Why Brand Strategy and Content Strategy Are Now One and the Same
When one of my favorite clients, Torchlight Technology Group, asked me to come on board as their interim Director of Brand Strategy, I was excited to continue the content strategy work I had been doing for them on a larger level. It was in that role, however, that I realized that brand strategy and content strategy are incredibly intertwined; so much so, that you cannot really have one without the other.
I was pleased to see this theory confirmed recently when I came across an article written for Content Marketing Institute that also was making the argument that brands should "develop a business case and strategy for content as a function in the business." And while many of his agency's consulting clients were focused on using content to develop a better lead generation engine in 2019, he found that in 2020 there was a shift to focus "on how content marketing can help enhance an overall brand strategy or assist with awareness programs to help strengthen the earliest parts of the customer’s journey."
It's a shift that I hope continues to gain speed in the coming years, because (as anyone who has spent time on any social media channel can attest) content is a vital component of moving your brand forward and winning new business. If you're on the fence about how content can be integrated into a wider brand strategy or if you are skeptical about why your brand should be investing in content marketing in the first place, here are the top reasons I'd use to convince you it's a necessity:
Content Will Help You Stand Out From the Crowd
Aside from the unicorn goal of going viral, creating consistently awesome content will set your brand apart from your competition, especially in a crowded space. When you can't compete on product or service or price, you can leverage your unique viewpoint within the marketplace. The ultimate goal when crafting a brand strategy is how you can align your brand values with what your consumer's values are, while also solving a problem for them.
Creating that kind of emotional connection isn't just fluff; it's your ticket to higher profits. Consumer Thermometer researched how connected consumers felt to brands and over 65% of the 1000 people surveyed said they had felt an emotional connection to a brand or business. Their research also cites Harvard Business Review, who found that connected customers are over 50 percent more valuable, on average, than the highly satisfied customer. By using content to relay your brand values yields an emotional connection with consumers, and thus, moves your brand forward as a business.
Successful Content Strategy Aligns With Larger Brand Goals
For most businesses, it's not enough to have the singular goal of simply becoming more profitable. There are always other goals to work towards, whether it's greater brand awareness, giving back to good causes, expanding your talent pool, or improving your company culture. And guess what? Content can help you achieve all of them.
The best way to achieve these overarching brand and content goals is by understanding your target audience in a meaningful, in-depth way. A key component to the work that I do is in identifying target audience(s) and breaking down their psychographic information, whether I'm working on a brand strategy or a content strategy for clients. Without understanding who you are talking to and what they need from you in order to create a connection, you aren't going to succeed as a brand or a marketer. According to Demand Metric, 82% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after reading customized content that addresses their specific needs. And furthermore, 70% of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing. By investing in content that has a clear strategy behind it, you can further your brand's goals, no matter what they are.
A Good Content Strategy Will Generate More Leads
Many clients I've worked with have come to me because their sales have plateaued and they can't figure out why. I always start by both interviewing the relevant stockholders about what the brand thinks is important and then looking at their existing content. About 9 out of 10 times, there is always a disconnect between when they want to convey as a brand and what they're actually conveying via their content marketing.
Part of it is mixed messages in what's being presented across channels. And when the customer experience doesn't match up, potential customers run for the hills. In fact, presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%, according to an infographic published by Forbes.
When I first got into the content game, most marketers looked at it as an afterthought, something that wasn't really necessary to seal the deal for sales. They connected it to the top of the funnel only; to SEO, to education, to brand awareness. But content has grown to become one of the savviest types of marketing that a brand can invest in right now. And the only way to achieve success is to make sure you have a solid strategy driving you forward.