Don’t Claim to Be a Brand Leader … Become One

Sue Kwon is an Emmy award-winning storyteller and global corporate communications leader, holding on-air and leadership positions in CBS, NBC, and ABC stations around the U.S. She is also on the Stanford GSB Mastery in Communications team, teaching branding and storytelling to entrepreneurs.

Before joining Symantec to lead Content Strategy & Storytelling, Sue served as Digital & Social Media Director for Gap, Inc. leading internal and external communications focused on increasing employee, customer and influencer engagement.

I interviewed Sue Kwon, Senior Director of Content Strategy at Symantec.
I interviewed Sue Kwon, Senior Director of Content Strategy at Symantec.

What are the key considerations to take into account when a company sets out to establish itself as a brand leader?

You can’t SAY you’re a brand leader, you become a brand leader. It’s like saying ‘I’m cool’ on a grade school playground. Others will determine your ‘cool’ factor by what you say, what you do and how you are perceived by the most vocal influencers.

So key considerations to take into account when a company sets out to establish itself as a brand leader include:

Do you have something interesting to say that is unique or differentiated?

Is what you do actually relevant to what people need?
And, is the experience you offer as a brand worth participating in and advocating for?

Establishing your company as a brand leader requires a plan – not just for those one-off moments of positive reinforcement – but for telling a story through unique experiences over the course of a customer’s journey.

Will you outline for us the necessary materials and personnel required to elevate a content marketing strategy into a functioning media outlet that can publish, promote and deliver content across a spectrum of mediums?

I will outline an overarching Content Marketing strategy, which includes:
1. Building a Content Lifecycle plan to reach the right audience.
2. Building your Content Marketing ‘Newsroom’
3. Budgeting for multi-channel production.
4. Why Cross-Functional collaboration is the key to success.

What are your tips for re-envisioning content to imitate news media outlets?

BUILDING YOUR CONTENT MARKETING NEWSROOM:

• Your Marketing Team Structured like a Newsroom Roster– At the conference, I’ll show you who on your PR & Marketing team should play these roles– News Director, Managing Editor, Executive Producer, Show Producer, Reporter(s), Photographer/Editors/Graphics, Promo Dept.

• Secrets of the Field Crew– I’ll show you how 3-5 person crews work on deadline, within expertise, and toward a common production goal – despite hierarchy.

• Thinking like a Reporter not a Marketer – I’ll show you how to tell stories that can beat the competition – that are relevant to customers, influencers, advocates and critics.

• It’s not just about Prime Time – I’ll show you how to map your content against the customer’s journey where you are positioning assets at the right time and on the right channels.

• Speed and Expertise – TV ratings are based on capturing and keeping audience attention… and offering the most compelling insight. I’ll show you how to secure audiences early and keep them around through a structured thought leadership amplification plan.

How can you ensure that your thought leader’s subject matter stays aligned with business initiatives?

It’s important to define what a “Thought Leader” is in your organization and get shared vision across Marketing, Global Communications and C-suite. A shared definition will allow you to create a Thought Leader amplification plan where the right individuals are selected and supported. The plan will ensure that individuals authorized to speak on your company’s behalf are aware of inputs and considerations that line up to business priorities. The plan will also empower those thought leaders to show well and show often on Owned, Paid, and Earned channels – LinkedIn, 3rd party blogs, media outlets, etc.

What are the ways you can create content that has an enhanced accessibility by focusing on highlighting relevancy and importance rather than assumed value?

• Adopting a Breaking News “fast flow” content production process is important to add thought leadership and value in conversations pegged to headlines and trending topics.

• Creating a global content production plan that lines up to a company editorial calendar is important to prioritize “evergreen” stories that are supported across Geos.

• *Teaching all writers, editors and producers across the Content Lifecycle process the principles of Award-Winning storytelling is important to teach marketers how to talk about products … without literally talking about products.

**At the Advancements in Content Marketing 2014 event, I’ll give the 3 Secrets to Winning an Emmy – that will change the way you think about storytelling and content marketing.

What does the future of content marketing look like to you?

I will be out of a job. Telling great stories will become an easy habit. We need to master the science of positioning those stories with robust SEO strategy, for multi-channel consumption, with instant metrics insight. Marketing automation and the ability to position our stories to the right audiences at the right time and measure acquisition, retention and product renewal is the shiny object we should all focus on. (But first, we need to produce great assets to pump into the system.)

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