In the latest of our continuing series of interviews exploring the intersection between content, culture, and marketing, Erik Oster, Editor of FutureVision and Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at R/GA, and Victoria Stapley-Brown, Manager, FutureVision, gives us insight into R/GA's strategy to content creation and how they deliver on their mission of “designing for a more human future.”
Content is the bridge between you and your audience. How do you anticipate and then integrate the right topics for your audience while maintaining a consistent brand voice?
R/GA’s mission to “design for a more human future,” acts as a guidepost for what types of content are a fit for FutureVision, and helps keep our voice consistent across articles, live events, perspective pieces, and reports. At the same time, it’s a broad enough scope to be able to incorporate a wide variety of topics of interest to our audience. We’re still establishing that audience and expanding the types of topics we cover as we learn what resonates, and as we continue to evolve “designing for a more human future” will also act as a guardrail preventing us from venturing away from our central purpose.
What role does branding play in content marketing?
Branding can play an important role in content marketing. When topics or tone don’t align with branding, it can turn audiences off, or prevent the right people from finding your content in the first place. The right fit, on the other hand, helps audiences know what to expect, and steers the right people to content they’re likely to appreciate.
Not everything can be advertised the same way, which can require a different approach across clients. How does content affect the way something is marketed and how do you pivot to treat this?
In our case, we’re focused on promoting R/GA through our content, so we don’t need to pivot based on serving different clients exactly. We do have to ensure that when we feature R/GA clients, we utilize the right client insights for the right topics. Typically, we don’t start from a place of deciding to feature a specific client, but with a topic, and then determine who might be a fit. This helps us craft stories that don’t feel shallow, or like they’re being written just to highlight a particular exec or fulfill a client request for media exposure.
Without giving away your secrets, what are some things that are integral to your internal checklist when creating content?
We start from a place of determining whether it fits our guiding mission and principles. From there, we look to feature stories that deal with some of the important questions around specific topics of relevance to our industry, help inform our people, or our current or prospective clients, or showcase R/GA thought leadership through the expertise of our people. We try to write stories we’d actually be interested in reading which don’t feel like their primary purpose is to promote a company or its partners.
How do you strategize for the way audiences will want to interact with content in virtual realities, Web 3.0, and the metaverse? To what extent do you involve influencers and consumers in creating the brand narrative?
At this point, our content is primarily text-based, or live events. We’ve featured a number of stories around the Web3 and the metaverse but expanding how we deliver that content in new spaces is not yet something we’ve embarked on. We’ve conducted a number of interviews related to these topics, including with an influencer in the space (for a future piece) and consumers play an important role in informing FutureVision reports. Our recently published Brand Relationship Design report relied heavily on extensive consumer surveys.