Your Content as Conversation: ConFab Minneapolis 2013 Recap

Read the original post published on iCrossing’s The Content Lab on June 12, 2013.

There was a lot to love about this year’s ConFab Minneapolis, one of three annual ConFab events where businesspeople discuss content strategy and marketing, including how to make content better, how to organize it more effectively, and how content can help all our clients succeed. The most important learning we took away from Confab 2013 is that marketing content must serve as a conversation. The brand’s role in the conversation is to communicate your brand, vision, and the benefits of your products/services directly to the reader. Doing so builds trust with customers and improves the quality of the experiences that customers have with the brand — which thus increases the likelihood your customer will engage in a conversation with you and about you. Here are some additional learnings from the two-day event:

What Is Content?

Nowadays, content marketers understand that content can consist of a wide range of items such as videos, gifs, text-based articles, and infographics that reside wherever you have a digital presence. At ConFab, we also learned about some of the ways content reflects your brand, as follows:

  • By sparking a conversation. The information you put out into the world will start or continue the conversation your brand is having with your customers. In order to have that conversation – you need to know who you are and to whom you’re talking.
  • ·By reflecting your personality. Use your content to show exactly who you are — your walk, your talk, your dress, and your vibe. Own your personality at every turn.

We also learned that content is sometimes scary. Because it’s meant to be so personal, your content can evoke intense feelings for those creating it and for those engaging with it. Be mindful of this reality when creating content or making recommendations to change content. Your “content stakeholders” may be more resistant to change.

Moreover, never forget about the importance of content as part of your marketing strategy. Content is second only to the product/service you’re offering. It is your voice and it should be used effectively to sell your brand. So, in the words of Simple Minds (and for the love of John Hughes) “don’t you, forget about me … ” and make sure you keep content strategy and marketing in your marketing outreach.

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David Cooperstein of Forrester Research Shows CMOs How to Build 21st Century Brands

Read the original post published on iCrossing’s Great Finds blog on May 3, 2013.

Are you a 21st century brand? You are if you deliver a connected experience for empowered consumers, according to David Cooperstein, vice president and principal analyst of Forrester Research. Cooperstein discussed the attributes of successful 21st century brands at the iCrossing CMO SummitMay 3.

Cooperstein kicked off his presentation by showing key data points on how consumers use online media: there are 133 billion searches on Google per month, 400 million tweets sent per day on Twitter, and more 33 million streams per day on Hulu.  Audiences online are much larger than traditional television audiences, and even larger than traditional print audiences.  Consequently, brands that embrace new media and digital marketing can experience a greater volume of success.

But how does a brand succeed in the digital age? You start by taking a look at the changing activities and desires of your consumers. Cooperstein built off Tom Daly’s earlier CMO Summit presentation on building mobile connectedness for Coca-Cola, stating that Forrester has witnessed a significant mobile mind shift. This shift has made it so consumers expect that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at the moment of need. So-called perpetually connected consumers – those who have at least three online devices, who go online at least three times per day, from at least three different places – thrive off of convenience and building shared experiences.

Because of the desire for perpetual connectedness, brands need to shift their perceptions of traditional marketing and focus more strongly on improving the consumer experience. Consumers drive the strategic direction of the brand and want to feel pride in the brands with which they interact. The greater amount of pride felt by a brand, the greater the chance the consumer will share those experiences.

How do brands manage this shift and become a more connected, 21st century brand?  Cooperstein shared three steps:

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Coca-Cola’s Vision: Use Your Mobile Phone to Buy a Coke

Read the original post published on iCrossing’s Great Finds blog on May 3, 2013.

Tom Daly of Coca-Cola would like to see you use a mobile phone in one hand to put a Coke in the other. At the iCrossing CMO SummitMay 3, Daly, the group director of mobile and search at Coca-Cola, shared how Coca-Cola is using mobile marketing to put the brand within arm’s reach of consumers.

“We have some big, hairy, audacious goals,” stated Daly, referring to Coca-Cola’s ambition to double the company’s sales by 2020. And mobile marketing is the key to achieving that goal. There are many more mobile users in the world than people who buy Coke every day. Daly wants to inspire consumers to use their mobile phones to increase Coke sales around the globe.

“Mobile is the closest you can get to your consumer these days aside from bringing the product directly to their lips,” Daly asserted.

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