About the Game of Content Creation

The average attention span of a person online is around 8 seconds. This calls for bite-sized, innovative, relevant and valuable content in any online service. Content is still king, since it is what inbound marketing is all about. So what does it take to succeed, when ”the king” is involved?

With content marketing having become an onbnoxious buzzword and with the amount of content online being massive and ever-growing, there is a sense of fatigue involved. However, compelling content remains exactly what is driving more and more people from the audience online into the sales funnel and some of these customers eventually towards being brand advocates.

Having a proper content strategy is paramount, but I think it matters even more who and how many the people in your organization involved in content marketing are.

In an ideal situation, there would be various different personas around.

First of all, you need several crafters of content – these are the people who will draft the relevant content. These people would have to be capable of authoring and co-creating interesting content, and preferably creative. The content crafting team may also consist of people working with many other tasks in the organization. If this is the status quo, the team needs to devote weekly meetings and daily working time for content creation.

So you got your team of innovative content creators together? That’s great.

Content drafted by the team may still need some tweaking, so having a content editor or two helps in keeping the message consistent.

Before publishing, you would also have to hire a designer to make sure that all the content being created and taken online is visually consistent as well as possibly a developer to oversee technical functions. These tasks can of course be outsourced, but should never be overlooked.

Moreover, you would also have to employ a person to put together a promotion plan for the great content that the content creation team has produced. And on top of that, you would also need an analyst to follow the key metrics of success and to drive search engine optimization.

The conclusion is that successful content marketing always calls for the input of a team of several people from various backgrounds, even if these employees were to be multitasking talents.

Once the content management team has been established, and the target audience defined, it should be no problem to create and publish enticing content as well as follow up on the results and return of investment.

Without a court ”the king” may not rule.

Further reading on content marketing:

http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/content-marketing-trends-2015-weve-seen-01369898

http://www.content-loop.com/the-top-10-marketing-trends-that-will-define-2016/

On the Relevance of the Balanced Scorecard

The balanced scorecard, BSC for short, revolutionized conventional thinking about performance metrics.

The BSC complements the financial measures with three sets of operational measures having to do with customer satisfaction, internal processes, and the organization’s ability to learn and improve–the activities that drive future financial performance.

Robert Kaplan and David Norton first introduced the concept already in 1992, but it seems that the method is still very relevant. Gartner Group suggests that over 50% of large US firms have now adopted the BSC.

When constructing a BSC, I think the Customer Perspective should be thought of first. The overall customer experience is a major issue in any business. The process begins by setting measurable, and attainable goals.

I think the traditional Financial Perspective must come second to the Customer Perspective.

This is because otherwise, we might end up overlooking the customer’s point of view.

Kaplan and Norton describe the innovation of the balanced scorecard as follows:

“The balanced scorecard retains traditional financial measures. But financial measures tell the story of past events, an adequate story for industrial age companies for which investments in long-term capabilities and customer relationships were not critical for success. These financial measures are inadequate, however, for guiding and evaluating the journey that information age companies must make to create future value through investment in customers, suppliers, employees, processes, technology, and innovation.”

This is especially true, when we set out to refine the Internal Business Process Perspective and the Learning & Growth Perspective. Focusing on the internal business processes encourages the identification of measures that answer the question “How can we continue to improve, create value and innovate?”

The balanced scorecard method comes in handy in strategy mapping. But most importantly, it comes in handy when translating the organization’s vision and strategy into an action plan.

The balanced scorecard can be applied in any organization, not just those that are making profit, but in non-profit organizations as well.

At my current workplace, for example, we have succeeded in applying it to digital service design.

To me, the BSC still seems like one of the best tools to apply in turning the strategy into a roadmap for the future.

The Convivial Approach to Co-Design

I recently purchased a copy of the “Convivial Toolbox” by Elizabeth Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers. This book is about “generative design research”, in short, about how to bring the people into the design process.

According to the authors of this book, there is a growing realization that we cannot continue living the way we have been living on this planet because we simply do not have the resources to do that. The authors recognize that there is currently a strong resurgence in interest in and an emphasis on creativity, and that people are more likely to choose experiences over buying commodities. According to them, this phenomenon and new technologies can facilitate the emergence of more convivial ways of living.

The authors of “Convivial Toolbox” view creativity as an antidote for consumerism, where people are only seen as customers. The problem is, most design students of the past have been trained to help people consume more. Nevertheless, many people are now seeking ways to make environmentally and socially responsible choices as consumers.

The book is divided into three parts.

Part One introduces the basic components of generative design research and provides a theoretical background to design research. The book builds on the idea that all people are creative, and able to contribute to design processes, and that people are particularly creative when it comes to the way they live. Part Two consists of four design case studies, ranging from a student project to real client-sponsored projects. Part Three describes how to plan, gather, document, analyze and communicate the data gathered during a generative design research project.

This book also includes 50 individual contributions from a diverse range of people in the design field.

The old, traditional design disciplines are merging. In place of where we used to have for example visual communication design, industrial design, interior design and architecture, we now see an emergence of customer experience design, service design, and design for innovation, transformation and sustainability. Contemporary design is focusing more and more on the context of using products and services.

This, in my opinion, calls for alternative forms of research, co-design and conceptualization. “Convivial Design Toolbox” makes an excellent read and a source of information to any design professionals.