Content Without Empathy = Failure

By Arjun Basu
February 28th, 2017

Content

We all need a real live human every now and then.

I read two things a few days ago. Both feel a bit in conflict with the other. But perhaps they’re not. First, the news that video is an effective form of content is nothing new. But video was never supposed to completely replace the written word. In our world, we employ video as part of a well-thought out content strategy, another touchpoint for consumers. But now, here’s a piece that says video is the new blogging. What does that mean for the written word? (I’m a writer so I take this personally.)

Maybe it doesn’t mean anything. But maybe it means there is too much content, too many blogs, too many words, all vying for your attention, with strategies that are starting to feel a bit pat, and that the inevitable reaction to all this content for contents’ sake is…escape. There are still marketing professionals pushing content because they have a calendar. The content is secondary, the message is secondary, the reason for sending anything out is secondary, but the calendar, that’s sacred. Surely there is a backlash when this happens. When we overwhelm the consumer with…stuff. Like a small island ecosystem overwhelmed by, I don’t know, rats, there can be too much of a good thing and when the natural world figures it out things begin to die.

If video is going to replace blogs and all we get are blogs-on-videos without any strategy, well, videos will be replaced as well. A lack of strategy, flooding the market, not thinking things through – these are all signs of a lack of empathy. Which brings me to the second thing I read recently. AI/bots, etc do not replace experience. At least not yet. Shoppers….like shopping (I don’t but that’s another story). The home-based voice activated shopping bot hasn’t replaced the joy of finding that perfect shirt (or dress or shoes or perfume or dinnerware or…). It will one day, for sure, and while this flies in the face of the evidence of shopping mall closures and bleating on about the death of bricks and mortar, it is validated when we consider that successful shopping is now based around experiences. Stores that entice and delight, offering experiences based on empathy, work in other words. Interestingly enough, there are already great uses of technology (and video) coming out that function as visual metaphors for “authenticity” and, yes, empathy.

There’s that word again. Content without empathy is a failure. As a brand, or as a content marketer entrusted with telling brand stories on behalf of your clients, you ignore this basic truth at your peril.

About the Author

  • arjun-basu profile pic
    Arjun Basu
  • Arjun Basu is Senior Vice President, Content Strategy, at Bookmark. And a big fan of bourbon.