Friday, June 10, 2011

Content Integration and Product Experience

There’s a pretty pervasive meme in the market - the concept of micro-targeted content. By this, I mean creating content that is relevant to not everyone, but to a niche audience. Content is a critical part of the product experience. The challenge often with consumer brands is the audience is ‘everyone.’ From a brand perspective, how do create a brand narrative that has at its core the concept of appealing to everyone? Do you? Should you? What’s the path to targeted content, and is it for everyone?

In reality, most consumer brands get more specific about both audience and content strategy – in linking content and experience to an aspiration brand story. Here’s some basic components to getting product content and experience right.

1. Create the aspirational story about the brand. Take a brand like LivingSocial. You get great local experiences using to social technologies at a deep discount. The nugget? There’s a real sense that you benefit a community of like-minded friends and family and local businesses by using the product – especially during a recession. There’s the aspirational aspect of their brand.

2. Ensure the primary audience and that brand story fit. At first glance, you might think the product is for everyone. But online, the most pervasive coupon clipping, save a few bucks sort of consumers tend to be women. If you just captured urban 25-40 – that’s a huge demographic, and allows you to focus content – and offers - on reaching that audience. Having already taken advantage of social couponing products like Groupon and LivingSocial, I can tell you – the WOM pass-alongs have - for the most part - been from women friends. If you look at LivingSocial’s press , and step outside the business, venture press, the press highlights are Woman’s World, InStyle, and others. There’s your target.

3. Creating secondary audience personas that are a good match to the brand story. Think about who is most likely to share and create WOM around your aspirational story. Not only did many WOM pass-alongs for local deals come from women – they came from moms – and many entertainment-starved mom (um, like me) looking for a great deal to offset the babysitter on a date night. The deals tend to have great photography and enticing lead-in copy. In the last 6 months – 6 local offers on friends' Facebook posts specifically saying ‘there’s a LivingSocial Deal from this merchant! Cool!’ But the other secondary local audience I saw pass-alongs? My geeky early-adopter guy friends – specifically, they shared the 2 movie tickets for $9 Fandango offer. LivingSocial’s benefit to both audiences - if they got 3 other friends to buy using their unique share URL from Facebook – their tickets are free. Who doesn’t like free?

4. Ensure the brand experience keeps that aspirational story. Once you’ve captured that audience’s attention & make it easy to use and share WOM, what continues to makes the product draw you back in? For LivingSocial, offers tend to be intentionally tailored to experiences you want, but don’t need: Hawaiian spa packages, massage + facial, wine tastings, restaurants, yoga, but not tire rotations or tax preparations. It a word – nummy. The brand is the experience, and lining up business offer that validate that brand is critical – especially early on in building an audience. Once they capture that demographic – there’s a good chance to diversify. There are several business models out there that have done so. Daily Candy for example, has content centered on fashion, travel, home and garden, food and drink. But they started with getting fashion – right. That’s tailored content.

For LivingSocial, tailored local deals with enticing content, and rewarded sharable features make it easy - remarkably, did I just spend $50 on LivingSocial last month? Easy.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Julie Anne, I enjoyed your blog and am curious how you would extrapolate what you wrote about for a particular product to a service company like the one I’m in. We specialize in software requirements consulting and generate documentation that goes into producing a final software system but we do not code the system itself. Actually here is a quit blog post on what we do if it helps: . What are some ideas you might have to create the “aspirational story” you mention?