By: Sarah Tourville, CEO
‘Content is King’ is a term marketers have used for years because content is what has helped drive customer engagement. However, content that is sterile and lacks depth, meaning and truth is just that – content. Now add the word authentic in front of content and correlate that to B2B brand storytelling and you can begin to imagine the possibilities for businesses who can get this right. Therefore, it’s time to overthrow average same-as-everyone-else content with the coronation of authentic content.
There are many different methods for brands to display authentic content. Doing away with the staged, tight-lipped executive, glossy headshot and high production corporate video is a fundamental first step and sets the tone for everything else to follow. After all, how does a buttoned-up corporate image help build a customer connection when the personalities behind the brand are being compressed.
I witnessed a level of authentic content at a recent Metro Atlanta Chamber event where Alex Taylor, President & CEO of Cox Enterprises sat in front of a packed room of business executives with an open collar shirt and a welcoming smile. His first few words were “Ask me anything as there’s nothing I won’t try to answer.” And he did just that. The content he shared was open, honest, contained emotion and was delivered with expression so that people in the room warmed to this highly successful, nice human being. So much so, that I have spent countless hours since the event reading up about Cox Enterprises and Alex Taylor because he established a connection with me. His authentic content approach worked and it’s a stark contrast to the old days of Corporate America where any event: roundtable, townhall format would have required countless rounds of scripted Q&A and been more fact-focused than open-ended and qualitative.
I have no doubt that there are many businesses, particularly publicly traded companies, that would not adhere to this less formal conversation style, but the companies that are building their position for future long-term growth, realize that the stodgy, no comment, unauthentic mannerism doesn’t fly anymore. After all, isn’t that why we all love or hate Elon Musk because he shares emotion during an interview and openly provides his opinions on Twitter. We are able to forge an opinion of him because he is authentic and many will argue that it works for him and his companies.
Brands that want to seal a dominant position for years to come and win the hearts and minds of Millennials and Gen Z’ers know that a more authentic, open and honest demeanor is what will help build a human connection and ultimately drive shareholder value.
So how can you create more authentic corporate content?
- Dig deep and discover the DNA of your brand. What values is the brand built on? What’s it’s why? What does it care about? This inner thinking will allow you to uncover the sentiment, emotion, tone and then carry it through to your content through words and visuals.
- Develop content that looks and sounds like your brand. Take your theme and thread it into everything that you create. It will help the brand stand apart from the competition and be consistently identifiable.
- Get your executives out there speaking and forging their own connections. Encourage them to use human language by dropping the corporate jargon and counsel them to express challenges and opportunities and take people on their journey of entrepreneurship.
- Use more video as it allows viewers to look into the eyes of your executive team and sense their passion and excitement.
When you tie authenticity with content, brands can break through the digital clutter to create human connections. “Hail to the authentic content.”