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Be the Change

To test and scale ideas faster, Spyglass developed the Brand Collaboratory™—a learning lab approach that involves key stakeholders in the creation of messages and materials. We firmly believe that “doing it together” and iterating quickly outperforms the old agency model. 

 

Are you moving through the day doing what you’ve always done—struggling with (or avoiding) the same persistent business or brand issues? Do you have a scattershot strategy, a mucked up PowerPoint or a story that just doesn’t sing?

Welcome to the club! The fact is, most of us aren’t optimizing our efforts and time. Which makes perfect sense, because individuals and organizations are actually hardwired to maintain the status quo, and we require certain conditions to make sustainable change, especially the big transformative kind.

At Spyglass, we have powerful processes to help our clients break out of their ruts and accelerate the adoption of new solutions—to generate the kind of meaningful results (and paradigm shifts) that so many businesses now require. Here are 3 key principles:

Ask better questions: In the old days, agencies like ours would receive a stated assignment or challenge from a client and begin brainstorming answers. Today, we start by asking new and better questions (an approach that spookily aligns with this meaty HBR Better Brainstorming article). For example, a recent assignment from a client was framed as a marketing communications project. A bit of deeper inquiry revealed that a trust- and relationship-building initiative was what was actually needed—and that’s what we proposed.

Get there faster: Too often it seems like the juiciest (and most differentiating) ideas get diluted and bogged down by the traditional research/review/approval process. To counteract that inertia, we’ve been deploying a new fast and focused Brand Collaboratory™ approach in order to rapidly iterate ideas to a point where they can be evaluated, tested and refined with real audiences sooner rather than later.

Do it together: Now, more than ever, we believe it’s time to reach beyond the marketing department to engage diverse stakeholders more meaningfully in the creative process—both to ensure relevance and build trust. A more collaborative process increases internal enthusiasm, belief and buy-in, which is essential to the adoption of an impactful, market-relevant and potentially game-changing story.

This part is critical, because companies are often structurally resistant to doing (and saying) things in new ways. According to innovation consultant Stefan Lindegaard:Change is frightening to many elements inside the typical organization. Change threatens people’s power, their status, their egos, and, in some situations, even their jobs. Change can make someone’s expertise obsolete and thereby make them obsolete as well. Because people are afraid of change, innovation efforts often cause the eruption of corporate antibodies that fight to kill innovation and maintain the status quo.”

Maybe you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel (or your category) but simply need some fresh eyes and juice to jumpstart your marketing. Let’s get started!

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Frightened by content creation? Meet The World’s Most Dangerous Writing App

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Now that content is king, there’s only one thing scarier than not having great stuff—creating it. So, in honor of Halloween we present to you The World’s Most Dangerous Writing App. An app that will scare the daylights out of you if you have writer’s block, but also just might put a little hellfire in your soul when you need to produce your best stream-of-consciousness thinking. It’s a motivating muse, not only for nipping procrastination in the bud, but also for providing a swift kick in the pants when you’ve got a great novel inside you that’s just dying to come out. Don’t fear the (word) reaper.

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It’s alive! Using stock photography to bring your content back from the dead

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Stock photography has gone from a necessary evil to an excellent option for everything from finding killer images for content and campaigns to creating captivating composites, like the one we did here. While a photo shoot will always remain an attractive option, time and budget allowing, the days of seeing stock as an also-ran in the realm of branding and marketing are gone. The depth and quality of stock photography is ever expanding and increasingly affordable. But with that said, stock libraries are vast and there continues to be some fear and trepidation when it comes to finding the perfect shot—the one that gets people to stop, engage and read. To find the right photo you need a keen eye for composition, a clear concept, a nimble mind for search word combinations and the ability to identify a handful of other critical considerations.

So, in an effort to help you find images that will boost your content engagement, trigger clicks and promote sharing, here are a few timely tips.

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Why Most Businesses are Dropping the Ball in Content Marketing

What you don’t know may hurt you. Yeah, you’ve heard that one before. But if you’re serious about capturing customers via the web, you may want to take a minute to think about where you could be hitting a home run or two. This wonky little analysis speaks to a simple impending truth: most businesses aren’t doing enough with content marketing. And by enough, I mean pretty much an epic fail. Don’t despair. There are so many quick wins you could be achieving that don’t cost an arm a leg or an act of God. Simple stuff that will boost you out of the Google search basement and onto the collective consciousness of the people who want—dare I say, long—to find you, but just can’t.

Here’s the Business 2 Community article I’m talking about. The love of your business life is out there, but you are nowhere to be found. And you’d hate to miss out on destiny just because you’re not even in the conversation, right?

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