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Competing in a State of Content Entropy


Competing in a State of Content Entropy

Posted by: SGK | Date added: Tue 24 Jul 2018

No one can possibly keep up with today's sheer volume of content. We've reached a state of entropy, where content is becoming ever more chaotic and confusing to create, manage and consume. How do you break through with content that consumers will actually seek out and eagerly share? Cut through the noise and create true engagement with these three transformational strategies.

Consumers are approaching a state of content overload. They have unlimited access to endless amounts of information, opinion, data and messaging. No one can possibly keep up with the sheer volume of online content. But here’s the thing: No one would want to keep up, even if it were possible. Content fatigue has set in. Consumers long to see — and to some extent control — only content that is directly relevant, purposeful and meaningful to their lives.

Millions of megabytes of information are being uploaded to the internet every second. Three hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute alone. In fact, it would take someone 12.5 days just to watch the last 60 seconds of uploads to YouTube. But, in general, people only watch YouTube when they want to, and they choose what to view.

That’s seldom the case with marketing content. The average person is exposed to 577 marketing messages every day. That’s an average of 36 messages every waking hour. The staggering amount of unwanted content noise can lead consumers into analysis paralysis. Another way to put it: We’ve entered a state of content entropy.

One dictionary definition of entropy is, “A process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder. ” We’re now in a reality where content is getting more chaotic to manage — a relentless and unsustainable spiral that leaves content creators and consumers alike feeling out of control.

The rate of content creation far outpaces the rate of organization and engaged consumption. Creators have to deliver a sea of content, and consumers have to wade through it — oftentimes tasked with authenticating what’s even real, let alone what’s personally meaningful or useful. This explosion of content creates confusion and makes it difficult to connect with consumers. If brands don’t provide informed, relatable content targeted at the right people, place and time, they risk losing consumer engagement and conversion.

At SGK, we’ve spoken and written previously about the need for brands to meet the extreme and continually growing demand for content. However, content that misses the mark is nothing but a waste of time and resources. Worse, it’s a waste of the consumer’s patience. Brands should not create confusing messages with inconsistent content, or sacrifice the opportunity to deliver a standout consumer experience, just to fill the content gap.

Instead, brands need to take a strategic approach. Start by defining how, why and what content you are producing across all of your channels. Consider that the content you create for one channel, market or activation will most likely be shared in unintended places. At least, you hope it will, since unshared content is largely failed content.

To be effective in contexts that you can’t always control, your content needs to express a clear and consistent intention. It needs to deliver a purposeful, concise message that drives action. Above all, the content you create and deliver to the world needs to stand out and command attention against the entropic background of incessant content noise.

How do you make content worthwhile and compelling? How can your content move your consumers to engage, convert and buy your brand — or even just to like, share or retweet?

The time that consumers have to engage with your message is precious, sporadic and scarce. The same is true for the time you have available to devise an engaging experience. As a content creator, you need to make sure you don’t waste that time. The more energy you invest up front on a strategy and plan, the less time you’ll need to spend on recovering from mistakes.

Here are three strategies to help you create truly effective content, deploy it to the most advantageous channels, and renew it at the pace required in a world where change is constant — while maintaining the consistent identity and appeal of your brand.

Walk the Walk

Put yourself in your consumers’ shoes and walk their journey down the path to purchase. Map out and document the journey that your consumers will travel if they were to research your brand, product or message.

What content will they find? Where will they find it? How much effort will it require? Where might consumers get frustrated and abandon the effort? If they keep to the journey, are you providing consistent signposts to help them follow your brand’s story and message?? If they wander between physical and digital channels, do multiple pathways lead them to the same destination? Can the right path at the right time accelerate the journey?

Does your content embody your brand’s meaning, ethos, aesthetic and values? Or does it contradict them? Is the content informative enough to connect with consumers and drive them to take action? Remember, more than ever before, consumers today are looking to connect with brands that understand, exemplify and further their personal and communal values.

Don’t just look at your owned brand sites and channels. Explore all social channels, your retail partner sites, ratings and reviews, articles, and anything else that may pop up in a general search. Evaluate where your content does or does not appear in the search hierarchy on Google and on e-commerce retail partner sites such as Amazon, Walmart, TMall and Alibaba.

Every consumer’s journey is individual and specific. You can’t possibly walk every path, but you can visit the major signposts that consumers will encounter along the way and evaluate whether they are effective in moving potential buyers toward conversion. If there are gaps or inconsistencies at any point — from initial awareness to information gathering to checkout — walking the consumer’s walk will help you identify and rectify them.

Apply a Creative Operations Approach

While there is an ever-growing demand for content, quality still matters more than quantity. Avoid overreacting to the content demand. One strategically planned, precisely targeted and artfully created piece of content will yield a higher ROE and ROI than 20 pieces of filler content that consume far more money, time and resources.

The role of Creative Operations is to channel creativity into its most efficient and effective course, based on an objective understanding of marketplace trends, consumer needs and measured results. It’s all about ensuring that creativity serves a validated purpose that elevates the success of your brand. An effective Creative Operations approach also eliminates siloes and provides creative teams with a consolidated set of tools and assets to help speed time to market — filling the insatiable demand for more content, delivered faster to every channel.

With a Creative Operations lens, your organization will greatly improve its ability to prioritize time and resource investments, taking advantage of objective metrics, analytics and KPIs to guide the creation of content and ensure its timeliness and effectiveness with the target audience. The quantitative discipline that Creative Operations brings to the qualitative efforts of your creative team helps strengthen your overall content strategy.

Embrace Partnerships

With the fast-paced changes required to continuously supply each channel with new and effective content, it can be difficult for most organizations to evolve beyond content entropy without taking on massive costs, adding resources or even implementing organizational changes.


Long-established organizations tend to suffer from an entrenched inertia that makes it difficult to adapt quickly enough in an always-new landscape. By the time they recognize a shift in the market and change direction, another change is already occurring and they drift even further off course. When acting solely on their own, these organizations simply don’t have the time they need to be truly timely and relevant.

Partnering with third parties allows companies to quickly evolve, innovate and remain competitive in this new content ecosystem. When creative teams join forces with third parties and agencies, each partner has the latitude to focus and execute on its core capabilities. These partnerships can come in many forms including:

Brands + Agencies
Brands + Influencers
Brands + Gaming Platforms
Brands + User Generated Content (UGC)
Consulting Firms + Agencies
Studio Networks + Digital Technology
Content Creators + Social Media platforms
Brand + Brand Collaborations
QR applications + Augmented reality
Media Strategy + Content Creators

AI + Content Creators

At SGK, we’ve witnessed many unique partnerships that have been formed, in part, to meet the new demand for relevant, personalized content, but also to ensure that each of the involved partners remains competitive overall in its marketplace.

Agencies like ours have collaborated with brands, other agencies and nontraditional partners to create solutions that stand above and apart from the rest in a new era of content overload. Solutions that accelerate brands out of their state of content entropy — creating meaningful consumer engagement today, anticipating the market changes to come, and futureproofing creative processes to address each new challenge that may arise.

Are you ready to battle content fatigue and make a real difference in the lives of your consumers and the success of your brand? Let’s begin.

 

As Director of Client Engagement at SGK, Tearle Calinog partners with both large, global brands and small, up-and-coming start-ups to help them define and scale creative operations that meet the demands for content today and in the future. Building upon his previous experience consulting with clients in retail, consumer goods and supply chain, he applies an integrative approach to timely and efficient delivery of content that drives results. www.sgkinc.com

 

[1] “37 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures and Statistics — 2018,” MerchDope, April 26, 2108. https://merchdope.com/youtube-statistics/

[2] Donna Tuths “You Are Your Content: Being Here, Now,” Accenture Interactive, 2017. https://www.accenture.com/t20170301T212937Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-44/Accenture-You-Are-Your-Content-Survey-Screen.pdf#zoom=50

[3] Merriam-Webster Dictionary, updated June 19, 2018. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entropy

[4] Tearle Calinog, “The Insatiable Demand for Content,” AdAsia, February 26, 2018. http://www.adasiaonline.com/the-insatiable-demand-for-content/

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