Another commonly-used buzzword: Content! How can brands best provide it to their customers? Let’s take a look…
First, it’s important to deliver the right type of content. Effective content connects your brand with your customer when you provide valuable information, ideas or a perspective that is unique. Effective content also supports your brand’s proposition because it supports what your brand stands for. And, it should also create a dialogue between your brand and your customers.
Too often with loyalty programs or relationship marketing efforts, brands struggle with defining what the effective content should be. By identifying key messages that have meaning and reinforces the brand, you will provide value for your customers. With this, your customers will have a reason to pay attention to what you are communicating and to give them a reason to continue to engage the next time. If your content contains real customer value, it will help create a encourage purchase, lead the customer away from your competitor and create brand preference.
Common pitfalls that companies tend to make are delivering content that is repetitive in nature or, worse yet, too long in length. Be sure to stay relevant and timely, serving up useful, newsworthy information that customers can use. From a relationship marketing perspective, focus on answering the question “what is the take-away that our brand wants the customer to take with them?” – not what your company wants to convey. If content isn’t compelling or doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, it likely won’t get read or be consciously consumed! Here’s an example…
One of our longstanding clients relaunched its B-to-B loyalty program. The program’s primary communications tool was a simple newsletter – in terms of content and design – and looked tired and unappealing. Readership was at an all-time low and our client asked for recommendations on realigning this important communication so that it would drive product sales, engage loyalty program members and deliver one of the program’s benefits.
As we assessed the existing newsletter, it was obvious that the newsletter content was not relevant to the customer, was too lengthy and was poorly designed because it did not “pull the reader in”. Plus, it did not fit within the loyalty program’s graphics standards.
Our recommendations included changing the newsletter’s editorial focus to helping and educating the target audience – making it easier for them to connect with the brand. We set out to create refined editorial content to help the loyalty members’ everyday lives that encouraged greater audience involvement with calls to action for reader feedback, rewards for selected editorial contributions and printable client handouts. New and intentionally relevant information was added subtly and included feature articles, regular columns and information bits. From a design perspective, the newsletter evolved into a 20-page magazine. The newly created communication piece created more visual interest just by adding dynamic photography and illustrations.
Once the re-designed newsletter was published, it was well received. Our client shared that she had received numerous accolades from their sales force because the newsletter gave them a tangible and unique tool to take to their clients and prospects, easing the sales process. Through the findings of a recent member survey, it was clear that relevance positively impacted readership. When asked “How often do you read the magazine?”, 74% of respondents answered “cover-to-cover” or “almost all of it”.
When planning your brand’s effective content, be sure that it contains brand and customer relevance that will ensure that your customer wants to hear what your brand has to say – and continues to want more.