Companies must master their content identity to engage customers: Accenture

Credit: Gustavo Frazao /

The insatiable demand for quality content requires organizations to move beyond traditional advertising and to harness their ability to produce truly authentic, credible and relevant content, according to new research from Accenture Interactive.

The research report – “You Are Your Content,” which surveyed more than 1,000 global executives responsible for content within their organizations – says that quality content is the single most important driver of brand engagement. It is more critical than ever for organizations to master their content identity as it is the true reflection of who an organization is to its audiences – internal and external.

On average, organizations are creating over one million digital content assets a year. As content volume increases, a layer of complexity is also increasing with the introduction of new distribution channels. This explosion of new content channels has disrupted every industry, however only 24% of organizations feel ready to activate new distribution points.

High-performing companies are transforming themselves into content-driven organizations to address this transforming landscape and to truly own their organization’s voice by bringing talent in-house to manage and create content. The study finds 76% of companies are leveraging in-house talent to create content in the next two years, with survey respondents citing a lack of in-house talent as the top barrier to their ability to create quality content.

“Content has the potential to become the ‘great limiter’ for many organizations as they struggle to maintain quality while managing the tidal wave of content, and reducing increased complexity plus associated costs,” said Donna Tuths, global digital content lead at Accenture Interactive. “There is no sign of demand slowing down and new channels and technology will continue to disrupt the industry. There is now a clear need for organizations to ‘get real’ and gain control of their content strategy and in order to become truly a content-first organization, both inside and out.”

Today, an organization’s audience is connected primarily through their exposure to the content they share – it is the personality, identity and voice of an organization. However, research shows a misalignment between the perceived goals of content versus current realities:

  • Eighty-four percent affirmed the importance of content in shaping the brand experience
  • Seventy-eight percent believe that content must clearly convey everything they want external audiences to know about their company
  • Forty percent of executives responsible for content at their organization report that they clearly understand the goals for their content
  • Twenty-nine percent agree that the content they produce is consistent in style and tone across channels
  • Less than a third believe their content reflects their company’s core values

Additionally, the study reveals differing perceptions about content between executives and their employees. CEOs were twice as likely as members of their management teams to cite that their organization’s content accurately reflects the culture and character of their organizations, while fewer than a third of all employees strongly agree that the content aligns to their organization’s true identity.

The changing landscape of content distribution 

The digital environment is radically decentralized, and new platforms regularly displace incumbents. Relatively new and popular channels like Snapchat and Facebook Live are creating a variety of ways for organizations to reach consumers – although many content managers are not prepared to explore these new distribution channels:

  • Eighty percent believe it is necessary to master new platforms
  • Thirty-five percent are looking to invest more in content creation rather than paying to place their content
  • Nearly three-quarters of organizations invest the majority of their budgets ($100-250 million), up to 70%, on paid placement
  • Sixty-five percent of high-performing companies are working toward integrated plans that balance investments in content production with smart distribution approaches that activate a range of channels, both free (e.g., social media) and costly (e.g., network television)

“Content is bigger than marketing; it’s the voice of an organization’s mission,” said Tuths. “It could not be more critical to get content right. Organizations need to own their voice and follow their audiences closely as they may lead to new ways to connect and engage customers, prospects, employees and recruits. In today’s hyper-connected age, you are your content.”

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