Category: Strategy

Activate the Wellness Journey

Activate the Wellness Journey

Health and wellness is a huge business, worth $167 billion in the U.S., and $3.7 trillion worldwide. But it’s a crowded market with many brands and personalities who have been successful in finding their own highly-tailored––and profitable––niches. From Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, to Kayla Itsines and Shawn T, there are a wide range of trusted companies and personalities already in the space.

So how can your brand stand out?

Start with your target audience! When you know your audience, you can deliver a more relevant and engaging experience that will drive a deeper relationship with your customers. A firm focus on your customers and their journeys—and most importantly, mapping your content and promotion development to each—can have an enormous payoff.

 

 

So what does the consumer wellness journey look like for fitness?

We see three key stages:

1: Consideration

This is the period when the consumer is considering and planning on taking ownership of their health, fitness, weight and life. There are many influences, both negative and positive in this stage.

Negative pressures can include: Health issues, societal pressure, the consumer’s body image. Perhaps they are intimidated or skeptical about which program is going to work for them. They may be afraid of making a long-term commitment or they’re confused about where or how to start.

Positive influences can include the following: Inspiration from friends, media, or wellness personalities; Information and engagement by discovering a person, brand or content that resonates and speaks to their personal needs and goals; peers and family support that encourages and builds confidence to make a healthy change.

2: Decision

Here’s when the consumer takes the big leap—the decision to actually do something about their wellbeing, diet, fitness or life balance.

When consumers discover a program that’s simple they will respond; if they feel that a change they can make is convenient and relevant they are likely to choose it and, most importantly, they need to feel it is proven and that other people, just like them, have had success. This last point is one of the biggest reasons Kayla Itsines has been so successful.

3: Maintenance

Now the consumer needs to commit to his or her decision. They’ve made a huge life change and they need to feel they can keep going. Once again there are some negative pressures that may hamper them. They may feel there’s lack of progress or they may succumb to temptation in the form of food or lack of exercise; they may become bored or they may feel they do not have the time or money to commit.

At the same time there are positive ways in which our consumer can remain motivated, encouraged and committed. Firstly, and most importantly, by smart goal setting (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely); by seeing results from their efforts, by finding the program or change relatively easy and from the support they get from friends, from their family and from the program or personality they have chosen to follow. Here, Weight Watchers’ strong community nicely demonstrates how that support (such as organized weekly meetings) can help members stay on track.

 

 

Now, how should this influence the way you build your business?

We need to match the development of your brand to the consumer’s journey to have meaning, impact, relevancy and committed engagement. Just as there are three stages to in the wellness journey there are three stages to the development of your brand.

1: Discovery and brand building

Once your brand pillars and messaging platform are developed, people need to find you, they need to recognize the difference you offer, and ultimately, engage with you. So we need to develop a paid and organic content program across multiple platforms that allows you to become part of people’s conversations around their health, their wellness and their life goals.

To do this, we should build your communications around the key elements that support consumers’ wellness motivation, as follows:

Inspiration: We need to create and deliver inspiring content. Messaging that triggers an emotional response among consumers.

Information: Useful content that’s packed with utility and that piques a desire to find out more.

Engagement: Content that truly resonates, with messaging people feel is relevant to their lives, that that they feel comfortable with, and that’s authentic. Video is a great tool for engagement, you can add a poll or quiz to help consumers learn more about your product or service while driving a business outcome; a sign-up or purchase, etc.

Support: Motivating, encouraging, accessible and straightforward.

2: Acquisition

Through content, people get to know your firm, like and trust you. We then need to develop and deepen the relationship by providing content they want to pay for and continue to engage with. We need to turn your brand into a business.

The content we deliver at this stage in your business development needs, again, to match the consumer’s journey. It should be:

Simple: Easy to understand, achievable, straightforward

Convenient: Consumers should be able to see that they can fit this program into their lives. This is something they can fit into their daily routine.

Relevant: This is something consumers can relate to. It’s attainable, it’s practical, it feels like something they can do.

Proven: This is something that is backed by evidence of success. There are advocates – happy clients who have had their lives transformed and who love the difference you offer.

3: Renewal and advocacy

We want people to keep going. We want them to become part of a community. We want them to become fans and advocates that share your message and the life-changes made with their own networks. And we want them to continue to pay to be part of that.

So, here’s where we deliver content that is:

Goal oriented: Content that helps them meet straightforward and achievable goals.

Results focused: Content that helps users feel they’ve achieved measurable results, that a tangible difference has been made.

Easy: Content that’s frictionless. You’re not going to send them gimmicky or obtuse pieces that they won’t understand, or have them jump through too many hoops (outside of exercise, that is.)

Supportive: Content that shows you’ve got their back. You’ve been there, you know what they’re going through and you’re there to ensure they stay on track with messaging that is lively, friendly, supportive, useful and inspiring.

 

The Final Take

Building your business along your customers’ wellness journey is an involved and intricate process, but this investment of time and money will allow you to define yourself, engage more deeply with your desired audiences, and ultimately, drive greater returns.

Looking for more specific recommendations for your brand? Send me an email here.

Non-Profit Content: Small Budgets, Big Impact

Non-Profit Content: Small Budgets, Big Impact

If any sector needs to maximize the value of content, it is the non-profit space. While operating on smaller budgets than their corporate counterparts, many non-profit organizations regularly produce content, ranging from blogs to mailers to print magazines.

So non-profits clearly recognize the power of reaching audiences at the right time and place to encourage engagement and ultimately drive donation. Nonetheless, some remain understandably wary of oversaturating their audience. Especially when it comes to asking for donations—a simple increase in the number of calls-to-donate is rarely the best approach. But non-profits can take this best practice too far. Overcorrecting—too many content pieces with too few direct calls to action—is rarely a formula for success either. As usual, the best approach lies somewhere in the middle. Instead of overly focusing on the frequency of these asks, non-profit marketers should strive to have their calls for donations work as hard as possible.

And just how can marketers make this content work harder? One key to success is creating unique asks. I recently received an excellent mailer from Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital soliciting donations for a new type of research. A fresh, crisp piece neatly informed the reader of an innovative therapy. But what stuck with me was the flexibility of their ask for donations: They offered three separate ways to give to MSK (pictured below, left). Importantly, they also underscored the ease of giving by emphasizing that only three steps were involved (pictured below, right). Altogether, it was a far more comprehensive approach than an italicized “Please consider a gift to MSK” at the end of a piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering)

Small steps in this direction can also make a sizeable impact. The article below, from St. Jude Children’s Hospital, pushes a different and unique way to make a gift: through a charitable gift annuity. As part of a seasonal magazine in which many articles drive towards a donation, this request similarly adds an air of flexibility to readers’ donation options.

(Source: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital)

Another way to maximize donations is to finely tailor the ask toward its audience. NYU Langone publishes a seasonal magazine, NYU Langone Health, for a physician audience. It included the strikingly bespoke request below. Practicing doctors are decidedly the audience most likely to understand the true cost of medical school, and thus receive a clear pitch for scholarship donations—likely maximizing donations over a simple gift request.

(Source: NYU Langone)

Furthermore, even nudges as small as a relatable photograph or a relevant paragraph can likely make a difference. The postcard below from Dana-Farber, sent to previous donors, makes use of striking imagery—a doctor comforting a child undergoing cancer treatment.

(Source: Dana-Farber)

Past donors may have fought cancer themselves, or had a friend or family member stricken. While their brush with cancer may have occurred in the past, the card reminds the audience subtly, with a human touch, that the fight continues. Such a provocative message simply could not be conveyed by a diagram of molecules or a generic man in a lab coat.

Non-profits need to make every marketing dollar work as hard as possible – this includes their content budgets. As a best practice, non-profits should not be shy about asking for donations. And they should be strategic and purposeful in how they make the ask — don’t make it seem like an afterthought! Instead, giving audiences unique, relevant content will likely drive higher engagement and, ultimately, motivate more donors to give.

 

Artificial or Emotional Intelligence: What’s Right for Your Brand Story?

Artificial or Emotional Intelligence: What’s Right for Your Brand Story?

We’re entering a new world in content marketing. A world of algorithms, datasets, automation, machine learning, predictive analytics and, of course, that misnomer catch-all – artificial intelligence (AI). Many of us are excited about this new adventure, many are anxious, most of us are just plain bewildered. What does it do? What does it mean? What’s my job going to be like—if I even have one?

According to the 2017 Economist Intelligence Unit report, which surveyed more than 200 global business executives, 75% said they would implement AI in their companies within the next three years. 79% believe AI will make their jobs easier and more efficient. According to Gartner, the artificial intelligence market is set to surpass $100 billion by 2025.

So we all know that we need to start planning and preparing for this, but we’re just not sure for what.

At this stage in our evolution as content marketers (and a species), artificial intelligence does not (yet) mean almost-sentient systems of semiconductor synapses that are going to put us all out of jobs.

“Artificial Intelligence” is, at its essence, a shiny short-hand for super-sophisticated organization—the creation of layers of information and the use of technology to understand the relationships between those layers of information. Understanding those layers lets us intuit future relationships, and allows us to prepare for future engagements our customers might have with our brand.

By looking for patterns and combining this information with smart, modular and semantically rich content, we can deliver more authentic communication, more relevant messaging, a better customer experience and thus more sales and more loyal customers.

Segmentation and targeting.

Artificial intelligence systems represent the next frontier of personalization, with the ability to create thousands of tailored content experiences that will enrich your relationships with your customers – albeit only if that personalization allows for more relevant information to be sent their way.

Offer selection and pricing.

The more we know, the more we’re going to be able to guide our customers (and crucially too, people who behave similarly to them) through their experience with our brand. We’ll be able to offer them additional information and provide alternatives, suggestions and upsells. We may even, if we want to take that risk, charge different people different prices dependent on our perceived sense of their future value.

Customer service and support.

And we’ll be able to offer more personalized support – support that is there at the right time and that addresses the right issues. We’ll be able to provide customer service that delivers loyalty and ongoing dialogue.

Necessity of a Human Connection.

But we’re not all going to be swept away (or aside) by big data and automated content. The Washington Post’s experience with automated story-telling technology can help illuminate why. Their proprietary tool, Heliograf, is used to cover areas such as the weather, local political results and high-school football games in the Washington DC metro area and, in so doing achieves two things. Firstly, it enables the Washington Post to deliver more highly localized news easily and efficiently. More importantly, it allows the rest of the news team to focus on more in-depth reporting where a human touch is needed. The most important stories require depth, intuition, nuance and empathy. Heliograf can’t do that; all it can do is provide (admittedly needed) cover for humans to make their best pieces even better.

So, while it’s estimated that in 2018 20% of all business content will be authored by machines, that human touch is always going to be needed. Because, the art of brand storytelling is going to become more, not less, important.

If your brand is going to be successful in a world where people are ordering and engaging through a smart speaker, a smart phone or a chatbot, your brand needs to be the one consumers ask for by name. They will only do that if they feel a connection with you; a bond. And while we can deliver automated content efficiently, we can’t yet deliver automated content that is emotionally rich, that resonates and that has the clearly articulated values which create that bond. That sort of content still needs the craft of a storyteller – a human being.

10 Secrets to Content Marketing Success for Financial Brands

10 Secrets to Content Marketing Success for Financial Brands

The Imprint team is delighted that the Gramercy Institute named us one of the financial sector’s Top Agencies for 2018.

We were especially thrilled to take part in a round table discussion with our peers, where each agency was asked to name one key driver to success in marketing for financial brands. Here are my takeaways.

1. Reuse content

You’ve got reams of content by now and, let’s face it, some pieces could use a face-lift. So don’t keep producing new content unless there’s a clear purpose; optimize what you have first. Focus on repackaging, transforming and enhancing evergreen content so it’s visually engaging, snappier, and optimized for social sharing.

2. Aim for the white space

Figure out what makes your brand stand out. Define what’s different about you, and your unique point of view. Also make sure your solutions and insights are relevant and useful to your customers and clients.

3. Have a purpose

Define how you are helping your customers and clients, as well as the value you’re providing. This can be emotional support, practical help, advice, information, guidance or data – ­or a combination of all of those things.

4. It’s human to human

We can all get caught up in discussing B2B strategies or B2C campaigns, but it’s always H2H – human to human. You’re talking with people. And people respond best to conversations, so you need to listen.

5. Collaborate

Of course your agencies are vendors, but they’re also partners. They’re full of fresh ideas and expertise, and they want your business to be successful—that’s why you hired them. So involve your external teams in every stage of your program from ideation to implementation.

6. Try new things

Don’t be afraid of pushing against brand guidelines. Take risks and innovate. Your audience, whether B2B or B2C, is expecting to see new formats and approaches to brand story telling. Fortune favors the brave.

7. Confront your internal hurdles around social media

You need to be where your customers and clients are having conversations. And that’s often on social channels—not a website. We’re in a highly regulated industry, but all brands need to get to grips with the compliance and approval obstacles that prevent them from taking true advantage of social media’s opportunities. You need to tie social into content development process and also plan for some spontaneity.

8. Create an emotional connection

People want interaction on social media, so leverage that. Be personal, warm, and informal and you’ll create a dialogue that will be incredibly valuable both to you and your customer or client. Ensure your content makes sense to your audience’s life or business.

9. Inspire action

Give your audience a way to respond to your content—and not only through a 1-800 number or an email address. Ensure your audience will want to share and comment on your content.

10. Be strategic not tactical

Every piece of content you create or repackage should be built around a goal, a target audience, a customer journey and a message that supports, builds and brings to life your brand’s business.

 

To the teams at:

 

Congratulations! We’re proud to be part of such a smart, thoughtful and committed industry. Thanks for your insight. Here’s to a successful, strategic and engaging year of financial content marketing.

How to Become Agency of the Year

How to Become Agency of the Year

 

2017 was an amazing year for Imprint. We had been nominated as Small Content Marketing Agency of the Year by CMA three times, and winning last September on our fourth consecutive nomination put a real spring in our step. Among other accolades, we were just named to Gramercy Institute’s Top 12 Financial Agencies for 2018.

To date, there have been over 50 awards for our clients and ourselves, and we haven’t yet reached our fifth year anniversary!

What’s the thread to creating the winning work? Some Imprint team members weigh in with six tips:

 

  • Tap the best of others

I think one of the strong suits of the team here is collaboration. There’s a real team effort in strategy and optimization, not the traditional silos that you see in other agencies.

– Brendan Burke, strategy @Imprint_Brendan

 

  • Don’t settle for cookie cutter

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to our work. Our content programs are strategic and highly tailored to the needs to our clients and their audiences. From scheduling and process, to editorial and creative, everything we do is customized to deliver the best end results for our clients. We push our clients out of their comfort zones and encourage them to try new formats and approaches that we believe can strategically help them reach their goals.

– Kim Papa, editorial @Imprint_KimP

 

  • Get your hands dirty

We combine strategy and creativity with roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done delivery.

– Meg Staknis, strategy 

 

  • Look outwards, not inwards

We’re laser-focused on our clients and on their business. We’re focused on their markets, their challenges, their audiences and the opportunities that content provides to create relationships and deliver results. We’re always looking at the bigger picture, the trends and technologies that will make our work as resonant, effective and innovative as possible.

– Duncan Milne, strategy @ContentDuncan

 

  • Be audience-first

Our work embodies the perspective of the audience. Always.

– Ashley Brenner, design @Imprint_AshleyB

 

  • Speak up!

The Imprint team is not afraid to question the norm, to voice an opinion.

– Ken Williams, business development @Imprint_KenW

5 Essential Content Marketing Ideas for 2018

5 Essential Content Marketing Ideas for 2018

A New Year can be a new beginning. Some people make resolutions, while others just reflect on the past. The Imprint team is all about looking ahead, and we’ve compiled five ideas to incorporate into your fresh thinking for 2018.

1. Stay nimble, stay ahead

Make 2018 all about testing, reading results and switching up your approach based on what you find. For example, when it comes to social, don’t just rely on organic engagement. Make sure you are testing paid promotion and leveraging influencers. You can be tactical using A/B testing on the fundamentals, and strategic by testing on new platforms, if your audiences are there.

2. Break the B2B mold

For years we’ve been moving our clients away from traditional B2B company talk and toward having a conversation with the audience that’s true to who they are: people.

3. Make it real

To exhibit expertise, brands create white papers. To drive engagement? Brands should tell stories, create a narrative and make their content relatable.

4. Use data wisely

In the age of Big Data, content marketers need to be thoughtful about the use of data in their programs. The key question to ask: what is the desired outcome of the use of data? Look at a customer’s journey through the sales funnel, and use data to serve up relevant content to increase engagement, if possible, at every interaction. In terms of showing personalization, we recommend layering that on more as the client moves deeper in the funnel.

5. Choose quality over quantity

Content marketing continues to become more complex, sophisticated and messy. Make sure that you are not creating new content just for the sake of creating it. Refresh and reimagine wherever possible and focus new content creation efforts on what you need to engage your key targeted audiences.

We’re starting the New Year off with renewed energy and ready to kick 2018 into high gear!

4 Essential Steps for Creating an Effective Journey Map

4 Essential Steps for Creating an Effective Journey Map

We recently headed out to a mutual fund marketing conference at Morningstar’s Chicago headquarters to lead a roundtable on customer journey mapping. It was a great discussion about why having a journey map—and in particular a digital journey map—is so important.  The participants were not shy about sharing the challenges they and their brands are facing.

During the session, we shared what the Imprint team has found to be the four essential steps to creating an effective map, with the objectives to drive a better experience for the customer and smarter decisions for the brand.

1. Define your goal

The first thing you should do is envision the end of the journey. What actions do you ultimately want your customer to take? Consider what you feel will help get them there.

2. Create personas

But don’t overcomplicate the number of journeys. Aim for five to eight total. Too many personas increases complexity in content creation.

3. Look at a “day in the life” of your customer

Think about what they’re doing, where they are and how they feel. Look to understand where pain points are within the current user journey and where there are new opportunities.

4. Create the map

As with personas, simplicity is key. Limit to the number of steps that can effectively be managed and don’t try to put equal emphasis on every step. Moments where there are calls to action should take priority.

As content marketing and creating custom content becomes more complex, having the core foundations for a program is essential.  And knowing your audience and understanding their journeys is key.

What You Can Learn from Russia’s Content Marketing

What You Can Learn from Russia’s Content Marketing

If you’re on Facebook, there is a good chance you’ve been exposed to a post produced by Russian-backed agents. Exploring Russian’s influence on the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections, Facebook has reported that the Russians reached 126 million Americans on its network.

You might be angry, you may need to see more evidence. But one thing is clear—it’s a classic case study of content marketing.

Let’s review the five steps Russia took to master content marketing:

  1. Know your audience and segments. Russia was able to read the divide that was happening between major political parties, and within the parties.
  2. Understand the message that needs to be told in order to resonate. What are the issues that were motivating segments? From feeling the Bern to being with Her, there was much emotion to navigate.
  3. Create content that drives action. In this case, the messages were overwhelmingly controversial and hateful―and unfortunately well done for the strategy.
  4. Be smart and strategic with targeted distribution. The Russians were able to use social platforms to target specific states, groups and individuals.
  5. Effectively spend and measure. While the budget wasn’t large, it showed just how much impact a $100,000 toward media can have.

The Russians may have influenced our elections, but they definitely stole content marketing.

Content Marketing Agency of the Year: Thank You

Content Marketing Agency of the Year: Thank You

It was our fourth nomination, and it turns out this was our year.  At the 2017 Content Marketing World conference, run by the Content Marketing Institute, Imprint was named “Content Marketing Agency of the Year” (<100 employees).  It was truly a surprise!  We were in great company, as the five other nominees seem to do really interesting work.

Our clients are amazing, and they are the thread to why we were honored with this award.

  • They push us to think differently. Our clients want us to respect the past, but not be hindered by legacy.  We make sure their brand is clearly infused in the work so even the most common of concepts stand out and can be owned.
  • We relentlessly focus on a client’s audience.  It’s not just asking the why that is important, but really the for who.  Because when you concentrate on what audiences need and want, you don’t really need to justify why content is created.
  • They trust us. We value quality over quantity and are measurement obsessed.

We’re committed to bringing our clients excellence and drive for results.  But at this moment, we’re taking a breath and saying, thank you!

Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Get Our Latest Insights.
ErrorHere

Curated By Logo