There is always a better, more effective or unique way to tell a brand’s story. It’s true.

Take Coke as an example.

One year ago, Coke stepped out of their comfort zone to reframe the way their audience interacts with their corporate website. A year and many learnings later, the Coke team reported on the progression of their brand storytelling efforts and put this statement down on paper:

“Today’s anniversary and home page re-launch marks a final break with the corporate website. You read it here first: for consumers, the corporate website is dead and “press release PR” is on its way out.

Today, more than ever, we believe that content is king and that syndication is the role of social. All of our corporate social networks are growing at 100+% year-over-year, and we don’t expect you to go to Coca-Cola Journey every day. Rather, we want to make sure a Coke story is part of your daily habit – whether it’s on Google+, Facebook, or Flipboard.”

A very smart move by a large corporation to rethink, test, learn and optimize on how best to take their story direct to their audience. We all know that pressure is now greater than ever for brands to crack through and retain audience attention in our cluttered content-driven world.This is also just the beginning. High impact brands are constantly refining their approach to content marketing and brand publishing models are getting more advanced each day. And guess what? Advanced content marketing takes a lot of time, planning, coordination and resources.

As 2014 sneaks up and you refine your marketing plan for the year ahead, it may be time to think about hiring a Chief Content Officer (CCO) to join the team. Here are five supporting reasons why that may be a wise decision:

1. Brand Storytelling is Decentralized

In many companies, PR/communications departments are still separate from Marketing, which typically struggles to bridge the almighty gap with Sales. While a CCO will likely operate under Marketing, he or she can help serve as the tie between the different departments to make sure there is clear coordination between target audiences, overarching content strategy, engagement tactics, production needs and timing as well as provide a single framework for measurement and analysis.

2. Brand Storytelling is Often Episodic

Most brands love to identify a few key events, product announcements and company milestones to center their storytelling around over the course of a year. A CCO will quickly view this approach as a sliver of what’s possible for bringing a brand’s story to life. The shift in approach under a CCO’s guidance will be one that takes a brand from acting as an “episodic” to “always on” storyteller that finds new and unique ways to provide touchpoints with a target audience.

3. Content Consistency is a Mess

Smartly targeted content that always achieves a goal of educating, informing or entertaining your target audience? Brand voice, tone and visual ID consistency across every piece of marketing content? Minus a CCO, forget about it. Brands need a consistent strategic filter to help guide the development, production and distribution of impactful content.

4. Project Management is a Beast

It always is. But it’s also the factor that’s going to ultimately determine the success of your brand’s content marketing efforts. I have no doubt that most brands can come up with a great strategic vision and content ed-cal but it all comes down to orchestrating and guiding the process from planning through execution. Writers, editors, graphic designers, video producers, paid syndication coordinators, analytics coordinators…there are a lot of moving pieces to maintain an “always on” content marketing operation.

5. Digital and Social DNA is Still at a Premium

At the heart of it all, a CCO is going to help bring a company together, educate key internal stakeholders on the importance and value of content marketing, push operations along and serve as an external “connector” to help keep the brand abreast of new trends and technologies that will help support content marketing efforts.

So, with all that said, how does one go about finding one of these cherished CCOs? It will be a challenge. Talent with this type of deep cross-functional skills is hard to come by but the pool is growing. The best part? The always fantastic Joe Pulizzi has done all the hard work for you with this excellent job description outline for the role. Happy CCO hunting.

photo credit: Sean MacEntee via photopin cc

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