Content Management. A supporting pillar for the brand and brand experience.
When one thinks of content management, the first thing one usually thinks of is content management systems, which are now available in large numbers and which make publishing on the Internet easier. As a digital branding agency, however, we view content management in a larger context.
Content, the amount of which is constantly increasing — from product information and marketing information to technical data — must be managed for the various media channels. The organization, structuring, and restructuring of internal processes as well as changes in attitudes and behavior are important factors on the path to digital content. This requires functional systems.
This is the rational side, because digital communication has to make its contribution to brand perception, get people interested in the brand and product, and also lead to a purchase. The view of the brand, the brand messages, and the brand experience in combination with the available content is the emotional side. Content management helps here, but it is also important that those who work with it and deliver the brand’s messages in the digital world must be aware of it and receive communication about this view, the messages, and the brand experience.
Only when available content — in addition to the fact level in technical documents, in the description in web shops or web catalogs — becomes an emotional level through stories, experiences, pictorial information, and infotainment is content management carried on in the sense of brand management.
What is. What should be. How’s that going to happen?
At the beginning, as always, is the analysis of what already exists. The analysis shows what is good and can be retained. The analysis also shows what is getting on in years, and what works only to a limited extent and thus prevents connecting to the current standards.
It must be clear that in the dynamics of digital transformation, there are hardly any solutions in the field of content management and digital communication that are designed for decades to come. As a branding agency, we are not talking about business software that structures, standardizes, and optimizes business processes. As a digital branding agency, we are concerned with those existing or not yet existing subsystems that provide any kind of content for the brand-oriented content strategy of the company. These systems have to be fast, direct, and up-to-date. Here we are committed to making the connection open and flexible for tomorrow.
The focus is usually on the database connection, database design, and database applications, in which information of any kind is collected, managed, and output for a wide variety of applications. “Collect, manage, distribute” is the triad we follow here with regard to the applications in the sense of the brand and its communication. That is why we have experts in the branding agency who work on databases and web developments with a fundamental understanding of brands and communication. They understand the importance of flexible interfaces and easy integration. They also understand the availability of data everywhere, for all parties involved, with a maximum of application-related security.
Moving with the times or being one step ahead of the digital possibilities in the sense of the brand has a positive effect on brand perception by international target groups.
Once the need is clear, goals and strategies can be defined for content management. This also includes formulating a content architecture. After all, content is not only text, but also images, videos, animations, sketches, technical drawings, downloads, and more. If you wish to use this content for brand and marketing communication, it must be structured, collated, and prepared in such a way that when it is published it conveys the brand and its brand messages optimally in words and images and provides the target groups along the customer journey with the right information at the right time — offline and online.
The content architecture describes how content in the respective digital communication (i.e., texts, images, graphics, videos, etc.) should be structured in order to satisfy the information needs of the users: information or entertainment, insight or outlook… in the context of added value for the brand. As a result, the content architecture is also an essential part of search engine optimization.
Sources from which the content architecture for multichannel communication is filled are the linked information from PIM systems (Product Information Management) and MAM/DAM systems (Media Asset Management/Digital Asset Management). The architecture is accompanied by the question of content distribution. Which content is desired at which point in the digital communication process along the customer journey or for a special customer experience? Which brand experience in the digital space should be made possible? This must be formulated in terms of goal and strategy and selection of digital media channels.
Another aspect is the release of content. Content is continuously generated across departments. The question remains whether everything meets the requirements of corporate brand, corporate design, corporate image, and corporate wording. Once content is available in the broadest sense in the content management system, it is used, making withdrawing it difficult. So before content is deployed (published), one needs colleagues on the digital team to review and approve the content and then release the content for publication.
Another topic is the rights of use and right to release (for publication). Who can do everything? Who can only read? Who can download and process content? Who releases content used in digital communication? These questions and decisions depend on the organizational structure of the company. As a branding agency focusing on digital communication, we generally recommend keeping the approval processes as short and sweet as possible. Digital communication is fast, so it is not possible to wait until a co-decision-maker from the technology department is back from vacation in one week or today has yet another important presentation. Appropriate training and related knowledge building must give the cross-departmental digital teams adequate freedom.
Today’s content management systems offer the advantage that many parts of a digital communication strategy can be prepared in templates. This ensures a high degree of visual brand identity through the templates. This includes content on the website along with e-mailings and newsletters, web banners, and social media activities. Systematic content management makes workflows transparent, reduces workarounds, and allows efficient use of digital output.
First, structures are developed. Then, users are introduced to the content and trained. The more secure working with the digital systems is, the easier the application of content and the more efficient the time from the idea to its publication or a reaction to the content.
It is also important to look at the topicality of the content on an ongoing basis. Changes require adaptation. New stories want to be told as such anew. The experience of an individual company with content distribution needs to be continuously questioned, adapted, and further developed.
Analysis tools provide valuable insights for this. The use of these possibilities makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing optimisation of digital communication when used correctly and interpreted correctly. It becomes transparent which channels and which actions are most popular, which target groups are most active, which topics can be given more space, and so on. Tracking, web tracking, and social media analytics are the proven means in this context.