The latest buzz Content and Content Marketing?

Content and content marketing was the focus of Amelia Torode’s DM to me on twitter this morning asking –

“Had quick question, I am writing a feature on “content” – when you use the word (if you do) what exactly do you mean by that? Hope all good!”


I’ve been thinking a lot about the latest trend of content marketing because it has been so important as a driver of quality traffic for ALLOW.

I define content as anything that I can create or co-create that engages with an audience. I exclude our product features per se although talking about our product features and content associated with them is part of our content marketing strategy. We use content frequently to educate our audience and exemplify the need for our product, we also use it to explore issues with the community of interest that we have gathered around ALLOW.

The results have been outstanding. Content led visitors to the site spend over 5 minute which is 300% better than PPC or display. They are more likely to convert. The best audience conversion comes through social media backed up by organic SEO. We have tried many different types of content and all work well, with video being a particularly strong performer but even the standard blog post (image + text) is effective.

We seek to share our opinion, progress, news and education through our content and we keep sales messaging to a real minimum if at all.

Content and content marketing works in my opinion because it is a gift from your brand to your audience. It shows you want to engage, share and give back. It’s part of a strategy moving from mass communications to mass interactions which I talk about in my trust building book – Why Should Anyone Buy From You?

Got a comment? What is your content strategy?

CopyBlogger as always is ahead of the game for content marketing – it’s a great guide.

Thanks to Amelia for prompting this post.



There has been lots of good (and lots of rubbish) written about the (in)famous net promoter recommendation question – “would you recommend us?” Fred Reichheld made the question famous in his book called it the Ultimate Question (click to see the book on Amazon).

Yesterday I met up with Kate Cox from Media Contacts to discuss their up-and-coming conference on Meaningful Brands which I am delighted to be speaking at in February. The research they have done is to ask people “meaningful-ness” questions about the brands they use.

One of these questions is, I think, particularly brilliant which is:

Would you miss the brand if it disappeared?

This question has a real power at getting to a deeper connection.

Would I really miss Ariel or Persil? Not so sure.
Would I miss Pampers? Perhaps.
Would I miss the Guardian or Apple? Yes I think I would

In our hyper-competitive world every product is replaceable. Innovation doesn’t stay unique for long. I can get a great smartphone or washing powder from many brands. They all work broadly the same.

But would I miss the drive and inventiveness of having the Apple brand in the world? Yes I think I would. Would I miss John Lewis and what it stands for both from a retail perspective and it’s unusual co-operative structure? Again I’d certainly miss it alot more than if Debenhams went bust. Would I miss the Guardian’s drive for the truth and their inventive use of new media models? Yes because I think our society would be worse off without them in it.

We miss Cadbury in a post-Kraft merger world because an outstanding British business of over 100 years got consumed by a faceless US corporation. It was taken away and people miss it. The products are still in our lives but they are somehow less authentic and meaningful than they were before.

Going Beyond the Benefit

The brands that stand the “would you miss it” test have gone beyond the benefit. They have started to create connections that are more than just what they deliver. Whether that is by virtue of their vision, the way they do business, their pursuit of something difficult or their history these businesses mean more to us than just their product.

Would anyone care if your brand or business disappeared tomorrow?



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As rare as a diamond is finding a mission statement that reflects the real purpose of a business.

It is rare to come across a corporate mission statement that mentions making money.  But businesses have a responsibility to maximize return for their shareholders so why is it shied away from? Because most businesses have lost the honesty and bravery needed to present the value equation to customers transparently: we make a fair return when you get a good service. And that’s because many businesses don’t make a “fair” return but they “game” the consumer and make extraordinary, unjustifiable returns and in many cases they don’t deliver a “good” service but a poor one.

Even more unusual is a mission statement that actually inspires. Most corporate mission statements are complete and utter rubbish, full of stereo-typical and generic promises that mean little to anyone.  They rarely tell you what the businesses does or what it cares about but rather reflect what the corporation thinks we want to hear.

Perhaps it is time to sit back and think up powerful mission statements that represent the truth about making money for delivering new, exciting and good products and services to our customers. Then we can ask  ourselves whether this truth inspires us to get up in the morning and go to work.

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW


My wife needed to buy a present for a christening a couple of weeks ago.

She wanted good quality and reliability and thought of a shop called Halfhide in Wimbledon which her mother used to visit.

She walked in and an assistant politely asked her if she could help and began to help her choose. It was up to this point a good, generic retail experience.

Then the owner walked in. He looked at my wife and said, “Now don’t I know you?”

“Don’t you have two sisters?

That’s right, you went to Wimbledon High School,

didn’t you marry a guy from Wimbledon College?

and haven’t you got children now?

And Judy – she has moved to Australia right?

Now when was the last time I saw you?”

My wife replied, “….about 20 years ago.”

“Well give my best to your mother and family, now how can we help you?”

This feat of mental CRM was so impressive my wife has told many people. This small business owners interest in and care for his customers has delivered loyalty through generations of families.

Now why can’t big businesses replicate this experience? Because they are big, aren’t interested and don’t care. They throw money at the problem and spend millions on complex CRM systems but it’s not just the knowledge that matters, it’s the attitude that goes with it.

The CRM relational database might be easier to manage, develop and measure, but it’s the relationship quality that makes the difference. Where is the balance of effort and expense in your business – on the system or the people?

If you have a great or poor customer services story please leave a comment below.



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Gone are the days when brands were just guarantees of product quality assuring the consumer of safety and efficacy.  Nowadays, given almost universally high product quality and often strong regulation to underwrite it, brands take on myriad other roles in consumers’ minds:

  1. Brand is a store of trust –summarizing a range of qualities and experiences that have been promised and delivered (or not) over the years.
  2. “Grease” for the transaction – brands and the trust in them reduce transaction costs between buyers and sellers – they make life easier. In our information rich world we are overloaded and brands certainly are a useful shorthand for the qualities we are looking to find.
  3. As a guarantee of consistent values – the best brands and the organizations behind them are always consistent. Through consistency the right expectations can be set with credibility and followed up by delivery. Consistency also allows the brand to become a tool that can engage, be shared and command loyalty from its consumers.

Trust has a central role that runs through all the other characteristics of a brand. Without it, brands have to try much, much harder, which means spending more and more to convince the consumer of their credibility rather than making promises that you can ultimately deliver.

How does your brand and business rate as a store and creator of trust?

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW


According to Dr.Aric Sigman in Remotely Controlled (2005), more than half of all three-year-olds in America have a T.V. in their rooms, rising to two-thirds by age six, with the average hours watched daily as high as five. From ADHD to our changing values, television has had a significant effect on all our lives, and marketing has paid for it. What responsibility does that place on us as marketers?

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW


The values that advertising and marketing portray have changed the way we think and feel about ourselves, our lives and what we consider important. As marketers we play with, and try our best to change, what is trusted and distrusted in order to persuade the consumer to buy from us.

The trouble is that our consumer, with greater access to information than ever before, is starting to see behind the messages, and often they don’t like what they see. They are becoming more empowered, more demanding and raising the bar. As they peer behind the messages into the companies generating them they are rapidly concluding that they can’t trust businesses, their brands, their advertising and above all their motivations.

The Result: either costs will increase as we have to try harder to persuade and reduce prices as everything commoditises and all markets become zero loyalty as consumers assume that all businesses and brands are as bad as each other.

The Challenge: to move our businesses and the brands that represent them towards a more sustainable, better model. To challenge ourselves as marketers to take on the responsibility not just for driving sales but commit ourselves and our brands to building positive social capital and through this finally regain trust.

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW


Horatio Nelson – like any great leader – didn’t command trust by accident or his position; he worked at earning it. Do you have a strategy that creates trust?

Unwavering commitment to his country was what marked Nelson out as one of the greatest, most inspiring leaders of our times. He was fighting for a higher power over and above any personal gain and taking risks to deliver, these behaviours compelled people to trust Nelson in the most difficult of situations. And whilst the business landscape today is an altogether different battlefield, brands and businesses need a framework of beliefs and behaviours that can guide them through to trust.

The most trusted businesses and brands use a combination of factors to command trust:

  • They have a Mission – they know what it is that their business actually wants to achieve both commercially and socially. With every decision they are on a mission that helps achieve a sustainable balance of positive outcomes between all stakeholders. They compete on social as well as commercial dimensions. Nelson’s mission was to fight for King and Country to the bitter end.
  • They understand risks and benefits – the mood in many developed markets today has switched from greed to fear. Consumers are much, much more aware of the risks that they run, as well as the benefits that they may attain. Most marketers are stuck in the age of benefit selling and find it difficult to connect with consumers around risk and fear. Nelson, having worked at virtually every level in the Navy, new the risks and fears of his men, he actively connected with them frequently and personally.
  •  They communicate – using their communication to set the right expectations, and describe and connect with their individual narrative. They understand the promises that are being made, and match their messages with both the reality and the aspiration. Nelson often used story-telling to illustrate and guide his commanders.
  • They behave –the best businesses create a culture of trust both within and outside the organization, and see transparency in their operation as an enabler and not a barrier. Nelson demonstrated the highest standards of personal behaviour and this was a powerful driver of consistent delivery.

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW



5 reasons why trust matters in business:

1. The economy runs on trust. Market failures, like the recent global financial meltdown, generally occur because somewhere trust has failed.

2. Cost is a consequence of mistrust. Without trust, your interactions with your customers, your suppliers, the media, your colleagues and even your boss, become more difficult and more expensive.

3. At the heart of every brand is trust. Those brands that are more trusted get bought more regularly and are proven to win in the market.

4. Society needs trust as social capital. Trust is a vital element in the cohesion of communities and people, without it we atomise and turn inward.

5. Trust makes us money. Whether that is through more profitable relationships or a stronger more vibrant economy trust is an essential.

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW