Same, but different. Why it’s vital to get your content strategy and brand strategy working together

 

 

Do you know the difference between a brand strategy and content strategy? They’re both key parts of a modern marketer’s arsenal. But while closely connected, they aren’t the same thing. It’s worth understanding why.

 

What is a brand strategy?

Your brand strategy is your overarching marketing bible. Sitting above all else, it guides everything to do with building your brand – from clearly articulating who you are and what you do, to what you believe and how you should communicate.

 

What is a content strategy?

Your content strategy is a powerful – but not the only – tool for executing your brand strategy. More fluid than your brand strategy, it outlines how to use content to communicate who your brand is and what you’re all about as business.

Clearly, they’re both pretty important. While they should ideally work closely together, often they don’t.  In fact, in our experience many businesses don’t have a content strategy at all! (According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Benchmarks report, only 37% of marketers in the USA currently have one and it’s no doubt a similar story here in Australia). The obvious question is, why?

 

Short-term ‘brand’ blindness.

When timings are tight and to-do lists are long, there’s tremendous pressure to take a short-term approach to just get things done. Unfortunately, this means day-to-day tasks and tactics often begin to supersede all others, and the brand strategy often gets relegated to ‘another day’, replaced instead by an eclectic array of project-based content and campaigns.

Now, in the short-term this may not seem like a big deal, especially if sales and revenue still seem okay. But when it continues month after month, year after year, the long-term threats to a brand can become very real.

Without a well-defined brand strategy guiding your content, even the best brands risk becoming muddled. When a brand loses clarity, its emotional connection with customers quickly falls, as does customers loyalty. This leaves it at mercy of commoditisation and competitors who may be doing a better job of nurturing those same connections.

 

Be true to who you are

Regardless of the media channels you use, the consistency and relevance of your content is pivotal in building and maintaining a healthy brand. While you want your content ideas to be interesting, it’s also important they truly reflect who you are. Remember, people want to support brands with shared values, and content is a powerful way to communicate these. The flip side is the wrong content can also undermine your values – so be careful!

 

Brand Guidelines

Inconsistency is the enemy of any brand. That’s why, if you haven’t already done so, we strongly suggest you formalise your brand identity and tone of voice through the creation of brand guidelines. In addition to including things like your positioning, tagline and values, it should also provide clear rules around your preferred content style. It’s also a great idea to include specific examples outlining approved ways to talk, write, post and even tweet about your brand. Another thing well worth considering is appointing a Brand Champion within your business to help ensure the brand guidelines are understood and adhered to at all times.

 

The relationship between your brand and content strategy is a very important one.  Your content program should articulate your brand. Your content pillars should support and tell your brand story regularly and consistently. No strategy is set in stone – to make your content as effective as possible, experiment, test and adjust your content strategy according to your results.

 

Could your brand and content strategies be better aligned?

Do you need help creating brand guidelines?

Contact The Marketing Syndicate today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 ways to improve every creative brief

 

How can you reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going?

It may seem pretty logical. But generations of creatives have been left to ponder this exact question over the years, faced with incomplete or confusing information about the challenge they’ve been tasked to solve.

Even if you’re fortunate enough to be working with highly experienced creatives, the result of this confusion is typically a lot of wasted time, wasted energy and, ultimately, wasted marketing dollars.

The key to avoiding these all-too-common situations is to treat your creative briefs like a road map, ensuring they’re always crystal clear, complete and easy for others to navigate. True, it will probably take you a little extra time upfront to do this. But the pay-off down the track will make it well worthwhile.

Here are three things we always try to deliver with our own creative briefings here at The Marketing Syndicate.

  1. Inspire, excite, motivate!

A motivated creative is a far more likely to be an effective creative. It’s your job to fire them up! From the language you use and the props you bring (did someone say snacks?), to your choice of location for the briefing itself, the more you can do to peak their interest and inspire them via the briefing process, the better their ideas are likely to be. Remember, they’re probably working on other briefs at the same time too, so you need to make sure yours gets plenty of love!

  1. Insight delight

Whether you tap into learnings from past campaigns, market research, customer focus groups or even the wider strategic direction of your brand, the best creative briefs are almost always rich in specific consumer insights. In fact, these are the exact things your creative team will most likely seek to leverage in their ideas. Avoid generic claims and sweeping generalisations at all costs, especially when it comes to writing your single-minded proposition (SINGLE, being the key word here.) Specific ownable insights are what it’s all about.

  1. Less is more

One of the most common creative briefing pitfalls is the temptation to overwrite them. It’s easy to think the more information you include the better. After all, you don’t want to miss out something important, right? Trouble is, when you include every conceivable detail the result is almost the same: confusion. There’s no surer way to stifle even the best creative teams than to overwhelm them with an avalanche of data. Think of yourself as an information filter. Cut through the clutter and clearly identify those key things and messages that are MOST important for your campaign to be successful, remembering it’s a very fine balance between including too much and not enough.

Ready to talk about your next creative brief?  

Contact The Marketing Syndicate today.

 

We’re a boutique Sydney promotional marketing and creative agency trusted by some of Australia’s biggest brands. We’re 100% passionate about what we do, and that passion shows through in the quality of our work. Give Ingrid Ambrosius a call if you'd like to know more about The Marketing Syndicate and our services.