Content is King: 3 Steps to Enhance Your Narrative

The recent release of CocaCola’s new corporate site pivots from pushing products to delivering quality content. At first glance, it looked like a cross between CNN and a gaming site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In “The corporate Web site is dead, long live the new corporate Web site,” Buzz Builders’ Michelle Mehl uses Coke’s site to assess the impact of richer web content on corporate messaging. “[The] Web site template of — ‘About Us, In the News, Services, Products, Contact Us, FAQ, a Search Box, Blog, Shopping Cart’ — will no longer work… we all have to start thinking more like publishers, reporters, bloggers, reviewers and authors.”

An all-time favorite book title is Seth Godin’s All Marketers are Liars. Seth’s bottom line? Companies need to create a clear, consistent narrative that others relate to. What CocaCola is trying to do with the new site is to aggregate and present engaging content that forms a narrative reinforcing the image they want to project.

Our immediate impulse to redo our business web site to emulate Coke’s cool presence “cools” once we realize the level of effort it takes, not just to create such a site, but to maintain it. Those responsible for most sites, even corporate ones, can’t afford to invest like Coke does to feed their big engine. However, what emerges is an imperative for smaller enterprises (i.e., almost all of us) to enrich our web site narrative.

To enrich your narrative, consider taking 3 steps that won’t require an increase in marketing staff:

  1.  Add engaging content. “Engaging” means video since that’s the most engaging format available. Instead of writing a 500 word article, make a 3 minute video that is certain to engage many more people.
  2. Change the content regularly. That can be as simple as adding a blog (or vlog) and updating it regularly, whether that’s monthly, weekly, or daily.
  3. Experiment with content. Employ some “disciplined dreaming” to deliberately step outside the usual topics and expand your audience.
Now that you’ve read this far, here’s the same information in a 3 minute video. Even though I’m not experienced with video, it likely has more impact than the written post. You decide.
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Five Disciplined Steps to a Successful 2013

If you lead a business and haven’t yet committed to your resolutions for 2013, here are five ways to start the year off right:

  1. Take Time for “Disciplined Dreaming”
  2. Choose the Right Focus
  3. Find Your Breakout Strategy
  4. Avoid Strategy Mistakes
  5. Move Past the Second Chasm

1. Take Time for Disciplined Dreaming: If you ignored our sole suggestion for 2012, you can redeem yourself in 2013. It’s tempting to work “heads down” all the time, but “heads up” thinking moves your company toward growth much faster.

2. Choose the Right Focus: Key factors in opting to narrow or broaden your focus include available market opportunities, strength of brand, and the company’s ability (e.g. capitalization) to execute, including integrating, partnering, and acquiring. Read more to understand where you stand and where you’d like to move.

3. Find Your Breakout Strategy: If you’re unfamiliar with the term, breakout strategies free your business from current growth-limiting constraints. Even the most visionary CEO may need help in translating a vision for growth into clear, actionable strategies that move the company out of the the plateau it’s mired in.

4. Avoid Strategy Mistakes: In a 2012 Harvard Business Review post, Joan Magretta identified five common strategy mistakes that we believe derive from two common antecedents – lack of clarity and lack of focus. Become familiar with these mistakes so you can avoid them.

5. Move Past the Second Chasm: The most delicate yet most important action for a consultant is pointing out the elephant in the room, especially if it involves challenging the CEO to learn how and when to let go. “Crossing the second chasm does not call for securing a second beachhead. Instead, the challenge is personal: the CEO must modify the way the business operates without losing the uniqueness that created its initial successes.”

Start your year off with disciplined thinking and greatly improve your odds of success.

Happy New Year!

 

2012 CEO Resolution: Disciplined Dreaming!

During the holidays I focused far less on business and far more on family and friends. Pushing back from normal activities gave extra time for some creative thinking. High on my list was reading one of 2011’s top business books, Disciplined Dreaming.

Author Josh Linkner is a  successful serial entrepreneur.  Founder of ePrize, a dominant company in the promotions industry, he’s proven the value of tapping into the creativity of the every individual in his business. His book outlines various processes and techniques that encourage and enable innovation among employees.

But what about the CEO? If the CEO doesn’t dream, the business doesn’t grow. Most business leaders find it easier to work in their business than on it, i.e. to handle urgent operational matters than to focus on important growth initiatives. Incorporating more creativity into a CEO’s schedule demands opening space for it.

Linkner suggests deliberately scheduling “heads-up” time for the creative process. He contrasts the differences between heads-up and heads-down operation:

The challenge in switching between heads-down and heads-up thinking is learning to use the analytical and creative sides of your brain simultaneously. Daniel Pink has suggested that the most successful 21st century ventures will be led by those who combine both modes of thinking, enabling them to spot patterns and trends faster than competitors. The result will be superior products, more relevant services, and higher market share.

The CEO who neglects creative thinking and stays in the comfort zone (solving operational issues and managing finances) falls behind competitors. It takes effort to break out of the zone, and it can require reaching outside the organization.  Successfully implementing the discipline to dream may require creating a network of friends who are regularly tapped for advice and who act as a sounding board. It means joining a group of like-minded CEOs (e.g., Vistage), or leveraging a special board member, or hiring a trusted advisor, or a combination.

Resolve that 2012 is going to be different for your business. Despite a challenging economy, it’s time to take it to the next step. Leave your comfort zone and grow your business by unleashing your own creativity and the creativity of your entire organization, and resolve to do it in a disciplined way.