How content operations can become your marketing superpower – notes & slides

Earlier this week we were joined by speakers from adidas and American Express for our content and social media operations briefing. The speakers gave the audience of senior brand marketers insight into the complex content operations of the two global brands.

Customers are defining their media landscape and their expectations of brands are changing rapidly. Organisations need to be able to adapt to the huge scale and pace of change. Brands must focus on providing the right content at the right time to consumers who are empowered to talk to, and about brands like never before.

The shift is already happening. Research shows that in 2015, 31% of marketing budget was spent on content. But how can you be sure that you are investing in the right people, processes and communications?

Why good creative isn’t enough

Successful content is not all about the creative. Organisations must take a serious look at their platforms, processes and culture, to ensure the content is consistent, customer focused and provides valuable outputs.

A large part of the challenge revolves around making connections – not just with your customers, but within your organisation. The teams responsible for creating content and communications must be connected and working towards a common purpose. A common purpose is where the interests and needs of your audience overlap with the interests and needs of your brand.

The power of newsrooms to drive change

The number of brands with in-house ‘newsrooms’ is increasing. They’re altering organisations – particularly the relationship with the customer. They act as mission critical teams within marketing departments. Cross-functional, empowered and autonomous, newsrooms are the delegated brand voice and are constantly working with real-time data and customer feedback. Short planning cycles and instant adaptability means they can act as iterative innovation hubs within large organisations. This can be the first spark of deeper organisational change.

Experimentation with customer focussed communications can lead to fundamental change. An example of this is Burberry’s recent decision to overhaul its calendar. Historically, fashion brands present their new collections to the industry and press five months before the clothes are available in stores. Through a process kick-started by livestreaming its 2010 shows directly to the customer, Burberry made the decision to present its collections twice a year and to make the products available in its shops in store and online immediately after the show.

How American Express increased customer engagement and content efficiency

I used to think processes killed creativity… but the right processes frame creativity.

Sarah Jones from American Express presented the story of its global marketing operations. The central team works with the global markets to distribute content internationally. Previously, large amounts of content produced by the central team were being wasted, because the global market teams knew it wasn’t relevant for their customers.

By focussing on the common purpose and the six Ps – purpose, principles, platforms, processes, people and performance – Sarah and the global market teams began to meet regularly to plan and evaluate the content they were producing. This meant that no effort was wasted or duplicated and they always kept the needs of the customer in mind. This led to a renewed focus on evergreen content – the unglamorous but extremely helpful FAQs or detail about the benefits that its customers are searching for.

In six months American Express increased customer engagement by 200% and content efficiency by 500%.

How adidas’ content operations enable real-time social brand experiences

Kris Ekman heads up a team at adidas that supports the brand’s global newsrooms. His team enables real-time social brand experiences, by developing robust internal functions that allow the brand to operate efficiently.

By paying close attention to the data around how and when they are speaking to customers, including the length of time it takes to find answers and distribute information, Kris and his team are able to put in place processes that can withstand the addition of ever more platforms, channels and accounts.

Without close attention to process, the team are unable to understand why a certain product or platform may help the brand communicate with its customers. As the enabler of the global communications team, the focus is always on the tech that helps them better serve their customers.

The complexity of these global operations means that a ‘customer-first’ mindset is also important internally – only in this instance the ‘customer’ is the employee, the individuals who are going to be working with these systems every day.

If you’d like to discuss your content and social media operations challenges please get in touch.