Crafting Purpose-focused Food & Lifestyle Brands

How Answering One Simple Question Can Unlock The Most Engaging Content Ideas



If you’re like most marketers (and you probably are) you are struggling to not only “do” content marketing, but do it well.

Which means that you’re probably stuck on how to create engaging content.

The degree to which we know you’re not alone in this is because all three of the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 Content Marketing Reports (for B2B, B2C and Nonprofits) indicate that the perennial top content marketing challenge is “creating engaging content.”

And if I had to put money on it, I’d bet that creating engaging content will remain the top challenge, from now until … well, forever.

Here’s why …

While content marketing budgets will continue to improve, and the technology will continue to get better, and parts of the work will become more automated, and bosses, colleagues and customers alike will increase their buy in, the creation of engaging content will remain what it is … an art.

And art is intangible. It’s subjective. It’s performance.

Art is magic.

Yet, there you sit … here we sit … with the creation of art (engaging content) now an essential business activity. We have deadlines to meet, we have budgets to keep, we have people to report to … all while getting this “art” right, day in, day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.

And there’s no escaping it. Consistently creating engaging content as an essential activity of a business today is as inevitable as the rising and setting of the sun.

And it’s hard as hell to do.

The good news is that for most brands, nonprofits and government agencies, one simple question asked from the very outset can become the inspiration for engaging content creation … for creating engaging “art.”

That question is: “What’s Our Purpose?”

Here’s what happens when you ask yourself or your team this question:

Answering “What’s Our Purpose?” forces thinking about the deeper meaning of why you’re in business in the first place (and there’s a lot of business reporting that suggests that your answer should not be simply “make a profit”)

Understanding the purpose of your business (you might want to watch this video “Start with Why” by Gary Sinek) will uncover what truly matters to you, and your team. This is critical, as it’s key to not only matching content to audiences, but to driving the passion required to keep your team focused on content.

Knowing what matters to you and your team is used to find alignment with the wants, desires and aspirations of your audience

Alignment of your audience’s wants and aspirations with your purpose leads to ideas about content that will truly matter, and truly engage

For some brands, the answer to the question “What’s Our Purpose?” may lead to content ideas that are purely utilitarian.

For example, Kleenex’s Achoo.com was a purpose-focused content application that helped people protect themselves from the flu by predicting when it will be in their area (based upon zip code).

For other brands, serving a “greater good” of improving lives while increasing profit is the purpose.

One of the longestFields_PhotoMeme running examples (about 8 years now) of purpose-focused content marketing is P&G’s “Being Girl.” Pragmatically, perhaps even cynically, one could view this initiative purely through the business objective of converting young girls into lifelong consumers of P&G’s feminine product line (lifelong value of $2400, with an estimated $480 profit per girl).

However, when viewed through a purpose-focused content framework, the fact that this content has been helpful during an important transition in the lives of young girls does indeed serve a “greater good.”

How cool is it, then, that a brand can be involved with improving people’s lives while improving their bottom line, through engaging content? 

And it’s obviously working. Launched 8 years ago, Being Girl is now an international program that has been estimated to cost P&G at least $1 million per year to manage. Yet, according to a Forrester Research case study, Being Girl has been 4 times more effective than a similarly priced approach to traditional media.

So, try this at home …

Ask “What’s Our Purpose?” in your next team meeting or “What’s My Purpose?” if you’re a solo entrepreneur out on a jog, a stroll or a bike ride (or wherever you find yourself doing creating thinking!).

Craft your purpose answer into something more than “making a profit.” Go ahead, and dig deep for meaning. Use that meaning to identify what truly matters, to you, to your audiences. Use what matters to build alignment between what you’re about and what your customers aspire to be.

My bet is that you will discover new ways of creating engaging content, to creating content that matters.