December 22, 2015

Is Your Content Strategy Vision Enough for the 2016 Consumer?

2015 has come to an end and it’s time to ask yourself if you’ve achieved all that you thought you would this year. But don’t beat yourself up about small mishaps or typical marketing trials and tribulations, such as social media shortfalls or consumer data inefficiencies. Focus instead on how your brand succeeded when viewed through a more-visionary lens, and then resolve to move forward with broader, more impactful goals.

Consider that more and more consumers are judging brands based on their transparency, trustworthiness and leadership status, according to a recent report from PwC titled “Bonfire of the Brands: Consumer Intelligence Series.” PwC analyzed consumer attitudes toward over 6,700 brands and from over 200,000 consumers from 1999 to 2014. Its findings suggest that consumers will focus more predominantly on the reputation, personality and values of brands moving forward. So, how can you establish yourself as a front-runner in the year to come based on these criteria?

The answer is to boost your content strategy to more strategically position your brand as a true leader. As such, let’s review some of the key take-aways form the PwC report and address the ways your content strategy can be adapted to help you achieve these new standards.

  • Act like a true leader while maintaining authenticity. In fact, 66 percent of U.S. consumers say that the importance of acting like a true leader is more important today than it was in the past. To be perceived as a true leader, brands must exude trustworthiness, authenticity and reliability, including openly expressing their core values and sticking to them. For starters, brands can put their best foot forward in the new year by increasing their visibility on social media. The more your consumers see your brand name and logo, the more they’ll think about you as a leader.

What’s more, by sharing relevant information about causes you care about and refraining from outwardly promotional posts, you seem more relatable and dependable to your audience.

  • Own your personality and deliver experiences that are consistent. According to the PwC report, five different leadership brand personalities exist: 1) redefining-luxury leaders or brands that re-imagine status; 2) empathetic leaders or brands that put people first; 3) inspiring leaders or brands that uplift spirits; 4) power leaders, or brands that do something best; and 5) disruptive leaders, or brands that deliver what you didn’t know you wanted. By identifying your special niche, you can discover which leadership category you fall under and start delivering more consistent experiences, starting with your content.

For instance, PwC uses the Under Armour brand as an example of an inspiring leader. This brand, in particular, it says, honed in on its ability to inspire consumers, thereby creating its powerful “I will” campaign to capture “the passion, intensity and drive of the Under Armour ethos.” Your brand can create something similar by zeroing in on its most prominent leadership characteristic and creating content that amplifies that message, whether you use social media, videos or a series of blogs to send it.

  • Ensure your leaders and corporate culture are highly visible to consumers. Indeed, the PwC report revealed that 65 percent of consumers believe that they and their friends can change corporate behavior by supporting companies that do the right thing. That is, consumers want to support brands that are open about their corporate culture and are transparent about how they treat their employees, as well as how they contribute to important social, economic or environmental causes. Brands cannot afford to be meek about culture and values, as consumers are more likely to base purchasing decisions on whether or not they support those traits.

In addition, more consumers want to be familiar with the leaders behind the brands they support. In fact, the PwC report reads, “across age and regions, our data shows that when consumers have favorable perceptions of company leaders it translates directly to favorable perceptions of the brand.” One way that brands can immediately begin serving up what consumers want is by making leadership more visible on social media, blog sites and email marketing messages. Consumers will likely feel that they share a personal connection with a leader who authors his or her own blogs, signs off on emails and is available on social media.

Becoming a visionary brand is easier said than done. So if you need help making your new vision come to life, turn to a third-party content strategy vendor for guidance and expertise. Reach for the stars!

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