Published in 2005, Seth Godin released his book All marketers
are liars, tell stories, which explains how marketers are in fact storytellers and that the profitable stories for companies are the ones in which consumers choose to believe and adopt. Fundamental to a good story is the organisation’s commitment to and consistent delivery of this story, (or subset of stories) to consumers.
For example, there are many BMWs being driven by people who truly believe the narrative that they own the ‘ultimate driving machine’. Similarly many creative minds have chosen to buy Apple devices, which they believe is the key tool to help them ‘think differently’. Whether this is true or not isn’t really the point. The point is that the customer has chosen to believe these stories and made a purchase decision based on this view.
If Godin were to release a follow up to this book today, one would suggest the title: All managers tell stories. Why? Because while it once might have been only a marketing department or advertising agency that would create and deliver customer narratives, today customer content is being produced by all corners of an organisation.
If you let just anyone tell a story on behalf of your brand, the chances are that they might just get it wrong and fragmenting your story is likely to impact your customer experience and revenue.
If we accept the importance and influence of a story for each brand, we must also recognise how important content production is as a driver of these narratives today. Therefore the key to ensuring that a brand conserves its story lies with its content governance structures.
This is where things can become political…as for many departments its own objectives may be in conflict with the requirements of maintaining its brand’s story. It’s impossible to think that the average manager would even think twice when it came to deciding between achieving its goals or preserving a ‘marketing story’.
So in order for content governance to work effectively, the buy-in needs to start right at the top of an organisation and filter its way down. This is simply because the organisation’s goal should be to preserve its story. After all, Godin explains that a good story that satisfies customers is the source of a company’s growth and profit.
So if you find that your customer content is becoming disjointed and that many stakeholders across your organisation are producing content without checks and guidelines, the chances are it’s actually hurting your brand where it counts.