Brilliant Reads: building your brand with content, the need for pessimism and drone pizza delivery.

Welcome to Brilliant Reads, where we’re looking at the role of content professionals in brand building, why we need to be a little pessimistic (or perhaps realistic) about our ideas, new features from Google+ and Facebook, and drone pizza delivery.  (Would you like Brilliant Reads in your inbox each week? Sign up here.)

How a head of content strategy, creation and distribution can help build a brand (AdWeek)

Rachael found this lovely post by Barry Lowenthal on the potential role a head of content strategy, creation and distribution can play in brand building.

He writes that while we all know that content is marketing, fewer people see that marketing is content, and that HR manuals, social media policies, annual reports, research studies etc can be content too.

Barry suggests that every piece of communication a company creates is a potential asset to be shared, to give a fuller picture of the company, help define the brand and create a stronger bond with customers.

Despite this, very few brands are taking advantage of this opportunity. Lowenthal suggests that this is where a head of content strategy, creation and distribution comes in. His suggestion is for the role to exist at a VP level, reporting in to the CMO, but also forging strong relationships with all areas of the business to embed the idea of using materials as content and make sure that these potential opportunities are found and surfaced in the right way.

Image credit: eda.c

Think about the collapse as well as the boom (Big Think)

Maša found this article, which encourages us think not just about how an idea might grow, but also the ways in which it might fail.

The author, Sam McNerney, takes his inspiration from Jeff Stibel’s book Breakpoint, which draws on the natural world to discuss technological breakpoints, or moments at which something must either change or fail. When ant colonies reach a certain population they stop growing and branch out to create new colonies, because adding more ants to the current one would be harmful. Ants have existed for about one hundred millions years, and their longevity is attributed to this strategy.

McNerney writes that innovation in the 21st century is beset by a bias that suggests that good ideas are about scalability. We tend to ask questions like: “Can I turn it into an app? Can it go viral? Can it get millions of hits?” instead of: “If it hits a breakpoint, how could it avoid collapse?”

His suggestion is to focus on equilibrium, utility and efficiency, and on learning to spot and respond to breakpoints, rather than on unadulterated growth. He also makes an interesting suggestion that the internet itself could be approaching a breakpoint, because of the sheer amount of bandwidth it will require as it grows.

Image credit: Marcus T Ward

Google+ and Facebook introduce new features for embedding posts

Google+ has made two updates this week. The first will see the integration of Google+ Sign-In with Google’s Authorship program. So if you sign into WordPress or Typepad with Google, the articles you publish will now be associated with your Google+ profile automatically. This is the latest in a series of changes that have seen Google add more importance to authorship.

The second new feature is the introduction of the option to embed Google+ posts on your website. Text, photo and media posts are all supported, and the embeds are fully interactive, so visitors should be able to +1, comment and follow profiles inline.

Facebook has also made a similar addition – you can now embed Facebook posts on webpages too. News organisations will also be able to integrate Facebook conversations into their broadcasts or coverage by displaying public posts of real-time activity about a given topic.

This is the most recent in a series of developments, including the introduction of hashtags and trending topics, which Facebook hopes will make it easier to surface public conversations happening on the site.

How useful post embedding from both Google+ and Facebook will be remain to be seen. While embedding tweets has a clear purpose, embedding posts with a flow of comments can be slightly confusing – users can potentially end up with two different places to comment, and two places to like or share the content. Topic reporting from Facebook seems to have more potential uses, by allowing sites to show a snapshot of public opinion on a particular issue, much like embedding a feed of a particular hashtag or phrase.

Brilliant number

Mobile commerce now accounts for 23% of all online sales, up from 11.6% last year, according to new data from IMRG and Capgemini. The stats also show that smartphones and tablets account for 34% of visits to ecommerce sites.

Brilliant idea

Thanks to Antony for introducing us to this brilliant idea: drone pizza delivery. Domino’s have published a video showing them delivering a pizza by drone, but rather than being a gimmick, drone delivery services could actually be a very smart idea, reducing urban congestion, minimising carbon emissions and saving money (as well as being incredibly cool).