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How to Set Content & Design Teams Up For CX Success

Content is crucial to a brand’s success because it communicates what a brand is all about.


Design is equally as crucial to a brand’s success because it helps customers retain those very messages that took so much effort to thoughtfully craft.


The ways in which content and design teams collaborate can often vary from company to company; some organizations umbrella all content and design employees into one big creative team who collaborate on projects regularly, while other digital companies break them up and pair them together on a project-by-project basis.


When working in silos, both components individually contribute to the way consumers feel and think about a brand, but when performed synergistically, they deliver seamless experiences that support the same objectives, speak to the same audiences, and project consistent characteristics. The end result? Increased customer sentiment, satisfaction, and likeliness to return.


Whether you’re building a website from scratch, developing an omnichannel marketing strategy or executing a complete company rebrand, there are a couple things that must happen in order to set content and design teams up for collaborative success.

Start with research

When planning a strategy for a digital CX transformation, research is key. There are two areas of research that design and content teams should prioritize: their audiences and their competitors.

Audiences

Both teams need a common understanding of who their audiences or core customer groups are, but they can’t just know the who – when crafting CX, it’s crucial to understand the why. These are the basic demographic questions that brands typically answer to identify their “who”:


  • What does your target audience look like?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What is their annual income?
  • What is their relationship status?
  • What generation do they belong to?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What problems do they have?
  • What questions do they often ask themselves?

However, by answering psychographic questions – or the “why” – brands can craft more meaningful experiences curated for specific core consumer groups:


  • What deeper motivations or beliefs drive their decision-making?
  • What is causing them to seek out solutions now?
  • How do they assign value to the things they deem important?
  • Why do they value what they do?
  • What are their interests? (This is different than their hobbies) What are their opinions on ___________? (Fill in the blank as it pertains to your product or services)

By answering psychographic questions – or the “why” – brands can craft more meaningful experiences curated for specific core consumer groups.

Competitors

When looking at competitors, teams should choose 3-5 of their top competitors and take a deep dive into their CX strategy. How do they speak to their audience? What do they highlight as their defining features? Which social platforms are they utilizing? What types of content (video, infographics, blog post, etc.) do they have? What are their colors? What is the look and feel of their photography and design? What is the voice and tone?


The most important component of competitive research may be looking at competitors as a collective to discover opportunities to stand above the crowd. Gaps in the market allow brands to be unique and develop key differentiators and characteristics in design and content strategies.

Write the story

Every brand has a story, but it has to be written down and widely shared (and repeated) for cross-company alignment to manifest.


When developing a brand story, it’s important for companies to define their objectives: What should potential customers understand? What are the key takeaways? What are the shared values that drive them forward? Creating a shared understanding of the story lends way to crafting a mission statement and list of core beliefs that employees and customers can rally around.


On top of that, decisions must be made about the brand’s verbal personality and attitude – namely, voice and tone. Brand voice reflects how language is used to convey purpose and intention. It’s defined by a brand’s style of communication and can vary based on persona and values and can range from intellectual or authoritative to fun, witty or anything in between. Conversely, tone can change depending on what channel is being used or who is being addressed – however, a framework of how and when different tones are used should be established for consistency.


A brand story should be simple, clear, and straightforward, so much so that any stakeholder – internally or externally – could sum it up in one sentence. Of course, that’s not always easy. In fact, it often takes months of writing, rewriting, debating, discussing and exploring a variety of approaches and perspectives before a brand’s message becomes clear. When that’s complete, though, design and content are armed with a singular ethos that can inform the implicit and explicit messages their creations deliver.


  • An effective story should:
  • Communicate what a brand does
  • Make customers – both internally and externally – care
  • Explain the problem the brand is trying to solve for
  • Foster trust & loyalty with everyone it touches

Here are some brand statements from top companies that do just that:


  • Apple is dedicated “to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.”
  • Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman believes, “if you have a body, you are an athlete.” And Nike, “stresses to show each and every person how to reach the athlete within themselves.”
  • Airbnb is creating “a world where anyone can belong anywhere.”
  • Coca-Cola strives to, “craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit.”
  • Southwest strives to, “connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”

Then visualize that story

It’s not just words that drive initial interest. emotional attachments or an overall experience with a brand. In fact, sometimes, design can play an even bigger role in that, especially when viewed through a lateral or psychological lens.


Voice and tone, as mentioned previously, set the stage. It gives a designer purpose to create, illustrate, and plan around. But taking that voice and tone to the next level with a visual archetype that aligns with things people have seen before, creates connection and relevancy, or elicits an emotional response can enable a brand to be understood without ever having to read anything.


A great example is Pinkberry. When defining the brand story, they chose a sweeter, more feminine look. Their visual design, whether on social media or in their yogurt shops, reflect a consistent aesthetic and mood. By using cursive typefaces, pastelle and airy colors, and curved illustrations, customers – old or new – immediately associate the brand with playful, approachable, youthful and delightful attributes.

 

Photo of Pinkberry's website

Professional designers know the importance of considering psychology and neuroscience when matching visual designs to the written brand story. Some things they take into consideration are:

Color:

  • Red: Communicates energy and urgency; Red is often used to communicate boldness, youthfulness and excitement
  • Orange: Sometimes perceived as aggressive, orange creates a call-to-action; it can elicit feelings of confidence, cheerfulness or friendliness
  • Yellow: An attention-grabber, yellow typically elicits feelings of optimism, clarity, and warmth
  • Green: The easiest color for the eye to process, green is often used in fields related to science, government and HR. It can cultivate feelings of peace, growth and health.
  • Blue: Often associated with feelings of trust and security, blue is seen as clean, calming, and professional, as well as dependent and strong.
  • Purple: Regularly used in the beauty industry, purple is associated with being wise, creative and imaginative.
  • Gray: The most practical and timeless of the colors, gray is used to communicate balance, neutrality, reliability and a level of calmness.
  • Black: Often used by luxury brands, black is seen as powerful and sleek. It can contribute to feelings of credibility, power, professionalism, and precision.

Shape:

  • Circular: Elicits feelings of community, friendship, love, partnership, unity, stability and innovation. Example of brands with a circular logo include Google Chrome, Starbucks, and Audi
  • Angular: Elicits feelings of professionalism, stability, and efficiency, as well as power, strength, balance, and reliability. Examples of brands include Mitsubishi Motors, Microsoft, and AirTable
  • Linear: Elicits feelings of exuberance, balance, sophistication, energy, and dynamic movement. Examples include AirBnB, Adidas, and Cisco

Whatever colors and shapes are used, the end result should visually represent the brand’s values, voice and tone.

Make the creative game plan

One question brands often ask is: Does the design framework come first? Or should content be strategized and written to drive design?


The answer: There is no answer. In fact, figuring that out is part of the creative process.


Some designers prefer to have content before they create a mockup. Some content creators prefer to know what space they need to fill before they begin writing. There is no right or wrong answer to your team’s plan as long as it is clearly defined, timelines are established, outlines are created and good project management is executed.


Teams who stick to the schedule and hold one another accountable benefit from more effective communication that helps bring the brand vision to life.

 

Professional designers know the importance of considering psychology and neuroscience when matching visual designs to the written brand story.

Evaluate your work & iterate regularly

As content and design work together, flexibility is key. A good CX strategy should be consistently evaluated, refined, evolved and transformed to meet ever-changing audience needs and compete with advancements in the industry.

 

Delegating tasks can help brands stay on top of potential and necessary updates: Direct content teams to share new trending keywords that can relate to a brand’s business or audiences and designers to report on new industry trends and evolving capabilities.

 

Ideally, all assets and content creation strategies should be evaluated at least once every six months.

The bottom line

Content and design can create powerful and consistent customer experiences when they work synergistically and are aligned on desired messaging. By bringing a number of creative brains with a variety of backgrounds and experiences to the table, you’ll be able to rethink what’s possible and create something that not only drives initial brand differentiation, but a process for continued improvement and growth that exceeds customers expectations and delivers exceptional value at every step of the journey.

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Social Media Mission Statements: What Are They & How Do They Help Your Social Strategy?

Year over year we see just how important social media is. It’s where companies can find their ideal clients and customers organically learning, connecting, supporting, and sharing. That’s why brands not only need it, they need to excel at it. But most business persons working tirelessly to improve customer acquisition, engagement, and loyalty have one common question: How?!

 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there is a singular pitfall that many organizations run into: They don’t spend enough time – or any time – crafting a social media mission statement that speaks to the core of what they want to achieve.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there is a singular pitfall that many organizations run into.

What Is a Social Media Mission Statement?

Simply put, a social media mission statement is a formal declaration that summarizes your reasons, goals, and hopeful outcomes for having a social media presence. It’s a small but mighty sentence (or series of sentences) that serves to inform all your content decisions and activities, including what platforms you pour your sweat, tears, and soul time and effort into. It’s an activity that should be completed in the middle of creating your social media plan.

Where Should You Start?

Before you can develop a social media mission statement – from which you will develop your overall social media strategy – you need to figure out who you want to reach. To do that, start by answering the following questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What social channels is your target audience most active on and why?
  • What other channels do they follow?
  • How do they typically engage?>
  • What are they talking about amongst their peers and how do they speak? (You want to speak the same language as them!)
  • What resources are most helpful to them?
  • What problems or questions can your company help resolve?
  • What qualities do they look for in companies that they support?

One mistake that brands often make is thinking they must have a presence on every social platform that exists.

Then, you need to define how you plan to reach, relate, and speak to them. The more detailed, the better:

  • What is your voice and tone? (Note: This can vary from platform to platform as they all serve different purposes and audiences)
  • How should your content – written and visual – make your audience feel?

One mistake that brands often make is thinking they must have a presence on every social platform that exists. While that may be nice to have and something you can eventually build up to, it’s certainly not essential to start. In fact, it can be detrimental to your overall reach and impact. By determining your brand’s audience, social identity, and goals, you can narrow down the channels that will work best and ensure energy (and money) isn’t wasted developing the ones that won’t.

How to Write Your Social Media Statement

Your social mission statement should define two things: What a social presence will do for your business and what your channel will do for your audience.

 

First, what you want your audience to do on your social page. Do you want them to like and share? Comment? Buy something? Visit your blog? As with any marketing efforts, you can’t be all things to all people. The more specific you can make your answers to these questions, the more effective you’ll be.

 

Second, determine how you’ll deliver value to not just your current followers, but potential new ones. What type of content will you post? What main topics, categories or messages will your brand support? How will your strategy contribute to the overall customer experience your company wants to design? Most importantly, how does heart inform everything you do? Don’t just make social media about you. Create your overall strategy and mission with the true intention to serve humans first, and increase business needs second.

People are savvier than ever these days – they can sense dishonesty and ulterior motives. You have to say what you mean and mean what you say. To be successful, ensure everything you share and create comes from a thoughtful, authentic, and transparent place with a pure intention to help connect and serve.

 

Now you’re ready to give your social media mission statements a shot! When you feel confident in your answers for the previously listed questions, you can begin to articulate your mission for each individual channel. Here’s a model you can follow:

 

We’re on [social channel] to [summary of activity & purpose], which in turn will [how it will support your company’s goals].

 

It might read like this: 

 

“We’re on Instagram to help companies – big and small – evaluate their customer experiences, which in turn will empower them to make data- and design-driven decisions with humans at their core.”

People are savvier than ever these days – they can sense dishonesty and ulterior motives. You have to say what you mean and mean what you say.

How to Gauge Effectiveness & Performance

Your social media mission statement is not the endpoint of your social strategy, in fact, it’s far from it. It simply should provide a starting point that helps drive what and how to strategically, yet authentically, share content and build community.

 

To be sure you execute against your mission and work toward your business goals, build a comprehensive social strategy that aligns with and serves your new social media mission statement. Surf other successful channels to see what they’re posting and find ways to put your own spin on content that’s performing well. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to give it a fresh coat of paint that’s unique to your brand.

 

Once strategic social posting is well under way, evaluate performance by measuring growth against previously-established key performance indicators (KPIs). There are countless social metrics to gauge your month-over-month social success. It’s crucial to decide which ones are most important to you. Do you want to increase your follower count? Post impressions? Referral web traffic? Share of voice? Clicks, likes, shares, comments, lead conversions… the metrics go on and on. The KPIs you decide are most important should directly contribute in some way to getting closer to your company’s bottom line.

Most importantly, be creative and have fun! Create content that you find inspiring, helpful and motivating.

Keep a running record of your progress and dive deep into what’s working and what’s not. Just like societal trends and expectations seem to change and evolve overnight, so do social media best practices and user behavior. Be prepared to make adjustments to your social content strategy frequently while staying committed to and aligned with your human-centric mission.

 

And most importantly, be creative and have fun! Create content that you find inspiring, helpful and motivating. If you don’t enjoy the posts you’re sharing, it’s likely no one else will either.

 

Need help identifying your ideal audience, creating customer personas, increasing your social media reach or refining your brand identity and voice? Contact us now. We’d love to help!