Animal Kingdom - Content Strategy

This is a fictional story of animals who understand content strategy.

 · 5 min read

I did an online course on content strategy last weekend from coursera.org.This story-blog is a result of being inspired from this program.

Bila the baboon, runs a banana business. Her business is to supply bananas to the elephants, the gorillas, the cows and other monkeys from all over the jungle. She wants to know how to engage other animals and grow her business; thus, she asks Bob - her husband, to help her. Bob is a wise baboon but he is very naughty. Whatever he says seems very jaunty but always has deep meaning. Looking at his troubled wife he decides being serious and tells her that she should build a good content strategy.

Bob’s wife asks him “Why content strategy”? Bob replies, “Most of your fellow competitors like hyenas, giraffes and zebras have started engaging with other animals by telling them stories at bed-time, by sharing gossips at the lakes, and by telling funny jokes to the squirrels and birds. As a result their business of selling juicy fruits, nuts, and honey is doing far better than our banana business. Some are even giving hunting tips to the lions and the leopards and getting pardoned from being at the end of the food-chain”. Bila loves Bob when he is serious and gives valuable tips. She prods him to elaborate on his content strategy. “So, how do we develop this content strategy”?

Bob explains, “The three truths of content strategy are that content should be credible, trustworthy and transparent. For example; If I say I have the reddest bottom amongst all the baboons, I better be the reddest. When other baboons come to visit me they should not be disappointed, and I should allow all the baboons to see how red I am”. Bila gets really annoyed with his example. She fumes “Bob! don't get carried away. If you want this discussion to continue, please keep your examples decent”. I am doing business here !

Bob brings a humble expression on his face and continues. “The next stage of developing a content strategy is Understanding Audiences. You really need to understand who your audience is ? Whether it is the gorillas, who stay in the caves or the cows, who help the nearby farmers in ploughing. Whether your audiences are your monkey friends, or the elephants near the water lake? Once you know your target audience and study their behaviour then you can develop your content strategy based on the demographic and the psychographic information”. Bila listens with rapt attention; However, she interrupts Bob and says “Bob, what is this demographic and psychographic information you are talking about? Can you explain with an example”?

Bob loves examples. He says, “The squirrel monkeys spend a considerable amount of time foraging different types of food. They get bored with foods that are easily accessible. This kind of information based on values and motivation is psychographic information. The squirrel monkeys like to stay in areas that provide good cover from birds of prey in the rainforest, savannah and mangroves, or marshlands. This type of information based on age and location is demographic information”.

“Oh, now I understand”, says Bila. I can provide my content in these places so that it directly reaches my audience instead of the wrong animals. By knowing that they like challenges and get bored easily, I will design mazes for them. ‘Get a banana at the end of the maze’. Bila is quite pleased with Bob this time. She scratches his paw lovingly and hoots, “Tell me more”.

Now, Bob gets into a very good mood. He says, “The next step is to establish your brand. Brand should basically be your idea or story of what's the best way to serve your customers”. He continues, “For example, I am a brand myself. I am known as a good husband. I am known as the best husband who listens to everything his wife asks him to do. I am known in my circles as the domesticated baboon who helps his wife in her business, takes care of the baby baboons, keeps the surroundings clean, and stays away from mischievous group outings. As a result of this brand image, other baboons’ wives are always comfortable to come to me for advice and help whenever they are in trouble. You see I benefit from my brand image. I get to advise and feel wise and smart in my free time and they get a shoulder to lean on”. There is a long silence. Somehow Bila is not happy with this brand image. She thinks before the content strategy for her business she will have to embark on a Rebranding exercise for her husband. She keeps the thought to herself and makes a mental note to work on this aspect later. She meekly asks him to proceed.

Bob is clueless that he has landed himself in a soup with this example. He continues gullibly, “For a content strategy, Experiences are very important. All content creates user experiences. Funny content will make the monkeys jump in happiness from one tree to another, as a result feel more hungry and consume your bananas. Experiences link to usages and you can shape and maximise these experiences by message, distribution and strategic application”.

Noticing that Bila had absorbed everything that he said so far, he continues. He lectures that, “You should know how the animals feel when they consume your content. Your stories should have the shape of a small hill. They should start with a good plot, the plot should develop and take you at a peak and then slowly come down to drive the point home. The tone of your stories should match the graphic and design that you use in your messages”.

“Remember to use different formats for different animals. Select the format based on the story. If you wish to tell the gorillas something, write on their cave walls. If you wish to say something to the elephants, put banners near the lake. If you wish to tell something to the squirrel monkeys show them the polygamous monkeys’ videos - just kidding! The point I am trying to make is select different media platforms for different audiences”.

Bila is really happy with Bob. Though naughty, he makes a lot of sense, sometimes! She decides to cook his favourite dish that day. She also keeps the ‘You are my hero’ message, carved on a broad leaf. She uses the print medium, keeps it at his favourite demographic place on the tree, where he relaxes, and knows that the message will appeal to his loving heart - psychographic segmentation! Bila learns very quickly.

Her next move will be to coax him to teach her Rebranding!


Priya Shrivastava

Priya is a philosopher by education, writer and editor by profession and a loving mother by disposition.

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