Words from the wise
Relevance, logic and content: It’s time to throw out the rulebook
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”
Mr Spock (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1984)
Yes, that is a Star Trek reference. This is going to be one of those blog posts.
Logic dictates that the majority of readers will not have seen this movie, or be aware of this quote, but it shines a light on a point that is relevant to marketing and content today.
In the movie, Spock ultimately sacrifices himself to save the crew of his ship, the Enterprise, putting their needs above his. In the next film, after the crew find a way to save him, Captain Kirk explained to Spock that they did so because, in contrast to his initial remark, “the needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many.”
Spock concludes that although this approach was most illogical, the reaction was unapologetically human. The human capacity to rationalise using logic is tempered by our emotions, our values and learned experiences, and our instinctive reactions to them. It’s what makes us unique, and in turn, better marketeers.
This should be at the core of everything we do as content creators.
Reporting, analytics and trend reports will feed us data and rationale for creating the perfect piece of content, and they absolutely have their place and importance. In order to truly cut through, we also need to get to the heart of the story by understanding the human truth and relevance of our message.
It’s logic, but not as we know it.
With this in mind, let us boldly go (last pun, promise) and delve into five ways marketeers can get personal with their content:
Stay true to your story
Branded content when done right is a form of storytelling. Every brand has one, from the casks used to age whiskey to recipes handed down through generations of family. Once people are bought into a product, they’re invested in the story, so ensure that content adds value to their perception and experience.
Harness the power of people
This is a big one. A great creative comes up with and facilitates ideas in equal measure. These ideas can come from anywhere, from account teams to a person in the street. Open your briefs up to as many people as you can as you never know where or when inspiration will strike. Don’t feel like the idea has to originate from you, if you can make it happen, you’ve achieved your goal. One team one dream 🤘
Ensure culture is at the core of creative
The role culture plays in content is huge. We simply can’t be across all aspects of culture, so don’t try to. Acknowledge when the time is right to bring in people who can speak to and for a brand and give them the freedom to guide the creative.
Culture exists on the consumers’ side as well, reflected in their engagement and/or purchasing decisions. Make the creative process as authentic and true to the brand and the final output will reflect this.
Be open to change
Social is a truly agile test and learn platform. There is (a relative) freedom to make mistakes with your content as you strive to find that sweet spot. Try out new executions, compare long form vs short form or test the waters with new subject matter. Whatever it takes to engage your audience, do it without fear and an openness to learn from it.
Follow brand guidelines without compromising your creativity
Brand guidelines are a set of rules that dictate how all elements of a brand should be applied. What guidelines don’t do is account for context.
By all means follow guidelines, but emphasise your focus on ‘guide’. A creative or client brief can fall outside of guidelines or the guidelines may not account for a new platform or creative output. Ensure your interpretation reflects this too (within reason) and don’t let it compromise your vision. Continue to push the boundaries of your limits and great work will follow
Content, platforms and the expectations of consumers are ever-changing as we continue to navigate the next generation of marketing. In spite of this, the pursuit of deeper, more engaging stories for the brands we work with is everlasting.
As for the needs of the few? With greater personalisation and accurate targeting through paid, the content we are served is growing ever more relevant, and in fact tailored to the individual. Take that, Spock.
Written by Dan Noctor @ Communicator London