The importance of brand strategy to a content creator

I’ve reached the first of what I hope to be many milestones in my career. For 5 years I worked in digital and social media at agencies, holding a variety of different functions for a variety of different accounts – ranging from top tier Fortune 500 companies to your local ant farm landscapers. Now, I’ve gathered up my digital baggage to embark on a path down brand strategy. And, not unlike a lost, thirsty hiker who hobbles up the mountainside to gain perspective (see photo above of me at demonstrative summit) only to see a well-paved, busy road that ran perfectly parallel with the rough path they themselves took, I want to slap my forehead with an emphatic “if only I’d known the way!” fist-shaking at the universe.

Why, in my 5 year path to a management position in digital and social, did I never learn nor was I exposed to the guiding principles of brand? It seems, in general, that the industry allows for little crossover between brand strategy and content strategy both from an organizational and training perspective, which benefits neither team.

While yes, slightly less a matter of life and death than my metaphor suggests, learning the basic tenants of brand strategy (essentially, a company’s story in relationship to their business) would have provided the way-finding tools necessary to create thoughtful, strategic campaigns and content against a set of established criteria that would ensure the campaign/content was right for the millions of people they were pushed to.

What follows are the main reasons every agency or company needs to get their social/digital teams some basic training in brand (and most crucially, background on the brand(s) they work on)… STAT:


“We” (and I refer to my former, fresh-faced content creator self and collective peers) are often inexperienced, ambitious and want to be current. We get excited by memes and whatever else might be circling the internet. It might not be appropriate for to ask their Instagram followers what they think of your clever “Ermahgerd, mah fravrit flers” rendition. Instead of one social media coordinator turning to the other and going… so Emilio, do you think this will fly?, they could instead have the basic principles of that brand to remove subjectivity from the equation.

Inspiration & focus.

I’ve had too many brainstorming sessions that begin with awkward, finger-tapping, silence. Maybe there was a quick rundown of demo and KPIs, but then it just becomes a bunch of adults throwing spaghetti at the walls to see what sticks. Discussing the basic tenets of the brand at the onset of that meeting would provide the map for which territories should and should not be explored, giving focus and truly saving dollars throughout the creative process.

Consistency & scale.

Community managers and content creators will infuse personality into content, because that’s how content succeeds on the internet. Time and again, I’ve worked with brilliant content creators who are left to their own devices to build a brand’s voice on social media. Soon enough, that brand’s voice has morphed into Brittany G.’s voice, and when Brittany G. leaves (as all great content creators with upward ambitions eventually do), there’s a void left that no one else can fill. Stop trying to be Brittany, you’ll never be Brittany. And if a company hasn’t determined what their personality is – based on the core tenets of their brand – and if that hasn’t been documented and drilled into your content creators, Brittany’s voice will become the brand voice.

It also facilitates rewarding work. While “brand” might seem like it’s the sort of stuff reserved for the executive team, it’s what keeps the left foot stepping in tandem with the right. It allows for all teams to stretch the boundaries and take risks in a calculated manner, to have personality and a great online presence that functions to reinforce – rather than obscure – your brand. As a content creator, if you believe that everything you build and every interaction you have is reinforcing your clients’ brand as it exists at the highest level possible, you will be inspired, gratified, and motivated to work toward a greater purpose.



Samantha Temple Neukom | Co-Founder, Chief Brand Officer

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