A Technological Fairytale

Content is King. It was the Bill Gates inspired battle-cry of the burgeoning tech generation – kids who had cut their teeth on print, television and radio, believing that Digital would simply amplify the voices that traditional channels had already afforded their parents; and for a while, they were right. But that was two decades ago…

Then King Content met Queen Connectivity – and from that moment on, neither could live without the other. While Content was busy engaging audiences, generating leads and increasing traffic, Connectivity was ensuring that all things that could communicate through networks were communicating through networks. Finally, brands all across the kingdom were talking and listening. Reading Mr. Gates quote in context to the thought piece from which it originated, it’s clear that the tech titan was already predicting this happy ending: “They (consumers) need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.”

The truth is, an organization’s ability to listen is just as important as its ability to talk. But what does that mean for tomorrow’s business strategies? Companies will need to shift focus away from themselves and towards third party environments like Social Media platforms and community initiatives, where brands and customers can interact in common interest cultures. Case in point: Nascar created the Official Nascar Fan Council, an intelligence platform that aggregates ongoing customer insights from thousands of viewers. They’ve also developed a social media hub to collect real-time fan feedback – a perfect example of Connectivity sharing the heavy lifting with Content.

And what of the organizations who refuse to accept this union? They’ll continue up the one-way street of yesteryear, prioritizing quantity over quality and output over outreach. They’ll continue relying on vanity metrics like Social fan-base size over actionable factors like conversions and customer feedback, ultimately, suffering from the tactical disconnect between what they’re doing and what their customers are saying. It’s the stuff of silo-thinking.

Like all marriages, the relationship between Content and Connectivity has practical needs in order to remain healthy. Content must speak honestly to organizational philosophies, providing customers not only with the what but the how and why as well. Because talking isn’t enough. Today’s customers respond best to brands that are listening, too.

March 27, 2017