Recently I’ve had several conversations with clients and colleagues regarding the intent and approach for brands’ roles amongst our social media lives. Does the world need more content? How often should we post or share content? What form and format is most desired and impactful? As I reflected on the raison d’etre for brand content, the universally famous soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Hamlet came to mind…
Act 3, Scene 1: A room in the corporate castle.
Exit King, Queen and conspirators.
To post or not to post, that is the question –
Whether tis nobler for the brand to suffer
The Content and Conversations of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of content creators?
And by opposing them become them? To quiet, to rest –
Brands need to post – or “be” – naturally, fluidly, and often. In an always-on world, they must have the heart of an angel and the skin of rhino. To compete with the sheer volume of content, they need constant creativity.
Devoutly to be wished. To quiet, to rest,
To rest, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of quiet, what dreams come,
When we have shuffled off this social coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of social life:
It is tempting to withdraw for fear of social calamity. And it is easy to dismiss the value of brands’ ongoing attachment to culture and news of the day. It would be simpler still to reduce brands’ involvement to advertisements aimed at us due to the targeting capabilities of the social platforms we use. These are both viable and part of the social approach, but alone are insufficient.
For who would bear the Tweeters and Tumblrs of time,
The Antagonist’s wrong, the proud blogger’s Contempt,
The pangs of rejected Love, the Legal department’s delay,
The presumption of Platforms and Algorithms,
That advantage of the honest the hacker takes,
Brand leaders cannot be timid or lost in thought for fear of something after social. There is no one way to create and massively engage and influence across social channels, but there are two constant creativity checklists every piece of brand content should consider.
The first checklist is for creative excellence – brand content needs to check the box on at least three of the four following criteria:
- Interesting: Did you put the interests of your audience above your own?
- Different: Did you innovate and differentiate your product experience and communication from your competitors?
- Unexpected: Did you find a way to disrupt category or cultural norms?
- Memorable: Did you make it sticky?
Thus Real Time does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of Boldness
Is weakened o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And opportunities of great pitch and equity,
With this regard their Progress goes astray,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Mass Media. Nymph, in all thy Formats
Be thou all my sins remembered.
The second checklist is for sharable excellence that is inherent to our success in the post-mass media age. Brand content needs to address at least one of these human motivations if it is to be passed along and amplified.
- Smart: Does sharing this make me appear intelligent and feel “in the know”?
- Funny: Does sharing this make me and others laugh, smile, and feel “happy”?
- Caring: Does sharing this make me appear thoughtful, kind, and feel “helpful”?
- Understood: Does sharing this make me appear or feel “interesting”?
- Connected: Does sharing this make me appear and feel a part of “something bigger”?
There is a tremendous amount of content at our fingertips. Brands have every right to be a part of our social lives and they even have the opportunity to be a meaningful and interesting part…if they are willing to leverage the constant creativity checklists daily. Of course, this presumes they have already chosen “to be” – despite the slings, arrows, calamity, and contempt that await a life of social coil.
Image via Shutterstock.
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