October 16, 2016

IAB Training Series #9 Part 2 - From Creative Excellence to Content Excellence

Data Insights and Storytelling to Build an Always-On Content Strategy


In last week’s post, Mikael Christenson gave a framework to Content Marketing in Southeast Asia. This week, Rika Sharma, Head of Social@Ogilvy and General Manager and Regional Director of Digital for Unilever, dives deeper to offer a practical guide to an always-on content strategy.

Sharma began by telling marketers in the audience that they don’t have to do everything they hear from conferences and articles on the subject. The GM encourages them to take only what applies to the specific context of their organisation and campaigns. What matters most, is that Content Marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. It shouldn’t feel pervasive.  

Here are some of Sharma’s top tips on executing an effective content campaign:

1) Find your campaign ambition

Before creating content, figure out where your brand fits in the existing market. Too often, people think about their brand first, without the context of the category in which they operate. If you’re a skincare brand for example, say Ponds, you need to find out what role Ponds plays in the skincare category in Southeast Asia. Look at the competitors and look at your customer - don’t be brand-centric about it.

Sharma speaks her experience with the women’s skincare brand. Ponds wanted to change their public perception. They are considered pretty old school, young women think it’s mainly used by mothers and grandmothers, they’ve lost relevancy with a younger audience. So brand perception was an important marketing objective for them.

2) Build your brand persona

The next step is to use data-led insights to understand the ideal customer.

Don’t over deliberate data, just use it to inform your strategy. Brands should think of their own proprietary data, the funded data that is available, and actual customer data. Create audience personas. Then, ask the right questions.

Ogilvy started to build the persona for Pond’s: 

  • Who is this person? Is she 25 to 30, female, Indonesian?
  • What kind of music does she like?
  • What is her passion point?
  • Who does she interact with?
  • Who influences her?
  • Bloggers, mommy bloggers -  How important are they within her ecosystem?
  • What is she searching for? Search is important, it tells the truth about your brand persona.

3) Determine a content objective

Translate your marketing objective from Step #1 into a content objective. Clearly define your goals based on your ambition.  For example, if the business goal for Ponds was education, the content objective is to grow brand awareness and create thought leadership. This means keeping track of total attention time, influencer mentions/shares, measuring engagement on the content, and measuring sentiment over time.

4) Build the consumer journey.

How do you create the path to purchase? With Ponds, the marketing objective was to change brand perception. They transferred that into a campaign on “Understanding your skin in depth”. Getting really specific can be incredible for the brand. Ponds gained credibility because the product was delivering on its promise [to take care of your skin]. This type of educational content can do everything from awareness to action. 

5) Be consistent with your tone

When building a story, think about what you want to sound like. Stay true to your brand. Are you helpful? Optimistic? Inspiring? This tone has to stay consistent throughout the campaign across all content that is developed later on.

The brand needs to be consistent with who they are. This is important because it informs how the story develops and the tone is used to constantly improve the content. Marketers can’t be thinking about the output needs before planning the campaign. Likewise, a content calendar should only come after all the planning is completed. Your editorial calendar can be in different formats. Make sure to look at frequency and think about how often you want to be posting content. 

Want more advice like this? Attend the next IAB SG  next training session. Keep posted on our Twitter or Facebook page!

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