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Your Store is a Content Channel
Empower your brand through content in context
Content is everywhere. Brands create content. Their customers create content. Brands and customers co-create content together, whether directly through collaborations and other creative models, such as the endless variety of content models Web3 purports to make a reality.
But knowing where you as a content creator—whether a brand or individual—need to be to empower the story you're trying to get across can be a challenge, given the endless platform and channel options out there for creating content.
Inasmuch as you spend time picking out an outfit for the day or designing a retail storefront, choosing your content channel requires developing a strategy to identify what you want to do, why you want to do it, and to whom you want to communicate. As it turns out, content channels are as flexible as you need them to be. It is just a matter of context.
Being Flexible with "Content"
These days, we conflate “content” with “digital content.” But, it’s really much broader, especially for consumer-facing brands like fashion and luxury.
A more flexible definition of content is: Content comprises anywhere a user encounters your brand messaging.
As content strategists, we help brands think through the why, what, how, and when of the content they use to communicate, both internally and externally. We often say we help brands get the right content to the right people at the right time on the right channel.
We talk a lot about the “why” of content strategy but perhaps not enough about the “where.”
The "Where" of Content Touchpoints
Content touchpoints are the “where” of content--the places, moments, and experiences wherein consumers meet, spend time with, and make assumptions about your brand.
Content touchpoints include: websites, marketing and advertising campaigns, social media channels, customer service and chatbots, bricks-and-mortar stores, celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing, gaming and metaverse activations, and on and on.
Yes, your store is a content touchpoint.
Every moment a consumer is in your store is an opportunity to communicate your brand vision through content. From the sign on the door to product packaging inside to marketing materials throughout the store to the very conversations a consumer may have with your staff, brands have a myriad of ways to use content to differentiate your messaging, your products, and your unique value-add to encourage consumers to make a purchase, fall in love with your brand, and hopefully come back.
Understanding the power of content within a specific content touchpoint can help your teams identify core approaches to reach consumers in a more holistic, consistent way everywhere they encounter your brand. This is not to say that you want to create uniform stories across channels. Quite the contrary, it is all about streamlining: identifying the most appropriate messaging for each channel, determining opportunities for integrated storytelling, and building out a strategy and roadmap for planning, managing, distributing, and governing content across touchpoints that meets the needs of your brand, your team, and your target audiences.
The Context of Content
Designing brand-authentic strategies for content is the topic of a much longer post. Suffice to say, choosing the right content for specific channel depends on many factors, from brand vision to campaign topic to target audience. One thing, however, is clear: The “where” of content is all about context.
Understanding the contexts of your content (yes, usually there are multiple contexts even within one content touchpoint) can have profound effects on your brand messaging for any specific campaign or activation. Content touchpoints speak to the wide variations between users on different platforms but also their vastly different expectations and perceptions of your brand in the context of that platform.
Bain & Company predict the value of the luxury goods market will rise by 60 percent by the end of the decade, which means an explosion in demand for luxury content across all content touchpoints.
The model of store-as-content requires a collaborative approach between brand, marketing, and retail operations teams, which may require a certain amount of change management among highly siloed teams.
But the value quotient of quality content cannot be underestimated, particularly given the recent explosion in AI content creation tools. Brands need to make an investment in content strategy to empower their brand messaging in the right contexts across channels if they truly want to stand apart.