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The Argument for Luxury Content Governance
FSW examines the quiet but important role of content governance for luxury brand building over time.
How does a luxury brand create content that “feels luxury,” is on brand, is relevant to its target audiences, and meets today’s fast-paced, 24/7 content lifecycle consistently across channels? Oh, and it needs to meet the brand’s editorial guidelines and stand the test of time, including staff turnover and other inevitable organizational changes.
The answer is through content governance. Yet, in luxury, as with many industries, content governance is something that is often overlooked in favor of quick wins and speedy publishing deadlines.
Putting in place a foundational model or plan to document vision, process, guidelines, policies, and oversight structure for content and content management should form a critical element in a brand’s strategy toolkit. Proper content governance helps to elevate a brand’s messaging across channels and ensures the consistency of content vision, guidelines, and processes over time.
Luxury Has a Content Problem
At FSW, we have explored the unique needs of luxury brands when it comes to content and why luxury requires a specific content strategy methodology. Luxury brands need a very special type of approach to content and content strategy that is aligned with their core and unique value: selling customers a magical and emotive experience.
Getting content wrong is costly. According to EConsultancy, bad content costs brands over $50 billion a year.
Quality matters for luxury brand content. It is intuitive that luxury content should have an elevated look and feel and reflect a brand’s unique, rarefied vision and its products and services. Unfortunately, when it comes to content, brand and consumer needs and preferences respectively diverge, especially in the realm of digital experience.
To put it plainly, luxury consumers think luxury brands have a content problem.
According to a recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey, 75 percent of luxury consumers think that brand websites have uninspiring product descriptions and content. Additionally, 65 percent of those surveyed find online inspiration on non-brand-owned channels because they feel that brand websites are flat and uninspiring. These consumers also think that brands are relinquishing their role in inspiration.
Luxury brand websites are by a rule more focused on look and feel than they are user-focused content features and functionality, never mind discoverability and findability. Even luxury brands with an active e-commerce site tend towards the aesthetic than the intuitive when it comes to issues of content and user experience.
While it is true that most businesses today have their own pain points when it comes to content, luxury brands are in a peculiar situation perhaps all their own doing. This is partially due to luxury’s late adoption of digital in the first place. But it is also due to the patently siloed teams that manage content across channels within most brands, a lack of management oversight, and a de-prioritization of content as a critical function, even though it forms a comprehensive part of every brand-consumer touchpoint from a brand’s website to its social channels and bricks-and-mortar stores.
What is Content Governance?
So, what is content governance and how it can help luxury brands find the ideal balance between brand vision and consumer needs for content?
Content governance relates to the top-level, macro-management of a brand’s content across the organization. It is key to ensuring that each piece of content a brand creates is high quality, targeted, and on message.
A content governance plan provides a short- and long-term framework for a brand to manage content at every stage of the content lifecycle. It is a living document designed to evolve and scale with a brand over time.
Content governance does not dictate the actual words or story of a luxury brand’s content. It’s simply an overarching framework or document to house a brand’s content-focused goals, processes, editorial standards and guidelines, and oversight and workflow structures.
Think of a content governance plan as a brand bible for content.
In general, most content governance plans have the same elements:
Vision Statement – Explanation of a brand’s content vision and the governance described within the document
Roles and Responsibilities – A listing of a brand’s key content management roles in relation to the identified brand policies and procedures
Standard Processes – A brand’s basic workflows for publishing and managing content.
Governance Reviews – A description of a brand’s governance review process, usually quarterly and/or annually
Content Policies – Specific rules and guidelines identifying a brand’s content publication processes and the related policies on which decisions should be made, often channel by channel
Future State Evolution – Brand priorities or policies related to future state enhancements and optimizations related to content
How Content Governance Can Help Luxury Brands
For any luxury brand interested in improving content across its digital ecosystem, taking the time to build and implement a content governance model is worth the effort. Governance plans save time and effort and encourage collaboration, transparency, and accountability for content and content management within any organization. For a luxury brand, a content governance plan can help manage and oversee content vision, goals, and processes, which is key to both maintaining high-quality standards for content across channels and evolving brand messaging and content approaches over time as staff and technology change.
As a final note, it is important to comment that, for any digital transformation initiative focused on content, a content governance model should be the last, rather than the first, step. Any new content strategy project always should begin with an initial audit to assess the current state of omni-channel brand content, deepen into analyses and prioritization of content goals and benchmarking of future state features and functionality, then move into the design phase for whatever new enhancements or optimizations need to happen. It’s at this design or pre-implementation phase that discussions of content governance should begin, ideally to guide documenting content management roles and responsibilities, processes, rules, and workflows for creation, management, and oversight.
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