“Over the years, we launched and learned from a few different branded content platforms. And we knew that content would be really important in building awareness of who we are, the brands that make us Dell Technologies, and all the capabilities we bring to the table as a combined company.” The content marketing initiative that Muck and her team launched to meet those goals was the Dell Technologies Perspectives content hub and “Trailblazers” podcast. Dell Technologies was named one of the NewsCred Top 50: Best Content Marketing Brands of 2018, and Perspectives is a Digiday finalist for Best Branded Content Site. “That was in the spirit of meeting our customers where they already were and getting content out there that builds credibility as a thought leader in the digital transformation space,” says Muck. “We publish stories on topics important to our target audience on the technology behind digital transformation, like AI, robotics, and VR, but also leadership topics they’re grappling with, like dealing with change management, encouraging a diverse workforce, and cultivating innovation.” Aligning Content Marketing across Brands Most of the Perspectives content sits at the upper stage of the funnel, at what Muck calls the “explore level.” But as the content program matures, the brand publishing team is looking to better connect it to the rest of the customer journey. It’s no easy task, given that each of Dell Technologies’ seven brands has its own content marketing team. “It’s great, in terms of the capabilities we have as a technology company and in being able to solve digital transformation challenges,” says Muck. Now, we’re making in-roads of getting these cross-promotions and cross-pollination into the planning process.” Though most of the content Dell Technologies produces is lightly-branded, Muck and her team look for opportunities to feature Dell Technologies leaders in Perspectives stories, like Dell EMC’s CTO or Dell’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. In addition, they measure search rankings, social impressions, and click-through rates. That shift is going to be transformative for content marketing, when brands are putting out content that’s so customer-centric that your audience doesn’t care that it comes from a brand.” Muck’s focus in 2018 is building the Perspectives and “Trailblazers” audiences and transforming them into communities.
Suppose you’re one of the world’s largest, most recognizable technology businesses – and you’re emerging as a new, innovative company with exponentially more capabilities.
How do you reintroduce yourself to loyal customers and build affinity with your target audience?
That’s the challenge Dell faced in September 2016.
At the time, the storied technology company had merged with EMC, creating a family of brands that includes VMware, Secureworks, Virtustream, Pivotal, and RSA. The result was the world’s largest, privately-controlled technology company, worth $74 billion, christened Dell Technologies. Despite carrying the Dell name, the company needed to redefine its new brand as a leader in digital transformation, rather than a heavyweight in the hardware space.
From the beginning, there was no question that content marketing would be a major component of that strategy. After all, “this wasn’t our first rodeo,” says Anna-Lee Muck, Editor-in-Chief, DellTechnologies.com/Perspectives. “Over the years, we launched and learned from a few different branded content platforms. And we knew that content would be really important in building awareness of who we are, the brands that make us Dell Technologies, and all the capabilities we bring to the table as a combined company.”
The content marketing initiative that Muck and her team launched to meet those goals was the Dell Technologies Perspectives content hub and “Trailblazers” podcast. It’s first-rate content, and it’s landed Dell Technologies numerous accolades. Dell Technologies was named one of the NewsCred Top 50: Best Content Marketing Brands of 2018, and Perspectives is a Digiday finalist for Best Branded Content Site. In addition, “Trailblazers” is a Webby nominee and a Digiday Content Marketing Award finalist for Best Branded Podcast.
A longtime Dell employee, Muck has been with the company for more than 14 years in a number of marketing, communications, and messaging roles for product and vertical lines, plus brand teams. “Thought leadership, storytelling, and writing were parts of each of those roles,” she says. “This [Editor-in-Chief position] is, by far, my favorite role.”
Here, Muck shares more about how Dell Technologies has been using creative storytelling to meet its larger, corporate goals over the past year and a half.
Anna-Lee Muck, Editor-in-Chief, DellTechnologies.com/Perspectives
Confirming the Power of Storytelling
Though one would assume that storytelling is a universal means to capture people’s attention, Muck and her team ensured that was true for the audience they were targeting: C-suite executives, ranging from CEOs and CMOs, to CIOs and Chief Digital Officers. Muck’s team conducted in-depth research to glean insights on how business executives were feeling about digital transformation and how they consumed that information.
“One of the most reassuring findings was that this audience responds to assertive narratives over any other content format,” says Muck. “At this point in the conversation, stories are the way to break through. Content marketing and telling stories at this high level, this brand level, are key from the beginning.”
Meeting Audiences Where They Are with the Content They Want
When launching Dell Technologies Perspectives, Muck and her team knew they needed to meet audiences where they were, in terms of their current stages of digital transformation, but also literally, wherever they were in the world, in transit and traveling.
“That’s where the idea for a podcast came up,” says Muck….