Knowing how to create original, insight-led content is a really great way to push business growth. In a crowded marketplace you need to stand out from your competition. Your brand essence needs to be seen and heard, just as loud as your core product offering. The content that you create and share across multiple communication platforms will have a notable impact on people’s perception of your brand. Making sure this content communicates personality, as well as industry insight, is a must.
“A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time. It is the product of a thousand small gestures”. Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney
We recently undertook a piece of research looking at the brand strength of 52 UK based mid-market private equity firms, with a European investment. Creating and sharing original and insight-led content was the lowest scoring aspect of user experience for most firms. This tells us that the voice of these firms is being lost in the crowd; their compelling stories and credible opinions are hidden, potentially closing the gateway to more deals of the right kind.
Below are our thoughts on how private equity firms could improve their content creation, as well as some examples we really liked from firms scoring highly in our report.
Communicate more than your company news
An online news portal or archive can be effective at communicating updates on new deals and exits. But they don’t communicate your brand’s, and your employee’s, opinions and thoughts on industry relevant topics. Communicating this effectively can really help your firm to stand for something more than the basic industry criterion.
Why not try including some of the following in your news feed:
- A short blog on what you think about the latest industry announcement
- A team member’s personal account of a recent industry event
- An inspirational article relating a key business skill to popular culture. For example the private equity firm Tenzing wrote a short piece about – how the care they take over relationships is similar to the friendships in Toy Story
- A review of an industry relevant publication or blog. Frog Capital have a Frog Book Club where they regularly review business books.
Meet people in the team, not the qualifications in the team
Having a fully populated ‘meet the team’ section on your website can elicit trust and credibility. This is a great place to insert a bit of warmth by adding more information than the number of years experience and current investments. Try to emphasise the human side by mentioning hobbies, passions and interests. Allow customers to mentally start a relationship with your team and facilitate connections with work contact details. It’s also confidence building to have consistent images of the team – putting a face to the person you will be working with helps to generate feelings of inclusivity.
Be social on social media
Social media is a fantastic tool to open a low volume dialogue with your private equity clients that is nimble and far-reaching. Social media platforms are routinely used to assess the personality of a company that may not be evident on their website. It’s the place to be professional but friendly, knowledgeable but human.
The big 5 social media platforms:
- Linked In – 500 million active users
- Twitter – 330 million active users
- Facebook – 2.19 billion active users
- Instagram – 1 billion active users
- Pinterest – 175 million active users
We noticed from our research that, although many of our 52 companies used social media in some capacity, the content was little more than a reflection of their news feed. Although that is relevant content, it should be added to with more humanised and personalised content. People want to know what makes you tick so share opinions, views and commentary. Being bland is just that, bland.
Share your stories to enhance your credibility
Telling people about how your company came into being – the challenges faced, the support received, the lessons learned – can make your company seem more approachable, human, and open.
Engagement is a two-way relationship; try adding testimonials from clients to back up what you are saying about yourself. You can take this a step further by building a network of ambassadors. If you can turn a casual supporter into a loyal enthusiast they will promote you wherever they go. It’s also good to monitor what other customers are saying about the competition, keep your ears to the ground and learn from others mistakes.
In essence you want to grow and nurture a community of customers, thought leaders and industry specialists that you have an open dialogue with.
Variety is the spice of life
People are motivated in different ways and how they engage with you is no different. By offering multiple connection paths you are increasing the possibility of eliciting contact with new clients. You may also find existing clients respond favourably to this too.
Ways to do this are:
- Share your blogs on Medium or another blog directory.
- Organise or speak at forums to be seen as a thought leader.
- Create a regular breakfast meeting where your ambassadors are treated to food and a discussion about a recent industry development.
- Webinars and podcasts can be a great way to broadcast opinion and can also be shared across social media.
- Videos – animated or interviews – will add so much to your cultural footprint. They don’t have to be whacky to get noticed but shouldn’t be dry or dull.
- If you are spending a lot on one communication make sure you increase value by producing something that can be used across all channels. Simple text posts should happen as often as you can manage.
If you think you need a creative partner to help in this department we’d be delighted to talk about how we could work with you to reach your goal.