How can content hubs thrive?

By Anna Perry, June 2022. 12 min read. Posts

Taking control of all your branded content can look pretty damn inviting. When everything goes to plan. But running a content hub isn’t exactly easy. 

Of course, brands need faster, better marketing to reach customers in the right places at the right time. Yet with digital channels increasing, customer journeys are getting more complex. But we still need to find ways to keep them connected, so global brands are in-housing their content production. 

Why? Because, done right, it’s a cost-saving success. With the added bonus of an in-built knowledge of your customer and speed of production. That said, without the right processes in place, in-house content hub risk becoming more house of horrors than a smooth operation. 

How do you get the most ROI out of your internal talent and improve quality and consistency across global content operations? We’ve got some thoughts. 

Picking your principles

The in-house content hub is there to meet the needs of the marketing community so they can meet the demands of the consumer. It’s all about limiting waste and duplicated efforts by mapping the end-to-end process with the central and local marketing teams’ Key performance indicators (KPIs). We worked with Asahi to help with the lack of consistency across their operations, creating FOCUS – a new marketing method that aligned all markets. We used five principles that united teams to form one vision and priority. 

Simplifying the briefing process

All briefs should pass through the same digital systems, using a small selection of briefing templates that correspond to a set menu of project types. No messy email threads or vague briefs. For Asahi, we reduced their number of briefing templates from 75, down to just 5, as part of FOCUS. This marketing model defines fundamental practices every market must put in place, and a clear view of the end-to-end operational model.

Allocating clear ownership

Every process: ideation, pre-production, production and post-production should have an owner to oversee sign-off and delivery. But owning the end-to-end model doesn’t mean never using external agencies.

Clear ownership means you’ll know exactly where there’s a gap or opportunity for external agencies or talent to come in and supplement the hub’s offering. With that knowledge, you can form a brand-wide blueprint for which processes are always outsourced and which are core to the in-house content hub.

Building the operational engine

Processes need to be simple and fast. Reduce delays by ensuring everyone knows when it’s their turn to act. And keep the pace of work steady by delivering every brief according to a clear prioritisation method that’s communicated across the organisation.

Discovering, piloting and scaling

No two content hubs are the same; each will have its own structure and need unique solutions. That’s why all our programmes kick off with a discovery phase. This is followed by a deep-dive session into a hub’s processes, from where we can recommend improvements. 

For the hub to be a success, it must be seen as the go-to creative resource for content and campaign production. So a strong internal campaign is needed to encourage buy-in from the CMO and marketing community.

Transformation can be piloted and tested in one local market or category. Experiments and learnings can form a transformational case study, setting the best-in-class standard that can be rolled out to better integrate brand-wide content marketing operations.

Drawing the lines of communication

Communication needs to be clear between brand managers and leaders, and between each team member in the content hub. Better communication makes the internal content hub nimble, and it also challenges external partners to adapt to your efficacy and speed. 

Working with Barilla, we designed The Digital Imperative. This is a people movement, equipping the marketing community with the mindset and tools to reinvent marketing. Individuals were empowered to make real change – with clear communication through this framework.  

Doing it digitally

To streamline the content hub’s process, all ways of working need to be optimised for a digital environment. And all central and local teams need to be confident with using them in a consistent and collaborative way. Find the tools that work for you and integrate them into your process. Then let the technology do the hard work while you build brilliant campaigns. 

Nurturing long-term skills

For teams to get the most out of their investment in marketing technology, they also need to  commit to long-term digital capability. Investing in training and behaviour change programmes means the entire marketing community can adjust to these technologies with confidence. 

In adidas’ global newsrooms, we identified pain points and duplication in the use of different platforms.

We then created a training and behaviour change programme to inspire their global team to use these technologies in a way that was mapped to the desired workflow of the newsrooms.

Reducing and reusing

Content can be repurposed for future use with proper systems and governance for tagging existing content. This accelerates output and saves you budget, time and carbon on future campaigns. One way to reduce and reuse is to create campaign content toolkits in an atomised format ready for known or unknown future needs. Hero and campaign assets are designed as components, so that they can be used in multiple formats, languages and uses in the future. Read more about this cost-saving approach to content design and management here

Cut the content chaos

If your current content set up doesn’t address internal marketing capabilities, you’ll keep meeting the same blockers, inconsistencies and inefficiencies in your global content operations. 

We’re experts in both building marketing capability and producing creative campaigns that deliver results. We know what it means to optimise content marketing processes for in-house creative teams. We’ve done it for our global clients, including Asahi, Barilla, adidas and American Express.

Get in touch to find out what’s possible for your brand.