Just a few simple words. But they’re some of the the most important for anyone trusted with the brand value of a company.
The rise and rise of content marketing can lead us astray. The proliferation of new platforms to put it on, of new formats to capture it in, of new technology to distribute it with, can lead to naive optimism. Deep down, we hope that these new developments reveal a new battleground, one in which the job of getting the audience to do what we want will become easier. We hope that they will buy our products, click on our links, talk about us because (after all...!) there are new tools to play with and and so the rules of the game might just have changed.
But the reality is there is really only one basic rule and it’s never changed, not once. And it reads like this: companies must make more deposits into the emotional bank account of their audiences than they do withdrawals.
What is a withdrawal?
Withdrawals happen when you give an audience something they haven’t asked for in order to get them to do something they don’t want to do. It’s when you interrupt people or talk about things you want to talk about: your product, your category, your competitors.
What is a deposit?
A deposit, on the other hand, is something that offers value to an audience. Audiences are not arbitrary. Each audience has a set of internal passion points, behaviours and values which bind it together and make it a community: whether it’s an audience of people interested in startup investing, or green smoothies, or Parisian fashion. These stable behaviours and values are coupled with emerging narratives that matter to the audience: cultural events that they want to know more about and want to bond around. Deposits adds depth to the way the community understands and interacts with those passion points and narratives.
When Dove made 'Real Beauty Sketches' they added to a bubbling feeling from certain audiences that no brand had captured the reality of being a woman in the 21st century. When Beats gave us 'The Game Before The Game' they tapped into the curiosity we have around how world-class athletes prepare and how that leads to the inches in performance that win a game. Companies can and do make deposits with content, and the positive effects of getting it right are huge.
So how do we know the difference between a deposit and a withdrawal? And what do we do about it?
Knowing what is a withdrawal means knowing what your audience cares about. Most companies don’t know that. The data they can get access to is focused on where to find the audience, how to buy their eyeballs, how to reach them with high frequency and make withdrawals.
What companies need is reliable evidence showing what will resonate with the audience. Motivate them. Move them.
Codec knows the difference
The key is embracing audience-centric thinking - of understanding what ‘Valuable’ and ‘Important’ looks like in the eyes of any target audience you care about.
Codec has mapped popular culture online in order to put audiences at the centre of strategic and creative decision making. We have thousands of proprietary audience segments which customers can select from within a few seconds And we use artificial intelligence and sophisticated machine learning to understand their interactions with millions of bits of third party video, image and text content, across the Internet and over time. Codec turns this understanding away from raw data and into responsive and actionable recommendations about the passion points, influencers, even types of image that will perform well with the specific audience.
The result is that companies can now serve as generous contributors to those communities by making content that is in line with what matters most to them in a sensitive and valuable way.
After all, a brand is a set of emotional attachments to a product or a company - if companies want people to feel a certain way about them and their products, they need to know how that audience feels about the wider world.
What can we achieve with deposits?
The best brands start by asking about the status of their brand bank account. They think about whether their actions are deposits or withdrawals. And they do this because the goals of content marketing should not be simply about driving clicks or transactions. Good content marketing aims to drive results at the top and end of the funnel - to create awareness about your brand. The sort of awareness that can lead to positive recall, to purchases, to relevance. And good content marketing is also about driving loyalty: the sort of loyalty that keeps customers coming back, and drives referral across organic, real-world networks.
Codec puts audiences at the centre of strategic and creative decision making so that companies can win in the only way that truly lasts: when they are winning because their audience is winning.