This post was originally published on Michael Brito’s blog Britopian.

We all know Red Bull, whether you drink it or not. For the last several years Red Bull has been changing the way they communicate with customers. It’s been fun to watch the shift from a very focused brand content marketing strategy to one that is now telling more meaningful and relevant stories that are less about “brand positioning” and more about their customer’s passion points. They have been successful at telling these stories and integrating their products in a way that doesn’t seem intrusive or inauthentic. I don’t even drink Red Bull but subscribe to several pieces of their content. It’s that good. A quick glance at their home page looks very similar to CNN. So in Red Bull’s case, they have already made the transition.

Another very well known brand making this transition is Coca Cola. Earlier this week they launched a new site, The Coca Cola Journey. It’s not their corporate site but I think it should be. It’s dynamic, engaging, interesting and much more human than the corporate site. For one, they have third party contributors and employees writing about a wide variety of topics. I can only assume that this content did not have to go through some type of “brand messaging” approval which makes it so much more real. They have aligned their content around topics like innovation, sports, business, health; and also have specific pages for videos and blog content. They certainly don’t forget about the brand. Despite the red & white colors, they have an exclusive portion on their site that highlights each one of the sub brands and they integrate social conversations specific to each one. It’s very well done.

Why is this important and why am I talking about it?

As I mentioned in my last post, all brands (especially B2B) must start thinking, acting and operating like media companies.  Unfortunately, it’s not like we can turn on the “media company” button and change operations overnight. It requires a change in attitude, behavior, thinking coupled with processes and governance models; as well as technology that can facilitate the transformation – all elements that make up a social business strategy.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Establish a centralized team: You can call it a Center of Excellence, Editorial team or whatever. They will be responsible for everything below.
  • Define the content strategy: Decide what you will align brand messaging with (passion points, community/media perception, search behavior), which channels make sense to build community, curation strategy, who will feed the content engine (employees, customers), timing and frequency of posting, content measurement, etc.
  • Assign Roles & Responsibilities: Remember, think like a media company when doing this (i.e. contributors, editors). Who will be responsible for creating content, approving content, publishing content; and more importantly, who will be the community manager that will be engaging once the content is published?
  • Build a Command Center: Yes, like the ones you see in movies like the Bourne Legacy but this data will include “branded”, “unbranded” and “industry related” terms.  You will not only use the command center for crisis and customer support, but also to gain insight into “what’s happening now” in the industry you work in. It’ll help drive relevant and real-time content creation opportunities.
  • Process & Workflows:  This will help define the who, what, when and where when it comes to content creation, approvals, publishing and real-time optimization.
  • Technology Selection: there are tools like KapostCompendiumDivvy HQSpredfastSprinklr and Hootsuite Enterprise* are worthy technology solutions to look into.

Sounds easy, I know. The challenging part of this whole process is behavior change. To make this transition successful, traditional brand marketers (and organizational leaders) must buy into the vision, support it, sometime drive it and certainly live it.

*Hootsuite is an Edelman client.

Photo Credit: NS Newsflash

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