Branding , Marketing & PR , Yes& General

Brand that Content!

Mark DeVito

How Effective is Your Content Strategy if Your Brand Doesn’t Come Along for the Ride?

Content marketing can be a powerful tool for a company or organization looking to build an audience. If your content strategy is focused on your consumers’ needs and interests—and delivered via the channels to which they gravitate—good work!

You still need to ask yourself one hard question: does your content truly reflect your brand?

If it does not, then at best you are missing opportunities to create positive brand touchpoints. At worst, it can introduce confusion about who you are and what you represent. If your content is off-brand—or if it doesn’t really present a brand at all—you risk alienating audiences you’ve invested years of effort and lots of money to cultivate.

We’re not talking about just throwing in your logo and approved colors. We’re talking about the way a strong brand captures your purpose, values, personality, and reason for being. Every interaction you have with your audience needs to further that experience and that differentiation.

The Lego Movie is a great example of content working in this way. Lego is a brand that does not need to explain its product to its voracious fans. Instead, the movie represents Lego core values like creativity, imagination, and play. A movie that just used Lego characters might have been entertaining; but it was a master stroke to deploy content that made the reasons we love Lego its central theme.

Because brand is such an important part of a content strategy, it’s risky to just assume that copywriters and designers are going to get it right. It’s even riskier to delegate content to AI.

AI can be a wonderful tool for SEO, outlining, and even as a springboard for content ideas. But—at least so far—AI output lacks humor, empathy, and emotional intelligence. Because it scrapes information from what is already online, it lacks originality and authority (while still being prone to hallucinations, misinformation, or plagiarism). Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of letting AI work counter to your brand when your audience wonders “If a company can’t be bothered to write it, why should I bother to read it?”

In contrast, look at what Birkenstock accomplished by working with The New York Times’ T Brand Studio to create its “Ugly for a Reason” content marketing campaign. Its centerpiece was a three-part documentary on the history of the human foot. The message: our footwear may not be the prettiest, but it is the healthiest for the wearer and for the environment. The content is informative, health-focused, and right on brand for Birkenstock. Well done!

So how can you make sure your content reflects the brand?  Here are some tips:

Get your own brand house in order. If you can’t describe why your organization, product or service is different than everyone else’s; what greater purpose your organization stands for; or how your audience should feel when interacting with your brand, back up and do a brand audit to find out what work you need to do.

Formulate a brand filter and apply it to every piece of content in your strategy. Apply questions like “Would someone know if this is from us even if we didn’t say so?” “After experiencing this, will people feel what we want them to feel?” Don’t post the content until the answer is “yes.”

Templatize your content to emphasize your brand. At Yes& we frequently use subtitles that include “The Yes” “The &” and “Why it Matters” to make sure we’re following our own principles. (How did we do?)

Word up. Your brand probably comes forward in certain words or phrases, or even syntax. Analyze your content for writing style: do you use your brand lexicon (or too many antonyms)? Are you a “passive” brand or an “active” brand in terms of sentence structure, and does that come out in your written content.

But don’t just write. Visuals and video can deliver a lot more brand impact than words alone, and stock or AI-generated images can only go so far. Consider investing in quality short-form video and your own library of photographs. The right partner can provide you with a suite of branded materials that you can use over and over.

Rinse and repeat branded material. Your brand wasn’t built in a day. But consider a systematic program of qualitative research with your stakeholders to find out whether THEY think your content is reflecting the brand you work so hard to create.

So do it! Brand that content. And if you need some additional thinking to bring it to life, let’s chat. We’re ready to accept your content strategy (“Yes!”) and help you add even more value than you expected (“&”!) 



Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

Let’s talk about what the power of "&" can do for you.

Mark DeVito
Chief Strategy Officer