Mark Doyle

Chief Marketing & Brand Officer

Brands continue to heap love and adoration on social channels – hiring the new title-du-jour (can you say Social Ambassador?), producing the next viral wonder (unicorns and rainbows, anyone?), shifting media spend, optimizing content, and planning for social channels. And although monetization through social channels may still feel like a faint glow on the horizon, brands are increasingly able to measure lift, engagement, and the sought-after crown of share-ability. But an overlooked gold mine of performance in social channels is understanding the differences between brand-focused content versus shareable content.

Brand content are the photos, memes, headlines, articles, and videos that are built to reinforce and sustain the brand. Visual systems are on-point, messages are manicured, and content – even when found in far off places – says ‘Yes, it’s me! The brand you know and love.’ But shareable content moves a step further – into the realm of a brand saying “Yes, this is about me, the brand you know and love, but it’s also about you, because I want you to share this.” Savvy brands know that a consumer, in sharing, doesn’t just want to share the brand voice, she wants to share her voice. It’s authentic, real, and builds intimacy. Let’s look at three must-haves for creating BRAND+ME content: believable, relatable, own-able.

Content that is believable must satisfy two criteria: authenticity to the brand, and authenticity to the consumer. Authenticity to the brand means that the content’s voice and aesthetic are not such a departure that any connection to the brand is erased. Authenticity to the consumer means that the content’s voice and aesthetic are clearly meant for the consumer.

Content that is relatable feels like a natural extension of the consumers’ own tastes and alignments. Nike, over the past 20 years, has pivoted from celebrating the professional athlete to celebrating each body’s potential to work hard and perform – even those of us who are just starting out. Nike originally positioned itself around aspiration, but in the world of social media, aspiration only matters if it’s achievable. Most consumers interested in fitness do not truly think they can achieve the performance level of a professional athlete. So Nike knew it needed to take those same performance values and reflect them in content that the consumer could relate to.

Content that is own-able means that a brand is not mimicking or reflecting another brand’s manifesto. Consumers who pay attention to branded content in social channels know what is fresh and what is staid. They know when a brand is creating its own story versus when it’s following trends. Brands would do well to spend less time assessing popular brands and their social tactics, and more time understanding their consumers and building brand experiences in social channels that they can own. If you own content for social channels – there’s a quick litmus test you can use to ensure your content is accomplishing what you want it to:

Three Ideas for You:

  1. Make It Believable
    Ask yourself whether your content is in the realm of believability when it comes to your brand. Social channels are definitely a place to stretch – but your content still should be recognized as coming from your brand, and not feel disconnected.
  2. Make It Relatable
    Ask yourself whether it’s relatable for your audience. And no need to guess here: find some people in your audience and just ask them.
  3. Make It Unique
    Ask yourself whether your content is own-able. Remember, social content that simply mirrors your competitors’ social content won’t shout in the way it needs to in order to perform like you want.

Mark Doyle

Chief Marketing & Brand Officer

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