Are You Consistently Different?

One of the phrases that seems to have taken up permanent residence in the world of benefits you get from content technology is “consistent brand experience across channels.” I see it everywhere. “Buy our software, and you can enable a consistent brand experience across multiple digital channels!”

But one of the biggest content challenges I encounter with clients is at the heart of this word consistent. In many a business I speak with, people have either spent or are planning to spend lots of money and time attempting to reuse the exact same content across multiple interfaces in an effort to create a scalable, consistent brand experience.

Now, there’s a place for identical content reuse. But I see many businesses taking reuse to ridiculous extremes. One company I met with created a digital content strategy that leveraged the lowest common denominator – usually defined by some character-count or space limitation. That team constrained what they wrote for all the channels according to the limitations of the tightest one. When we define what will appear in every channel by what fits in a right-rail widget of our website, we are overthinking content reuse.

That kind of consistency does our audiences a disservice.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Foolish – a word that’s often left out of the quotation – is the key word. This hobgoblin gets the better of us marketers when we aim to deliver sameness everywhere in the name of “consistent experience.”

Instead, what we must deliver consistently across channels is this: differentiating value. Ironically, to accomplish this, we usually must take the time to create different content for each channel. Doing so delivers the optimization that marketers crave.

When you develop a comprehensive, holistic, and, dare I say, intelligent content strategy, you must consider which content it makes sense to reuse verbatim and which content you ought to change to fit the unique aspects of each channel. Either way, you can deliver an unfoolish consistency – content that consistently differentiates your business.