5 Truths about Real Time Content

White Paper
Creating content

The right information, with the right nuance, delivered in the right place and at the right time. That’s what we all want.

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Real time content forms part of the ultra convenience trend, rapidly becoming the minimum standard for brand experience thanks to visionary, early adopter organizations.

Consumer patience for poorly conceived, badly targeted, generic, intrusive and repetitious content has run out. Brands that persist in an old school approach will see their reputation, popularity and revenues skydive.

So this is an urgent call to action for marketers across every industry. If they don’t want to be the losers in an ultra convenient world, businesses have to be able to deliver relevant, personalized, real time content as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Everyone’s a publisher now.

For most, this means getting to work. Busting silos, upskilling and resourcing, businesses can’t just jump into real time and think it will be a breeze.

In this whitepaper we reveal the five truths of real time content and how you can act now to get ahead of them:

  • Truth #1: There’s an Explosion in Content Demand – and Complexity
  • Truth #2: Publishing Content is Everyone’s Business
  • Truth #3: Dabbling Won’t Do It
  • Truth #4: It’s Ultra Convenience or Bust
  • Truth #5: The Silos Must Go!

Truth #1 There’s an Explosion in Content Demand – and Complexity

Consumers don’t follow a simple journey of marketing, sales and service from point to point, dutifully plodding down the funnel – that’s not how it works in a digitalized world. Customers set their own course. Their digital travels are rich and diverse, moving rapidly between information sources and influences, gaining insight from many sources. They take up new modes of communication. They answer back.

How do we keep up with this? By providing content that is relevant, reactive, real time, and available across multiple languages, channels and touchpoints. And lots of of it, meeting many diverse requirements, interests and perspectives. But inevitably, this leads to an explosion in content complexity.

Version control doesn’t even cover it

Take BMW. Through its marketing agency, it produces over 600 variants of its catalogues per year, averaging 72 pages each. They’re distributed globally through a range of online and offline channels in over 50 languages. A single corporate brochure and website in a few core languages could never be enough these days for a global, sophisticated, demanding, interactive luxury car buying public.

Truth #2 Publishing Content is Everyone’s Business

Pretty much every brand is also now a publisher. Check out the hoarde of content producers beavering away on behalf of major brands across every industry. Brands are exploring and embracing a huge range of new tactics and approaches. Take IKEA’s ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridien Response or more scientifically, featuring sounds that make you go all tingly) video.1 Or Sephora’s customer led content hub where a community of enthusiasts share tips and advice on what’s worth buying.2 Ben and Jerry’s has been doing this for years with their issue focused campaigning and blogging.

Acquiring and hiring

To help them take a leap forward into content publishing, big brands are buying media and content companies. Last year domestic appliance manufacturer Whirlpool acquired recipe search engine Yummly. It is now integrating Yummly’s content directly into its smart kitchen appliances which will add value for customers while being a valuable source of customer data for Whirlpool and its partners.

Marketing organizations are hiring journalists, because they need their own well written, original content to approach customers with interesting, relevant information. Time was you needed an experienced CPG marketer, now it’s the professional writers who are in demand.

Truth #3 Dabbling Won’t Do It

Organizations are recognizing the value of content and what it takes to produce quality. That means building teams, managing production cost and expecting returns. You need to plan and manage your content production just as rigorously as you do your core business, set goals and targets, invest in digital tools, understand success criteria, fund resources, monitor quality, manage the production schedule, track and report on effectiveness. That way you can continually improve and make sure your investment in content is delivering ROI.

The start up you never knew you’d started

This second business is a fast growing one. The volume of content you need to deliver in all the relevant variants is more than current supply lines can produce. You’ll be deploying more people, tools and resources to keep it all coming and to make sure you’re not being pushed out by better, more relevant and more engaging content from your competitors. But you can’t afford to let spending get out of hand. Your content business could bankrupt you… or it could propel you to market leadership. Either way, it needs your full attention.

Real Time Content Gone Real Bad


Thinking it would be good to get the public behind an anti strike campaign, the UK’s Southern Rail soon had its hands full with aggrieved travellers and their #SouthernFail hashtag. It’s always risky to stir up customers when your own service levels need attention.


Skincare brand Dove has done great work over the years championing positive body image. Customers quickly turned when the beauty brand posted a social media clip that seemed to suggest a black woman turned white after using their product. In context in a longer TV ad, the material was less controversial, but the damage was done in one ill considered online post.

Falling flat

Coca-Cola’s GIF the Feeling campaign was hijacked by mischievous and at times menacing consumers posting inappropriate content. This happened even though the company had blocked scores of offensive terms to keep things sweet. What’s the damage? For a global brand amongst mainstream consumers, these kinds of content gaffes can cost big in reputation and sales.

Bad content: Funny, except when it hits your reputation and sales

The danger of brand damage from bad content is increasing. Social offers rich opportunities for brands to express themselves in different ways and to be (or appear to be) spontaneous. But – crucially – brands don’t control those channels. Consumers and campaigners are quick to react to off content and they know how to make their voices heard.

Truth #4 It’s Ultra Convenience or Bust

Amazon, eBay, Zappos and Facebook have defined consumer expectations of digital experience. In the same way, ultra convenience innovators will set the standard for every consumer facing organization.

Today’s expensive, headline grabbing experiments will need to become business as usual. That means significant change in the way organizations produce and manage their content and how quickly they embrace emerging tactics.

Blink and you’ll miss it

Things move fast in content terms. It’s hard to remember who was the first optician to offer virtual try-ons online. Nowadays, you’re not in the game unless customers can upload a photo and see how they look in your glasses. Make up companies hopped on the bandwagon too, with their virtual reality mirrors. Now clothing retailers are launching augmented reality try-on apps. Good content features spread like wildfire. Before you know it, they’re the status quo. Four years ago, brand blogs that focused on lifestyle issues were hailed as innovative and different.

Now every self respecting brand has blogs and social media covering a wealth of consumer topics. IKEA was ground breaking with its online tools and interactive room décor ideas. A couple of years on, we expect to be able to build and customize modular furniture online wherever we look.

Truth #5 The Silos Must Go!

Industrial age organizations are set up for the old way of consumer engagement: marketing, sales and service in separate functions. So, they approach content in a similar way. Marketing owns the blog, perhaps. And the ads. Customer service takes on social media interaction to make sure complaints are headed off fast. YouTube content is a sales channel, because that’s explaining and promoting to warm prospects.

Content is overarching

With the explosion of content and variants and the need to be relevant and available, everywhere and all the time – that’s a recipe for losing control of your brand values and presenting a disunited front.

Silos mean that there’s no overall content management or moderation and that risks brand damage from inconsistent or bad content. It means you can’t create impact across channels and media. Wherever customers come from, however they engage with you, you want them to find what they need as part of the right brand experience. You have to manage content across channels, disciplines and functions to make that happen. You can’t do that in a box.

Conclusion: Have You Got Your Content Under Control?

Organizations are coming to understand that they need a holistic approach when managing the digital supply chain. There’s too much going on to do it piecemeal or manually.

Central management of content and processes is the beating heart of a best in class, content driven brand. That’s where Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms come in. A way of bringing together the great stuff rooted out by teams, discovered by users and fed in by agencies, DAM systems help bust silos and get content under control.

For maximum impact and agility, these can provide the organic integration of components and systems, either internally or from a provider or preferably both. Choose your DAM platform wisely and you could be managing a content business that generates big ROI for your business and keeps you ahead of your market.

Our five real time content truths are just some of the thinking that drives our platform innovation. If you’re ready to embrace a digitalization strategy across multiple business areas, censhare can help.

The censhare vision: Relevant information for everybody, everywhere, anytime.

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