Companies that evangelize, reinforce, and institutionalize the importance of content throughout and beyond the marketing organization are more successful not only across their marketing initiatives but also with other internal and external success benchmarks, such as sales, employee advocacy, customer service, audience engagement, thought leadership, and hiring.
When content becomes an ingrained element of an enterprise’s culture, the culture functions like a well-oiled engine, producing, circulating, and begetting content, creating numerous efficiencies in the process.
Based on my research report, co-authored with Jessica Groopman for Altimeter Group.
Table of Contents
Definition of a Culture of Content
Why the Culture of Content Is Emergent Now
The Anatomy of a Culture of Content: Inspiration, People, Processes, and Content
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WebinarA Culture of Content Rebecca Lieb, Industry Analyst Jessica Groopman, Sr. Researcher January 14, 2015
“If you want to learn about a culture, listen to the stories. If you want to change the culture, change the stories.” – Michael Margolis
A Culture of Content exists when the importance of content is evangelized enterprise-wide, content is shared and made accessible, creation and creativity are encouraged, and content flows up and downstream as well as across various divisions.
Agenda Welcome Why a Culture of Content is Emergent Now The Anatomy of a Culture of Content Seven Success Criteria Q&A
Demand for content has never been HIGHER, and still growing… Brands as publishers Employees as publishers Always-on social media Channel proliferation Platform proliferation
Inspiration: Intangibles that fuel a Culture of Content • Vision • Creativity • Risk/Willingness to Fail
Vision A shared, single purpose, mission, or goal is paramount for empowering a CoC Establishes a baseline of understanding, how day-to-day tasks serve a higher purpose Most effective when generated, embodied, and exemplified by leadership
Seattle-based Eastlake Community church was so inspired by charity:water’s content and mission…
Creativity The willingness/drive to think beyond content and marketing that has worked in the past Helps differentiate the organization Grants creators the freedom to flex their creative muscles ‘The crowd’ (earned and social listening) can also inspire creativity
Sony identified a user-submitted troubleshooting post viewed 42k times in 2 weeks A phone call costs the brand €7; Viewed 42k times, Sony affixed a value of €294k (€7 x 42k) to a single piece of content, then developed more content to address the pain point.
Risk & the Willingness to Fail Providing permission to fail mitigates fears of failure, embarrassment, job termination To differentiate through content, content marketers must be empowered to take risks View failure with a spirit of innovation– recognizing the issue, learning from it and moving on quickly More content leaders are incorporating risk-taking & willingness to fail in the hiring process
People: The Human Foundation of a Culture of Content Inspiration: The intangibles that fuel a Culture of Content • Senior Leadership • Content Leader • Business Units • External Partners • Employees • Vision • Creativity • Risk/Willingness to Fail
Senior Leadership • The critical role of senior leadership is buy-in and evangelism • When lacking, marketing executives must make the formal business case • CM leaders cite metrics as common point of entry • CM leaders must constantly reinforce the value of content initiatives with data (e.g. sales, brand lift)
Content Leader • Chief Content Officer: an elusive, much vaunted, and still inconsistent role • Key responsibilities: • Constantly evangelizes and demonstrates content’s value • Creates content strategy • Implements processes and infrastructure • Coordinates across departments, builds ownership • Identifies gaps, needs, and opportunities; nurtures creative talent and content-centric mindsets
Business Units • Content travels well beyond Marketing, permeating other divisions (consumer-facing first) • PR, Comms, social media, field marketing teams, sales, HR, R&D, support, etc. • Legal and IT typically involved in approval, governance, technology implementation and deployment • Also includes subject matter experts from among senior executives, researchers, and product groups
External Partners • Equally urgent to the need for external partners to help create the content is the need for cultural unity among all parties • Agencies of all kinds • Shopper/marketing insights organizations • Any third-party company aiding in any content marketing-related use case (e.g. agency and vendor partners)
Kraft works with several agencies and shopper insights organizations To centralize these many initiatives, Kraft leverages a social media monitoring center that examines activity around individual brands, analyzing for insights by segment, geo-location, influencers, etc. “Combining content with data extends its impact.” -- Julie Fleischer, Director, Data + Content + Media at Kraft Foods Group
Employees • Not all employees will be content creators; encourage and empower identifiers • Evangelizing, training, educating, demonstrating value, welcoming feedback • Operationalize via • Internal social networks, highlight best (and worst) practices, case studies, solicit feedback, asset sharing • Centers of Excellence and/or Digital Acceleration teams • Incorporate attitude towards content into hiring process
Process: Components that Streamline & Scale a Culture of Content • Evangelism • Governance • Education & Training • Technology
Evangelism • The key to evangelism is understanding the unique needs and pain points of each constituency and tailoring content initiatives to serve their needs and yield relevant results to drive greater buy-in. • CM leaders must identify and build relationships with other functional leaders continuously • Evangelism expands to all people, including external partners • Many companies begin evangelism across consumer-facing depts. first
Governance • Governance empowers employees to act autonomously while also making decisions in line with the organization • Defines how content is developed, curated, created, and reviewed; manages workflows and safeguards • What brand guidelines are; what the standards for content artifacts are • Who is empowered to make editorial decisions; and how to manage crises
Education & Training • Training must be both initial (at new program roll-out), but also ongoing • Best practice sharing, case examples • Updates on programs, tools, workflows • More formal classes or routine sharing (e.g. internal social networks) • Education must account for global, regional, and local content programs • Hiring or promoting with an eye for editorial or creative background can accelerate the learning curve
Technology • Technology’s role is to centralize, streamline, and optimize • Execution, knowledge sharing, branded assets, approvals, analysis, reporting, any other priority use case • Shared access across multiple teams to common tools drives efficiencies across all use cases • Leverage technology to inform more intelligent investments and activations across paid, owned, and earned
Remember, tools are only as valuable as they are integrated Source: Content Marketing Software Landscape: Marketer Needs & Vendor Solutions
Converged Media Results in Content Begetting More Content • Paid • Owned • Earned
The Convergence of Paid, Owned, & Earned • Content is the atomic particle of all marketing, across paid, owned, and earned media • The mindset of media convergence is a primary impetus to a culture of content • Designing content for paid, owned, or earned • Breaking down internal barriers and silos • Multi-disciplinary planning, ideation, coordination, deployment (less about content, more about seamless CX across devices, channels, media)
“A culture of content begins with an obsession of the customer”-- Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy, Newscred
1. Customer Obsession Guides Content Listen for consumer insights across channels. Design content to unify the customer–brand experience. Assess all content for worthiness.
2. Align Content with Brand Crystallize how the content supports the brand vision. Incorporate that vision into training and evangelism. Only publish content that supports the brand vision.
3. Drive Content Leadership from the Top Down & Bottom Up Evangelize and test department-specific initiatives to drive bottom-up support. Leverage cross-functional results and support to drive top-down support. Both C-level and content leaders must reinforce an ongoing culture of content.
4. Culture Requires Constant Evangelism Content leaders must lead the content evangelism. Articulate and demonstrate WIIFM, both bottom-up and top-down. Commit to ongoing cross-functional evangelism, support, communication, and optimization.
5. Test & Learn Start with small, tightly scoped, inexpensive pilots. Listen, analyze, A/B test, optimize, and repeat. Take risks, fail forward, and apply lessons.
6. Global Must Enable Local Global must provide strategic oversight, support, resources, and direction. Enable local teams with appropriate cultural, linguistic, and contextual resources. Appoint regional and/or local content leaders to scale training and ongoing evangelism.
7. Integrate Across All Cultural Components Integrate across people: workflows, tool access, collaboration, best-practice sharing Integrate across technology: data sets, systems, third-party tools, analytics Integrate across media: paid, earned, owned, local, etc. sd
Benefits of a culture of content will drive its adoption amidst an increasingly complex digital climate • Agency turf wars will continue to escalate. • Convergence drives the emerging Marketing Cloud • As the imperative for content grows, organizational acceptance, accountability, and key best practices will be well defined– across all functions.
Thank You Disclaimer: Although the information and data used in this report have been produced and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty eXpressed or implied is made regarding the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or use of the information. The authors and contributors of the information and data shall have no liability for errors or omissions contained herein or for interpretations thereof. Reference herein to any specific product or vendor by trade name, trademark or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the authors or contributors and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. The opinions eXpressed herein are subject to change without notice. Altimeter Group provides research and advisory for companies challenged by business disruptions, enabling them to pursue new opportunities and business models. Rebecca Lieb Industry Analyst @lieblink Jessica Groopman Senior Researcher @jessgroopman