3 essential tools to link content/brand (Blue jeans market example)

brand territory jpg

3 essential tools to link content/brand (Blue jeans market example)

Whether you run your own business or you are work in Marketing or Communication at a large corporation, you have probably experienced the two major challenges of any brand deciding to publish content:

  1. Finding a differential content niche which allows you to conquer your own audience among the more than 250 million media and blogs available online.
  2. Establishing a crystal clear association between the content yoou publish and the brand. If someone reading one of your articles on your blog or watching a video capsule on your Instagram page does not know whom to thank for the information or entertainment provided by those pieces of content, your publishing efforts will be totally wasted.

The solution to this challenge is more easily explained than taken to practice:  a strong differentiated brand is the best way to inspire a content strategy capable of building your audience loyalty.


Differentiated brand = effective content

While content marketers usually do research and profile their audience in order to ensure that the content delivered is top noch for them, it is much less frequent to pause and understand what our brand stands for. Exploring our brand will bring us two benefits:

  1. Discover the position it occupies our clients´ minds with respect to competing brands.
  2. Understand what brand attributes and values (rational or emotional) may help us build our brand storytelling.

Three simple tools will help us:

  1. Brand DNA
  2. Content Mapping,
  3. Brand Territory.


1.Brand DNA

Brand DNA is a simple tool which helps us interrogate the brand to deconstruct it: i.e. splitting it in its various rational and emotional values.

To this end, we will raise the following four questions about the brand:

  • What does the brand do for me?
  • How does it talk to me?
  • How do I feel when using the brand?
  • How do others see me when I use it?

Instead of trying to answer these four questions ourselves in a subjective manner, it is better to ask current or potential consumers instead.  For instance, meeting with a small group of clients should suffice to gather the information we seek.

The following is a DNA exercise for Levi´s.  Brands may not only use DNA upon their go to market, but whenever they wish to consider its repositioning or deploy any new communication strategy.

As you can see, the brand DNA matrix contains 4 different questions, the top two exploring the rational side of the brand and the two bottom ones, its emotional values.  In this case we were able to determine:

  • Rational:  we are talking about a well established credible brand.  One that is easy to recognize worldwide by all.  It unquestionably offers a good quality comfortable product.  At the same time, when we ask ourselves how the brand talks to me, I find that it shows an honest, timeless voice.
  • Emotional:  in a saturated market place it is often emotional values that drive consumer preference, so the last two questions will be crucial in our DNA exercise.  When we ask ourselves how I feel when I wear the brand, values like safety, good value or trust apprear immediately.  Hence, I am wearing a classic brand that will make me feel like I am on the safe side.  However, the same classic nature of the brand may make me look over conservative in they eyes of others.

content mapping levi´s
As you can see, this simple exercies allows us to highlight salient aspects which are key to the brand positoning and will inspire our content strategy.


2. Content Mapping

Once we have define our Brand DNA, which is going to define our storytelling, we must turn to our competitors for the next step in our analysis.  The way our audience will interpret our content is never isolated from the rest of the content at their reach.  In fact, the relavance of our content within our category will always be a function of how relevant other publishers are.

So we must identify other publishers in our category, and study their respective content strategies.  Doing so will allow us to:

  • Identify best practices (content formats, fresh editorial angles, etc).
  • Identfy editorial spaces which may be already capitalised by other publishers.
  • Identify potential gaps for our own content.

To begin with, we must identify our key content competitors.  Bear in mind when we run a Brand Content benchmarking, we need to study ANY publishers competing for audience attention on the same basic topics that we will be tackling.  Therefore, we will not only select brands, but any non brand publisher too (e.g. specialized magazine, social or podcast channel, blog, vblog, etc) which are working our same topics.

Nowadays AI tools such as Chat GPT facilitate the task of choosing a competitor list to benchmark. But we should always manually fine tune this search by selecting those who are more active in publishing various content formats frequently (not only text but video, audio, etc).

Note: if you are unsure as to the key topics that your brand should target, you may want to run a tag cloud analysis.  Tag clouds allow you to detect the most common terms/topics tackled on any web.  You need to introduce any URL (ideally not an e-commerce page but either a blog or a ulr containing information about brand values) and the tool will provide a canvas with the most frequent terms used on them.  In the case of Levi´s a tag cloud derived from its «Our Values» page showed that Levi´s is mainly oriented towards sustainable production, manufacturing long lasting and reliable clothing, while being fair to all relevant stakeholders and the environment.

Once we have identified our key benchmarks, we will proceed with their analysis.  For each of our identified competitors we will:

  • Visit their home pages and blogs and identify the main topics they are publishing on (again, you may want to use a tag cloud generator).  Note any salient editorial practices, like a particular writing angle, content structure or conclusions.
  • Then visit their YouTube and Instagram channels.  This time we will try to identify unusual video formats, any pieces of content that seem to be generating overproportional engagement, etc
  • Finally, visit any other content channels such as podcast or alternative social channels

Once we have analysed all of our main benchmarks, the next step is to produce our content map and plot all of our competitors within it.

Which will be the two axes in our content map?: the two key criteria according to which the audience chooses to see/read/listen to a particular piece of content.  In this case, after listening to a group of consumers, we found out these criteria would be Content Quality (low vs high) and Inspire (consumers endlessly looking for the latest fashion trend) vs Combine (combining clothes that you may already have in the best manner).

And we obtained a content map like this.  As you can see, we have studied content from top fashion magazines such as InStyle, Vogue or Fashion.  We have identified several Instagram accounts on street style trends and a number of content channels form other jean manufacturers such as fast fashion brands H&M and Zara and pret-a-porter brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel and CK Jeans.

content map

As a result of this content map analysis, we can see that there is a content gap (an editorial area that Levi´s may want to cultivate and capitalize), which focuses on «Combine» (tips to master the best looks with your existing wardrobe) with top quality.  This is the content route that, based on its DNA and unique voice, Levís should endeavor to follow.


3.Brand Territory

Once we have defined our DNA and explored our benchmarks, we are ready to make our content strategy tangible.

The DNA matrix is extremely useful to soak into our brand essence. But not so much to inspire us when we have to write stories. This is why need a third tool: the Brand Territory.  Taking the form of a photograph collage which should answer the following questions:

  • Where does the brand live? In which physical spaces would we place it?
  • What characters would occupy these spaces?
  • What situations would occur in this territory?
  • What objects would complement the territory?
  • Can we define the territory look & feel (textures, colors, shapes, materials, smells, tastes, sounds…)?

A brainstorming session within our team (sales, marketing, operations , even production…) will help us find the right pictures. Next, a designer can gather the corresponding images until you have something like this:

brand territory jpg


In summary 

To become a publisher is a huge challenge.

It is difficult but by no means impossible as long as you do not undertake it blindly.

Brand DNA  Content Mapping and Brand Territory moodbards are simple tools that will guide you in the process.  With these three tools on the table, it will be much easier to produce content which is easy to asssociate to the brand and able to conquer a growing audience.


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