In the latest of our interviews exploring the intersection of content, marketing, and culture, Doug Dimon, SVP and Group Creative Director at DEFINITION 6, talks about the value in a channel-agnostic approach to content, having a deep understanding of why you are creating content and learning how to create connections between the brand and audience.
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?
When it comes to deciding on content, the two levers are topic and tone. Relevance can be established by how you present something as much as the topic itself. Determine what you want to talk about and why (information, connection, trending, etc.), then express it through your brand’s voice. The less transactional or directly relevant the topic, the more important that it is your brand’s take on that topic. Content that is not relevant to your brand can be used successfully if the topic resonates with your audience independent of your brand, but it must be presented in a way that lets them connect more closely with you. If you are going to release some holiday content, be sure it feels authentic and unique to your brand. Want to jump on the latest TikTok trend? That’s a good strategy IF you can do it in a way that connects your brand to your audience.
What role does branding play in content marketing?
Branding, particularly voice and visual tone, are paramount in content marketing. A brand can put out the most interesting and relevant content, but if the user doesn’t associate it with the brand, it does nothing to impact your brand’s goals.
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?
I think it’s more complex than simply changing approaches for different brands (that is table stakes in this business). Where the content will live is also a consideration. At D6, we regularly create derivative content to roll out through different distribution channels. That doesn’t mean entirely new creative, but it does mean adjusting format, length, and sometimes, messaging to ensure that content resonates with the audience for the channel on which it is consumed.
Without giving away your secrets, what are some things that are integral to your internal checklist when creating content?
The number one consideration, and hopefully this is a secret to no one (although sometimes I wonder), is to be sure the content you are putting out is designed to impact the brand’s objectives. Getting eyeballs on content for the sake of eyeballs is better than not, but if it doesn’t help move the needle for the brand, then what has it really achieved? At D6, we are always looking to push creative, but it has to have a measurable impact on the business. To do this, you have to have a clear idea of WHY you are creating content. We outline business objectives and then establish KPIs so we can measure success. Making cool content is fun but, if that’s all it is, then it’s not marketing (or at least not successful marketing).
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?
Those of us who are of a certain age remember when “content” was only consumed on television and in print. It was a big shift to start thinking about people consuming content online, through streaming, via podcasts, in games, blogs, social feeds, airdrops, and the dozens of other ways people have been getting content for more than a decade.
At D6, we are pretty channel-agnostic when it comes to content; you have to be a good partner for your client. We’ve done 3D animations, turned those into an engaging web app, then repurposed those models for rad AR experiences. The metaverse is getting a lot of press (and rightfully so) but we are all now trained to pivot for new content modalities. The good news is that digital agencies like D6 have already trained ourselves to craft content specifically to perform on a certain channel or medium. We may not have all the rules yet (you never do, really), but we are ready for the metaverse.
Trust the process:
- Learn the rules of the technology
- Listen and observe what people are reacting to.
- Push past the rules and put a twist on what people want to create – the next better iteration of content that will cut through the noise and get your brand seen.
- Do it all again next week.