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THE ART OF COOKING WORDS, Part I

p>BUILDING GREAT, FOCUSED CONTENT TOGETHER
By Linda Brandt, brandt ronat + company (b r + c)

Positioning or re-positioning statements, visions and such, are important considerations developed in boardrooms or offices, with organization leaders, for better or worse. And it is a very important act, of course, for any organization; but when it remains there (in the back room or on an exec’s shelves), the positioning or visioning is not working.

Even when that articulation of position/vision is written well, it is only the first of many steps of application and adaptation, adoption and integration.

The hard truth is: those leaders in the boardroom discussion are not finished with their part of the effort when the statement or re-statement is written and embraced. That’s not possible or plausible.

Where can you find positioning/accompanying guidelines actually put to work? You hear it in the words of the people in the organization, up and down the food chain, as they talk to, write for or interact with the various audiences they address. You see it in the way the message is translated into Visual Metaphors, Info Graphics, PowerPoint, Advertising, Editorials, Internal Memos, Websites and other venues for words and support data, info, images and so on.

Success is driven through clear and meaningful articulation in all the threads that reach all the audiences.

Sound hard? It is. Sound impossible? It isn’t. The process is, instead, methodical.

“Content” encapsulates your positioning, reflects your vision and helps you move toward it.

At this point in beginning the long haul to help an organization develop the messages that explain, inspire, support, connect and resonate, I often encounter a client type I like to call the TESTER.

TESTERS don’t want to reveal anything; they dole out tiny pieces of information as slowly as a faucet with an occasional drip and watch us “guess” at what the drips of info mean, guess at product benefits, guess at known barriers to sale, guess at stakeholder internal disagreements on nuances of message, guess at short-term and long-term context.

These are the folks that have the lowest trust quotients and are most dangerous to the organization.

Here’s what I say to the Testers: Understand how good content is actually made.

BUILDING CONTENT TOGETHER.
Resonating, effective content does not come magically from a spigot we turn on in our studio backroom. (Sure, as professional writers, we can write “good copy” that is better—or initially perceived as better—than some of your recent internal efforts, but that’s not the point.)

The process of content development—that is, the process of developing really valuable content—is better described as the buildup of a controlled mash-up of facts and figures, experience and theory, trends, options, realities, memories and nuance. These components come together and then are organized, ordered and re-envisioned, and reinterpreted into a guiding set of repurpose-able elements, pieces and parts.

More Wiki-like, the re-envisioning is the think-tank assessment from the sum of many voices, many facts and many refinements. Just like elementary education, your knowledge and your ability to take in more complex knowledge depends on basic learning, basic understanding of key concepts and processes. It’s no different when you grow up, and yet many people start in the middle of a story and have no idea why blank faces occur.

Building this really valuable repository of layered usable elements and devices for understanding, is not something we do alone. The really rich and resonate solutions come from a valuable collaboration by experts with real information boiled in the same kettle with the market’s annoying and sticky false perceptions and new market unpredictable behaviors. This rich stew comes out cooked and ready to eat as a textured, enriched, ripe and potent set of tasty, satisfying and authentic messages to be repackaged to feed subsets in each of their independent voices. That’s what you want.

No magic wand gets it done. But when a few leaders in your organization engage in a solid, evidence-based process the results can be satisfying. A company like ours can do a lot of the heavy lifting, so it is not so painful or complex to discover and combine the words, thoughts, memory devices and truths that push you and yours forward on a sustainable communications path.

And that’s the tipping point at which the Little Engine That Could reaches just over the top of that impossible hill and starts down on the other side with enough steam to keep on going.
Or, to stay with the metaphor, that’s when the soufflé rises, the crème brûlée crystallizes and the entrée is ready to eat. Soup’s on.

Brandt Ronat + Company (br+c) is a mature consulting/design firm specializing in creating brand and business sector positioning strategies, along with high-quality communications solutions, advertising and collateral systems that sustain. The core strength of br+c can be described by three words: analytical, balanced, creative. Through ANALYTICAL CREATIVE™, a proprietary process, br+c senior strategists bring the big picture on client opportunities into focus.

New business inquiries please contact Ryan Brandt, ryan@brc60.com, or call 321-259-0024.

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