Key Takeaways from the #ThinkContent Summit

Submitted by on the 28th of June 2016

I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with the fundamentals of copywriting – what the best practise is, how we can connect better with our audience – and it’s an exceptionally difficult problem in this young fast-changing digital space.

NewsCred’s annual #ThinkContent Summit helped me discover some of the answers to my burning questions. The Summit garnered the most brilliant minds in the industry from some of the most innovative brands in the world. This year’s theme was Convergence, which they dubbed the new marketing imperative. Here’s what I learned from some of the major heavyweights in marketing:

Every brand should find the ‘why’ that makes them exist and focus on it

Rob Candelino, Unilever’s VP for marketing shared Dove’s campaign to change the conventional standards of beauty by choosing to listen to their customers. The beauty soap brand has managed to achieve the mammoth task of reaching new audiences by simply telling their audience’s stories, ultimately helping them to redefine their relationship with beauty. Unilever’s core focus is to make a difference in society – which Dove translated beautifully.

Recreation is key, your brand has to be willing to evolve

Our industry is constantly evolving, with old trends swiftly being replaced by new ones. That leaves no room for rigidness where your brand’s content strategy is concerned. Sure, to try and tamper with a formula that’s been tried and tested is risky, but so is your tenacity to remain predictable. Most audiences on social media are fickle, and with there being a vastness in exciting and engaging content at their disposal, they’re likely to get bored quickly and move on to the next thrill – especially if they’ve come to expect the usual blabbing from you.

Uber’s Marketing Manager, Mikaela Flynn summed it up perfectly when she spoke about their transition from their initial customer procurement focus, to retaining them – which is even more challenging. The company was able to shift the narrative from a heavy product focus to the “who and why of what makes their company uniquely successful”.

Brands also need to consider the uniqueness of each platform and create content accordingly (i.e. reach for Facebook, opportunity for Twitter, personality for Instagram and Snapchat).

If you have to self-promote, then you’re doing it wrong

Remember that amazing blog post about how it’s really ok for your brand to be your audience’s booty call?

Your audience doesn’t want to hear how great you are – they could care less. They’re more interested in the value you can give them. This is why it’s so essential to connect with them on their level. The same way you’d shut the door in a salesman’s face or unapologetically hang up the phone in a call centre agent’s ear for trying to sell you something you didn’t solicit, is the same way your audience will react to your brand trying to sell them something online – that it’s done on social media doesn’t make it any less intrusive.

The overarching message we can all take away from #ThinkContent 2016, as Rob Candelino eloquently put it, is that content marketing is about what we can contribute to others. Know your place (or your brands’ place) in the world and you’ll never be disingenuous.

You can view more of what went down at the summit here.


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