When Social Business Meets Brand Storytelling
Michael Brito 270007G8TC firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  socbiz michael_brito storytelling social_business
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Creating game-changing content that tells a is no simple task. Nor is easy to then integrate that story across paid, earned, shared and owned media. The pundits who say otherwise neglect to talk about the operational challenges and organizational change needed to get it done right.
Brand storytelling is what drives content; and it’s more than just the copy on your web site, an ad, a tweet or a status update. It must be supported by an infrastructure that has the right teams, structures, editorial workflows and technology solutions deployed to drive organizational change.
In order for brand storytelling to come to life, brands need to think like a media company. Unfortunately, you can’t just turn the “media company” switch on an expect operations to change overnight. You must deploy a social business strategy to make this change successful and scalable – one that encompasses people, process and technology.
At WCG, we call this framework Content as a Service (CaaS). This model is meant to address both the external challenges of reaching your target audience and the barriers you face internally. The goal of CaaS is to ensure that brand storytelling is considered a strategic imperative internally, and to make it core to business and marketing operations.
The model is broken down into four separate (yet related) work streams and supported by an operational framework that facilitates integration at key touch points.
Both a quantitative and qualitative analysis are needed to craft a story that can break through the clutter and reach new audiences. Quantitative data include a deep analysis of your customers’ interest and affinities, social graphics, an in-depth market conversation analysis, search behavior and customer segmentation data. Qualitative data involves studying the various perceptions and general conversations about your brand from various stakeholders (media, analysts, employees, influencers, the community, etc.) purely from a contextual perspective. The output of this exercise is to establish an editorial architecture from which all future content is created. While there are several ways to do this, the best way to think about storytelling is through three different lenses, whereby the brand:
From there, you can begin to map out content for your brand's editorial calendar and align content to specific social and digital channels with some strategic thinking.
Brands struggle with social media because they are using it to amplify and distribute all content and . This approach dilutes the message and contributes to the content surplus that many people ignore.
A social channel strategy consists of two very important steps. The first requires an in-depth analysis of existing communities/social channels, a competitive content analysis and examining internal resources that manage the content process. This determines what’s working and not working from a content perspective and the analysis will deliver insight as to what needs to change and which channels need consolidating (multiple Twitter accounts, etc.), or it may even uncover the option of creating new channels.
The second step involves strategically aligning content to specific social/digital channels based on the audience segmentation, platform behavior and documented brand goals.
Social Channel Strategy also involves building converged media models that will integrate brand storytelling across PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned media) and also deploying a real-time content engine using analytics, creative and publishing capabilities.
Data from the tell us that that when it comes to trust and credibility, “people they know,” “consumer opinions online” and “colleagues and friends” rank the highest when people are seeking information about a brand and its products.
Brand storytelling is more than just branded content, native advertising or creative campaigns on Facebook. It also involves . And it's not just employees tweeting or sharing company news in social media. It’s about finding good stories about the brand, its products or employees and using long-form content to tell everyone about it.
This step involves mobilizing and operationalizing a brand’s stakeholders to “participate” and help tell the brand story through their individual lens.
Rather than measuring content (status update, press release, blog post, tweet) at the “social network” level, there is more value measuring content at the content level. We score each piece of content that gets published on a 1 – 100 scale. High-performing content ranks higher on the scale.
The algorithm uses two variables to determine the score: 1) where that content was published and 2) the engagement level in each platform it was published.
We then use that scoring system to optimize future content, where it’s shared and whether or not to push paid dollars behind it in order to improve reach/engagement.
This is an operational step that spans each of the four work streams above. It’s a consultative approach that helps our clients structure their teams, assign roles and responsibilities with internal stakeholders and others agency partners, invest in the right technology and build a content supply chain (an editorial process that facilitates the movement of content from ideation to distribution) that can scale. Essentially, it's helping brands build a media company-style newsroom organization.