Keeping culture real in times of crisis.

talent-culture-july20

As we navigate this our brave new reality (don’t say the C-word…) and in the moments between writing new policies for working from home, flexible hours, remote offices and health and safety in your “home office”, our Talent team has been reflecting on the last few months.

Keen to extract some learnings and not to dwell on the economic stresses and regurgitations that everyone is saying, the actual team – a collective of good, honest, real people - are weathering the storm. We have flexed, adapted, dug in and hustled to survive and possibly even thrive. This is the unwritten headline that we don’t get to read and for ourselves, our clients and hopefully our peers it needs celebrating before the storm passes.

How did we become so resilient? Where did this power to reorganise come from? How were we able to flex so quickly and adapt and evolve so completely?

For us at Sagittarius our culture was well embedded – that’s something we already knew. Our teams have long been committed and diligent. At the start, HR was acting as the cement whilst specialists raced to lock in their position. But that has changed now. Line managers are checking in with teams more regularly, employees are genuinely looking out for each other and raising concerns if colleagues are struggling. People stepping up and changing their roles to suit the needs of the business and teams.

My favourite example of this is our own Talent Acquisition Manager. As a talent specialist, he practically developed a rash if traditional ‘HR’ responsibilities were mentioned as part of his daily activities. However, the demands of an unprecedented situation have rapidly evolved him into an intuitive and selective HR ambassador. He not only waves the flag of our employee feedback weekly survey but positively coordinates the tactical offensive to ensure we are hearing the true voice of our agency, our people. Supporting a leadership team that are mixing things up to keep people engaged, interested and willing to go beyond.

Understanding how people feel in real-time and with transparency is powerful. How this can shift day to day as emotions are impacted by global news and the pressures of life locked down. For us, we chose a dedicated employee feedback platform (Employee Voice 24/7 from The Happiness index) not just for corporate feedback but also so people could vent. Really express themselves and their challenges in total anonymity.

Its a fascinating and liberating experience, both taking part and hearing our people’s voice. We asked for honest feedback, and wow do we get it. From complaints about too-tight shorts on zoom calls to homeschooling chaos and the weather’s effect on mood – but we are also learning what our people truly love and what they admire about their colleagues and agency as a whole.

Listening to ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ allows us to make rapid changes, large and small. From supplying quality office chairs and desks for people at home to pivoting our virtual social events programme overnight, I believe demonstrates our commitment to supporting them and showing how much we value their wellbeing.

Like most businesses we’ve had to make some tough decisions, and some have suffered more than others. – Redundancies, furloughing and pay cuts all became a reality, but we have implemented swift change whilst learning the true meaning of “in it together”.

When you hold others in high esteem not only do you want to learn from them, to do as they do, but most importantly feel inspired by them to forge onwards. If you’re lucky they may value you in return.

Mutual respect creates value and people act accordingly – with admiration and determination. This, I believe is the most powerful force in our favour. The esteem and willingness to all pull together. The mutual respect and admiration we have for each other – across the global locations, up and down the teams continue to be truly impressive and it feels like a lesson for everyone, everywhere.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Claire Battle Thumbnail
Claire Battle
Head of Talent
Claire is the agency's Head of Talent and is responsible for employee recruitment. Claire has a long history of working in recruitment and IT and enjoys working in a dynamic agency environment!
Claire Battle Thumbnail

Claire Battle

20 Jul 2020 - 5 minute read
share this

stay in the know, stay ahead.

Get the latest from the agency, including news, events and expert content.
explore services in the article
find out what we can do for you
read some of our case studies