In this week’s briefing:
- 🇸🇪 How IKEA organizes its content and publishing team to prioritize employee communications
- 💡One-third of consumers trust content from brands over content published by traditional media organizations
- 📜 The rise of brand “storytelling”
- 🛒 Amazon’s brand publication, About Amazon, is expanding to EMEA.
IKEA’s internal communications strategy
Furniture giant Ikea’s “Content Factory” launched officially in 2022, but the company had been a brand publisher for decades prior, starting with the 1948 edition of its print publication-meets-catalog “IKEA News.”
The company has an in-house content group made up of 80 staff members who write, edit, art direct, produce video and audio, and organize events. In this Q&A the Content Factory’s head, Alessandro Aquilio, explains IKEA’s use of publishing and content as a way to speak to internal stakeholders – and says that internal comms is one of the biggest teams at the company.
Critically, IKEA views its staffers “as brand ambassadors, and their engagement is crucial to our success,” says Aquilio. This point of view has been around since the 1980s when IKEA launched “The IKEA Way,” an internal program that trained managers via content that would help them become familiar with the company’s values and mission. “Brand positioning always starts with us, and our content should always be both for our co-workers and the many people outside the organization,” Aquilio adds.
The use of content as a way to reach internal stakeholders has been one of the most fascinating trends in brand publishing. The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath pushed more companies to devise ways to communicate with employees, many of whom were now working remotely. A tight labor market meant recruitment and retention became a key focus for many companies, and asynchronous communication is now viewed by many as the best way to engage workforces. Companies including news organizations like Bloomberg and the New York Times have as recently as last month been hiring editors devoted to internal engagement, while Microsoft’s Desmond Rice recently joined Visa as director, global employee and executive communications.
One-third of consumers trust brand content over traditional media
Declining trust in media may have opened up opportunities for brands’ content offerings, according to new research conducted by Toolkits and National Research Group.
A study of 1,007 U.S. digital content consumers found that 36% trust content published by brands more than content from traditional media organizations – including TV news, newspapers, magazines or online news sites. Only 26% said they trust brand content less than they do content published by media companies. The rest – 38% – said they were unsure.
The research also found 43% of respondents find content from brands more interesting and engaging than the content from traditional media organizations. About 20% said they found brand content less interesting and engaging.
About Amazon expands to EMEA
About Amazon, the company’s collection of sites that aim to be the “first and most trusted source of information and news about Amazon for external audiences” is looking for an executive editor for the EMEA region, a new role for the company.
Newsletters that sold
TheyGotAcquired.com made a free report looking at newsletter companies that were acquired. The report looks at a number of brand acquisitions, including Hubspot’s purchase of the Hustle.
The rise of storytelling
We’ve noted before that there appears to be renewed interest in brand publishing over the past year. Ana Andjelic, a marketing veteran, calls it a renaissance of “brand storytelling,” and argues in this piece that when it comes down to brass tacks, “stories are all the brands got.” It’s a trend we’ve been writing about for a while – marketing executives are exploring content initiatives in part because they can be true assets, and offer a way to communicate with audiences in a direct, authentic way. As Andjelic writes: “Brand marketing is cultural, social, psychological and emotional. Brand marketing’s purpose is not only to get us to buy something, but to buy into something.”
A new CMO at Unilever
Unilever has reinstated the role of the CMO after eliminating the position last year. The brand announced that Esi Eggleston Bracey will be its new chief growth and marketing officer. Adweek reports that the decision was made as “the business looked to a new era of marketing and creative excellence, creator-generated content, digital growth, AI and performance marketing,” and was the company’s way of nodding to the fact that brand marketing can drive growth.
The Expensify Lounge, the company’s great “brand experiment” that included amazing views, cappuccinos, cocktails, sunset toasts and a place to work, all in San Francisco, wasn’t just about the company’s narrative (and a way to demo new Expensify products.) It was apparently an experiment to see what could bring people back to the office. Turns out: Nothing.
Dissecting content roles
Reddit’s head of content marketing, Megan Morreale, dissects content marketing job posts weekly on LinkedIn. Last week, she went through a new content job at Tropic, and outlined exactly how she would apply.