In the past I’ve described the Three Simple Circles approach to content strategy that includes asking and answering the following questions:
- What is/are the competitive advantage(s) of my organization?
- What are the higher-order needs of my clients and market?
- What are the themes/topics that address those higher-order needs that also reinforce the competitive advantage?
The first question about competitive advantage could easily be re-phrased to ask, “what’s my brand?”, and knowing the answer to this question will not just help you develop an effective content strategy but it could also lead to a more effectively run company.
The reason is that once you’ve identified those key characteristics that define your brand/competitive advantage, you have also implicitly defined the guard rails within which your organization should be managed. In other words, you’ve created a plan that you can use to align your entire company, based on those key characteristics. Your brand has become a management tool, not just a marketing tool, which is how most view it.
For example, if your brand stands for premiere customer service, then you know that every aspect of your organization should be focused on creating that experience – you need that alignment throughout the company to be successful. That knowledge has tremendous impact on how every aspect of your organization is led and managed:
- For HR, it means you need to hire people with core competencies and skills that will result in excellent client service; it also means your rewards and incentives need to be aligned to motivate behaviour leading to that experience
- For Marketing, Sales, and Client Service it means that every message sent and platform used needs to focus on and reinforce a value proposition and positioning of excellent client service. One specific application could relate to Twitter – if you’re on it, you better have someone closely monitoring it because clients are using it to voice issues that need to be resolved quickly and efficiently in order to be considered a premiere client service brand
- For IT, it may mean using a top notch CRM system so you can track and anticipate the needs of your best clients
- For Product Development, it means that any new products developed need to further the experience of premiere client service
The list could go on but I think you get the idea.
By using your brand as a management tool, you’ll be better able to ensure alignment throughout your organization around a shared idea or goal, resulting in a more effective and profitable company.
And you thought brand was just for marketingl…