When we launched the adidas content hub, www.GamePlan-A.com, in May 2016, we put culture at the core of our content marketing strategy. The goal of this venture is to engage employees and attract the right talent and build relationships with like-minded people (be they internal or external) who have a cultural background compatible to our own.
While all of this will help create advocacy in the long term, driving revenue isn’t a primary goal of GamePlan A.
Did I just lose you?
Bear with me. I promise, making culture a driving force of your content marketing strategy will help you enormously to create sustainable ROI because culture has the power to nourish longer-lasting, stronger, and more-engaged relationships with your target audience.
Culture … what’s that?
Culture is the joint values, ideas, beliefs, social behaviors, and ideology of a group. Culture includes implicit theories about the world we live in. It’s the sum of people’s convictions that drive them and influence their decisions. Culture contains empathy, purpose, and “cool.” Culture creates a feeling of membership and belonging. In his book, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance, Louis Gerstner, former chairman of the board of IBM, shares one of the key things he learned in his career: “I came to see … that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game – it is THE game.”
Relevance is fleeting
Let’s see how this connects to content marketing. There’s no doubt relevance is one of the most important aspects in content marketing. But relevance is a tricky thing; relevance is fleeting.
If my favorite soccer club scores a goal, it is only exciting until the other team equalizes. A unique selling proposition is only particularly relevant when I made the purchase. Even a website that provides me with knowledge is only relevant until my focus switches to a different area of expertise. Because relevance is fleeting, I like to compare it with waves reaching the coast. There is only a short moment when it is just the right time to take off and surf the wave.
As content marketers, it’s our job to build a user journey that creates a continuous flow of moments of relevance that leads the user from awareness to purchase and retention. This is really hard work. The most frustrating part is that the likelihood that a consumer loses interest between two moments of relevance is high.
Sustain the groundswell of relevance through culture
If relevance comes in waves, the question is what makes the surfer sit in the cold water and wait for another set of waves knowing many other surfers are fighting for the same wave? What makes the surfer fight against riptides and suffer being spun around underwater after falling?
It is something much bigger than the waves themselves. It’s the emotional connection the surfer has with the water. It’s the conviction that the feeling of riding just one wave will outweigh all the efforts and sacrifices. It is the surfer’s love for the lifestyle connected to the sport. In short, what makes the surfer hang on is the culture of surfing.
If you take just one lesson from this article, I hope it will be the following: Culture is the one factor able to sustain the groundswell of relevance necessary to build long-lasting relationships.
We need to speak through the filter of…