Frank and his team created Gameplan A, a content hub that expresses the company’s culture. The content on Gameplan A clearly says, “This is what we are like. Instead of trying to become what an ever-changing audience wants, Frank says, make culture your north star. How does the brand express these convictions, ideas, and values? Added together, your values, ideas, convictions and behaviors form your identity. The brand’s culture, expressed through Gameplan A’s content, acts as a beacon for those who share the brand’s values. When your internal and external messaging share the same culture, you can have a meaningful exchange of ideas with your community: Your audience can actually bring value to your continued cultural evolution. Document the values, ideas, convictions and behaviors that define your identity.
Jean Giraudoux once said, “The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
It’s a funny indictment of how to take exactly the wrong approach to authenticity. But too often, brands and marketers miss the sarcasm. We target an audience, then carefully cultivate an image to appeal to them. We create the appearance of a culture that matches theirs. And then we’re surprised when our target audience sees right through it.
What if we stopped trying to fake sincerity and turned the whole process inside out? Instead of crafting a culture to match an audience, why not attract the audience that matches your culture?
In his presentation at Content Marketing World, adidas’ Frank Thomas shared how the athletic wear company defines their culture and broadcasts it to their potential audience. Frank and his team created Gameplan A, a content hub that expresses the company’s culture.
The twist is that the site is for internal and external messaging–same channels, same content. They’re not crafting an image, they’re broadcasting their identity. The content on Gameplan A clearly says, “This is what we are like. If you’re like us, this is your community, too.” That approach makes it easier for people to connect and form a lasting relationship with the brand.
Here’s how adidas puts culture at the core of their content marketing strategy.
Culture Is Content Marketing’s North Star
According to Frank, the digital world is so complex and volatile that our go-to tools for audience identification are no longer sufficient. Personas, scenarios, observed past behavior–they all change as fast as we can construct them.
Instead of trying to become what an ever-changing audience wants, Frank says, make culture your north star. Define what your brand stands for and you can become a beacon to your most valuable audience.
Frank identified four crucial components of a brand’s culture:
- Values. What ethical notions form the foundation of the brand?
- Ideas. What unique ideas arise from these values?
- Convictions. What beliefs drive the brand’s actions?
- Behaviors. How does the brand express these convictions, ideas, and values?
Added together, your values, ideas, convictions and behaviors form your identity.
Once your identity is established, you can move from…