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How to align your content strategy and your brand strategy

Many organisations do not align their brand and content strategies. They are not aware the strategies are inter-related, as they help create marketing awareness.Documentation is required to help monitor and evaluate a content strategy. The Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) global body has recorded only 37 percent of content strategies.

Global phenomenon: The UK ranks among the highest content marketing generating countries. Globally, content marketing grew by 1 percent in 2017; in 2018, B2B marketers had a 40 percent budget spend and 72 percent of B2B marketers attributed their success to content strategy.

What Is Content Strategy?

This is the management of any marketing media. A content strategy is a tool used to execute a brand’s strategy. There is a focus on the organisation’s goals while combining content and brand strategies. It drives relationships between brands and target markets and gives value by considering how, where and when users leverage the execution process.

Content strategy needs to align with the brand for optimum effectiveness. There are three areas that should be considered when developing a content strategy:

Brand familiarity:Creating& a& content& strategy& requires& a& clear& understanding& of& a& company’s& brand.& The& content& strategy& seeks& supporting& material& on& the& brand& promise& and& what& the& brand& means.& Brand& familiarity& requires& the& following:

  • i. A& positioning& statement
  • ii. Defining& the& target& market& adequately
  • iii. Articulating& clearly& how& the& market& should& perceive& the& brand

Examine the content experience: Users have different experiences while consuming content. Feelings and perceptions make up the user experience. Sites clogged with pop-up windows and banner ads create unpleasant site experiences.

Content is weighed with the following indicators:

  • i. How much smarter users feel after accessing content
  • ii. Content should give people some talk-ability moments and improve the social experience.
  • iii. Content should look out for the best interest of users
  • iv. Content should be convenient and accessible.

Fill a need: The target market has a need to be filled. Content strategy should fill this need.

What Is a Brand Strategy?

A brand strategy is a plan showing how a brand would be grown. It covers what the business entails, how it wants to communicate to the audience and why it exists. A brand strategy is a ploy to connect a brand to an audience. The brand strategy seeks an emotional connection with consumers and investigates how the brand is perceived. The brand strategy, therefore, employs digital media and videos to deliver brand messaging to a target audience.

Branded video online content is employed because it gets the users’ attention. It is essential to have relevant branded content, creative video production and motion graphics that engage the target audience.

A brand strategy is in three phases:

  • i. Discovery: An evaluation of the current identity, industry and target markets needs to be done.
  • ii. Identity: After the discovery phase comes the need to establish an identity which indicates:
  • iii. What the company does
  • iv. Who the company is
  • v. How to present the company to the outside world.
  • vi. Execution: Thisis the stage where effective marketing messaging and communication are employed.

How to align a content strategy to the brand strategy

Content must align with the brand. A misaligned content strategy destroys the brand by causing a gradual erosion effect on the brand.

Here are six ways to align a content strategy to the brand strategy:

Employ brand stories: Content should have a messaging architecture with a brand communication blueprint. Brand stories create an opportunity to weave messaging to target users. They help pass content through different channels to users.

Messaging architecture is in the following order:

  • i. Positioning
  • ii. Value Proposition
  • iii. Tagline
  • iv. Brand Stories

Tailor content to a core identity: People believe in brands because of content which delivers a brand’s values. Content should embody a brand’s core identity, compass guides, decisions, and content. The brand compass consists of the following:

  • i. Core identity: What the brand entails
  • ii. The brand belief system (mission, values, and vision)
  • iii. Who the brand is

Test ideas: Ideas should be vetted with the use of standard personas. Content can be targeted toward additional personas.

Stick with a brand style and guide:

Brands are well understood when the tone and visual language are maintained. Brand CI (Corporate Identity) online and in e-books should be maintained.

CI is synonymous with a brand’s personality. A brand style guide converts the brand’s essence into a design. People identify with the brand from its style guide. A brand style guide codifies a brand to an audience by maintaining a sound, look and feel. It is employed by copywriters and the creative team to create copy.

The following five components are established before a style guide can be created:

  • 1. Mission statement
  • 2. Vision statement
  • 3. Target audience
  • 4. Brand personality
  • 5. Core values

The following are steps for a brand style guide:

  • 1. Get inspiration that sticks for a buy-in.
  • 2. Come up with the six essential elements for a brand style guide. These are:
  •  i. Brand story
  •  ii. Logo
  •  iii. Colour palette
  •  iv. Typography
  •  v. Imagery
  •  vi. Voice
  • 3. List other brand elements that need to be included like the online digital layout and social media marketing.
  • 4. Build the guide with a structure. To achieve this, combine the six essential style guide elements with brand wants.
  • 5. Work with the style guide as it evolves.

Improve continuously on the content strategy: Test and adjust the content to make it come alive. Save funds and time by employing content campaigns.

Nominate a brand steward: A designated person should be chosen to ensure brand guidelines are accessible and remain current. The brand steward can have regular sessions, reviewing quality assurance.

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