big headache to social media companies. Making sure that users’ content adheres to the brand’s mission, values and attributes is a constant issue, since every piece of feedback can create chaos.

UPCOMING EVENT

SVForum presents: Marketing and Social Media Forum – Best Practices for B2B Content Marketing
Effective marketing is more than just great content and a dynamic sales line–it’s what you do with that content that counts. At this installment of our Marketing and Social Media Forum, two expert CMOs will discuss the best ways to engage your B2B clients with all the channels available to you (social media, e-marketing, blogs, and more) and how to create content that effectively tells–and sells–your company’s story.
Panelists: Kamal Alhuwalia, CMO of Apttus, Vamshi Sriperumbudur, CMO of Declara

Details: May 11th, 2015; 6:00 — 9:00 pm

Detati Digital Marketing, 265 Caspian Drive, Sunnyvale, CA

More information and registration: Click here.