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How Content Strategy Brought 3 Brand Voices to Life

Let’s talk about content strategy…and why it’s never been more important for building a brand’s voice.

It’s been shown time and time again a documented content strategy improves content marketing effectiveness. In fact, research shows business-to-business (B2B) marketers who have a documented strategy are more effective and less challenged with every aspect of content marketing.

Why? From my experience, developing a strong content strategy is the essential first step to define a brand’s voice. If you skip this step, it’s much more difficult (if not impossible) to build your client’s brand messaging over multiple verticals that resonate with the audience.

But…a content strategy isn’t just about improving search engine optimization (SEO) by finding top-ranking words to stuff into your client’s content. And I’ve never thought it’s about developing personas of the “perfect customer.” Instead, a strategy is about defining the audience they serve, why they serve them, and serving the audience what they want.

To see how putting a company’s goals into a strategy brings the brand to life, let’s take a look at three of my clients and how a content strategy helped support a long-lasting identity.

🌟 Acrisure: A story of Limitless entrepreneurial spirit

I was referred to Acrisure in 2018 to tell what is now the country’s leading insurance broker’s story for a company culture book and big picture branding. No, I had never worked in the insurance brokerage space.

But I had recently told the 100-year old story of Parker Hannifin’s rise to becoming the world’s motion control and technology leader in two books…so, why not?

To dive in, I began with the most crucial step to begin any strategy: interviews. In addition to the CEO Greg Wiliams who co-founded Acrisure in 2005, I asked to talk with the top national partner leaders throughout Acrisure. It’s these conversations that shaped the strategy for the company’s culture book and brand voice for employees and their clients.

A helpful reminder about interviews: keep it simple, succinct, and easy for the interviewee. In the “getting to know you” phase, I gather what research I can find (not only about the company but the interviewee), develop interview questions, and send these at least 24 hours in advance for review. This prep keeps us on track on time and almost always allows me to ask a few more questions that come to mind during the call.

After 12+ interviews, I reviewed all transcripts and looked for a resonating theme. Acrisure’s growth from a culture unlike any in the insurance industry stood out — and from the interviews I could see the growth was…limitless (light bulb moment!).

I pitched the word “Limitless” for the name of Acrisure’s company culture book — it truly captured what this company believed about their future. Greg Williams loved it. I worked closely with him and his team to develop the book Limitless: How Entrepreneurial Passion Has Ignited a Business and bring its brand voice to life.

Just over four years later, Acrisure is a global fintech leader providing customers with intelligence-driven financial services solutions for insurance, reinsurance, real estate services, cyber services and asset and wealth management.

Truly Limitless.

I always smile when I see the Acricure tagline (#limitless) stream through my LinkedIn feed and their podcast by the same name.

🌟 Presidio: Combining 100+ Years of Voices for the Future

On the heels of Acrisure, I was referred to three of their Chicago agency partners who were combining 100+ years of experience to strategize a unified brand voice under the Acrisure umbrella.

Imagine three separate, established insurance agencies with large numbers of legacy clients relying on their services since 1924 — why the new agency name? Would they still be able to deliver relied-on services like Uncle Bob came to expect?

This is where the power of a content strategy comes in. Again, I started by interviewing leadership from each of the established agencies. In the case of combining Chicagoland’s most dynamic insurance professionals, it was important to play devil’s advocate in these conversations. What was their biggest challenge to prepare for the future?

My challenge was not only to develop a new agency name and brand voice, but also an identifying brand tagline. After 17 interviews, and hours of research and meetings with leadership, we all agreed:

The new, rebranded Acrisure agency partner would be called Presidio — a nod to military settlements that secured and defended Spanish populations. With that, I developed the tagline: Our Promise. Your Protection.

The strategy for Presidio and tagline helped guide overall messaging for a new website, email campaigns and blogs — brand messaging that assured the audience that their relied on insurance providers were united to secure their protection.

🌟 SpyGlass: Rebranding a Technology Expense Management Industry Leader

The company SpyGlass is here in my home base of Cleveland, but that didn’t mean I knew who they were or what they did. And that became the content strategy development theme for the 20+ year-old technology expense management (TEM) business

When SpyGlass reached out to me, they had been working with a local marketing agency for over three years — but they were confused why their email marketing campaigns weren’t giving them results. After one meeting with leadership, I realized why: no content strategy had been developed.

Instead, email campaigns were started and sent without brand identifying language. The messaging was siloed and far from the current website’s language — or that of the TEM industry. Big, expensive mistake.

To turn their digital marketing efforts around, I started from the beginning. Over the course of one day, I sat in SpyGlass headquarters and interviewed 17 of the company’s top leaders. I found out not only about the company and their roles, but most importantly, the pain points their clients faced.

I discovered there was an elephant in the room: their 13,000+ clients didn’t even think to challenge the technology expense status quo — these bills just got paid, no matter how much the price — telecom is a necessary evil.

From this, I envisioned SpyGlass as the ringleader of the TEM circus, taming the elephant by “Challenging the Technology Cost Status Quo.”

This new tagline put the bigger picture content strategy into a single statement to define the who and what of SpyGlass. To build the full content marketing strategy, I initially interviewed 15+ SpyGlass clients around the country. These conversations built the why of SpyGlass.

SpyGlass touches organizations throughout every industry, and they make a big difference with the surprising technology savings they find. Perfect example: the story of the nonprofit Independent Living Association in Brooklyn, New York — a SpyGlass SnapShot Audit put $38,000 back into their budget annually. A significant amount adding up over time for an organization funded by Medicaid, Social Security, and state government funds. An additional defining content strategy finding from SpyGlass clients? Gratitude.

The story of the SpyGlass content strategy isn’t just about the tech and communications service savings they find, but how they help their clients by optimizing the bottom line to benefit their clients.

Now we had the who, what, and why of SpyGlass. A new website, email drip and ABM campaigns, white paper, thought leadership blog posts, and case studies came to life over the next three years — and continue to define the SpyGlass brand and growth.

This, my friends, is the power of a content strategy. Spend the time, talk with the people, and build an invaluable tool for your clients — and you. 👏