The Building Blocks of Your “SuperFan Factory”
In my last post, I covered the basic pillars of the Owned Content strategy: Platform, Content, and Publication. Today, we’ll take a deeper look at platform.
On its own, Platform isn’t what wins awards. Nobody’s ever gone to a marketing awards gala and heard, “The lifetime achievement award for adherence to brand identity standards goes to…” However, here’s a secret: nobody ever won anything (awards or hearts and minds) without a good platform, which serves as the backbone for the customer’s experience with your brand.
With owned content- your web, video, blog, and social media strategy- designing your platform first will help everything else fall into place.
Brand Elements & Formats: These are the building blocks of your brand’s look and feel. What exact shade of blue do you use? What fonts will you use? How do you use the tagline- stand-alone or with other words and phrases? How does the logo look? What adjustments, if any, are allowed to be made to the logo?
Then sketch out: how will these fundamental brand elements be represented on the web? In video? On social media? In your blogs?
Thinking about these so-called “boring” fundamental items now can save time when you’re in the content development process. Who wants to send back webpages, videos, and illustrations back to the designer for re-edits because the colors were wrong? Who wants to stop halfway through a great content idea and ask themselves, ‘Now, what typeface should we use in the graphic?’
Technology: Think of this as your owned content “IT Department”. What website back-end, or content management system, should you use? Does it allow you flexibility with embedding video? Should you use a out-of-the-box solution like WordPress, or have an entirely new site built? After that, who manages the site? How often are the updates? What’s the content management strategy?
For every sort of media you add to your owned content strategy, these same platform questions have to be discussed. If adding video, do you need a studio? Should you buy cameras, or rent? Are you specializing in live programming or on-demand YouTube-based projects? Then, much like the web, ask yourself, who manages the equipment? How often are new episodes published?
People: Finally, who’s going to run all of this? Will you be picking up the skills, perhaps picking up a Photoshop course? Will you hire vendors or perhaps staff this out to a few people around your shop? Do they have the right skills to produce and maintain creative digital and social media?
People is where platform can flourish or fail. I’ve seen plenty of operations where talented, resourceful people can overcome poor technology and inconsistent branding, and almost always, that team can run circles around the well-funded, brand-disciplined owned content groups.
In this area, you cannot just put Paul in accounting in charge of social media just because he knows what Instagram is. Nor can you just ask Sally in sales to create video presentations because she takes nice pictures. You have to ask yourself, “Do the people working on my platform know what engages an audience?” “Can they interpret data to develop stronger content?” When it comes to media, there’s a big difference between being a hobbyist and a professional.
Joe Gura is a marketing communications strategist, and has a Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn or follow Joe on Twitter: @joegura