Many CMOs have made the development of an effective content strategy a top priority over the last few years. This has led to new generations of content agencies appearing at a rapid pace, forcing established agencies to keep up by ensuring that digital, brand, and customer-focused content strategies are central to their overall offering.
However, many senior marketers are still falling into the trap of focusing on creating multiple, one-off pieces of content—some of which will, inevitably, “trend” or drive sharing. In doing so, they are missing the bigger picture, sacrificing sustained improvement in loyalty and repurchase for short-lived spikes in interest. And even when brands are willing to play the long game, the content strategy is often not joined at the hip with the brand’s overall story or developed alongside a detailed understanding of different customer journeys.
Build A Narrative Over Time
The most successful brands are those that recognise that effective content strategies require greater insight and planning, and that they always need to be rooted in the brand’s core promise. For service brands, it is also crucial to have a consistent storyline that is bound with the brand strategy and emphasises a differentiated customer experience. Developing a content strategy that builds a narrative over time is critical to success. This is something that we have applied in our work with Hertz Europe by developing a content strategy around “Reasons to Hertz.” Successful strategies help deliver a consistent story over the long term as well as developing multiple executions across all channels around the core theme.
Match Content To Channel
As it is essential for this consistency to thread through the entire campaign, brands need to have a clear understanding of how different types of content work on different platforms—a great idea which executes well in one channel, but delivers a suboptimal experience in another, will often leave customers frustrated rather than engaged. When the real thing that brands need to be focusing on is driving long-term engagement, avoiding this kind of frustration is key. It’s absolutely essential to make sure that your customers don’t get turned off at the first hurdle.
BA is a great example of a service brand that has learnt from experience. Having identified the importance of a compelling mobile experience both for its customers and to facilitate its “pre/at airport processes,” it produced a great smart phone app that provided useful, real-time information to customers and facilitated their journeys, all within a tailored, stylish design. The brand realised the mobile app didn’t translate to the iPad so developed a tablet-specific version, which more than matched the original smartphone version, offering broader functionality, including an in-flight entertainment planner and easier flight booking, and an enhanced experience that matched other online channels.
Determining what will ensure long-term loyalty requires an in-depth understanding of customer behaviour. This is where data comes in—data helps identify customers and their interests as well as the ways that their behaviour changes across platforms. By ensuring that the content you are delivering is relevant to all of your customers, and served in a format and channel in which they want to receive it, you can steer clear of below-par experiences. This means that any mass communication produced is well executed—in turn driving sharing and making customers much more inclined to stay engaged in the long term.
So the key to creating the right kind of content comes with making sure that your content strategy is bound up with your brand strategy as closely as possible. These are the strategies that focus on the data and the customer’s behaviour from the early planning stages, are consistent across social platforms, and have a strong, simple, and clear brand narrative that runs through the whole campaign. The successful content strategy will be the one that takes into account what is really relevant to the target audience, rather than what will produce the quickest spike in attention.