Businesses need to think differently when improving their brands.  This is a key message that Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping, makes on a regular basis. In his book, he states that content creates demand, so businesses should create lots of content.

I have had a chance to hear Davis speak twice about the monumental shift that is changing marketing, including media, publishing, advertising, public relations and social media.

Creating a win-win content-marketing strategy.
At the Inbound 2012 conference, organized by Hubspot, Davis spoke on “Unleashing the Power of Partnerships.”  He gave an example of how the movie Finding Nemo created a huge spike in the sales of clown fish, as well as other fish, tanks and equipment. The movie increased sales so much that the world’s clownfish population was almost decimated.  

This case study serves an example of how good content can indirectly sell products and services, even if that is not the intention of the content. What if our industry came together to film their own movie?  What would the message be? Davis encouraged attendees to think with a mentality that "a rising tide lifts all boats."

He also challenged attendees to think of who owns the audience. Is there an opportunity to create content together or share it with that organization’s followers?

Davis recommends creating strategic alliances when it comes to content marketing. It is at the heart of his definition of brandscaping: "A process that brings like-minded brands and their respective audiences together to create content that increases demand and drives revenue."

What content to create?
Businesses no longer have to depend on journalists or media companies to publish content. To be successful, Davis believes an organization should look at creating relevant, frequently delivered, compelling content that engages, inspires and informs its audience.

At another event, speaking to ESC of New England’s volunteer consultants, Davis said, “The future of all branding is personal.”  He explained there is a real opportunity for organizations to think differently and to leverage personal brands in the new online digital world.

He explained the keys to good social interactions online. People do not want to interact with a brand, they want to interact with a person. The simple fact is that these relationships are more meaningful.

“If you have 100 people in your address book, that is the most valuable list you own,” said Andrew Davis. He said LinkedIn allows one to create a professional brand and recommended reading the book Me 2.0.

Davis showed the Wikipedia definition of social media and highlighted three words: media, content and publishing.  When it comes to the "content" piece, he said, “Make an impact.”  Put content first and focus on these three elements:
•    High quality
•    Frequent
•    Relevant

Regarding which social network to use, Davis said, “You take a content-first approach and then it doesn’t matter where you use it.”  He added, “Valuable content inspires people to take action.”  

His book states that the right content, delivered on the right channel, at the right time, to the right people, can increase demand for whatever you sell. For example, it does not take much to become a digital celebrity—just a smartphone and a YouTube channel.

Overcoming the era of information overload.
Davis advised that content be relevant not just to the audience, but also to the organization. Explaining why relevance is important, Davis said, “Just because there is more information, it doesn’t mean we can consume more.”  

He shared that there are 17 new Web pages published every second. If organizations do not provide content people want to consume, it just becomes more noise.

Davis made the point that the content shared strengthens relationships. “People that love your content can (and will) take action,” said Davis.  However,  organizations that think they are at the center of the universe are going to fail. They need to put the audience in the center and work around them.

Mike Byrnes is a national speaker and owner of Byrnes Consulting, LLC. His firm provides consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. Need help with business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness? Read more at ByrnesConsulting.com and follow @ByrnesConsultin.

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