Authenticity is Clutch. Why You Should Stop Co-Branding Content

Last week my four-year-old daughter interrupted a call with an investor to tell me she went to the stream with our nanny and accidentally ran into a cactus. After I quickly wrapped up my call I spent the next 20 minutes pulling cactus thorns out of her leg…well, 18 minutes convincing her it wouldn’t hurt and two minutes on actual extractions. As I sit here writing this, her two-year-old sister is sitting outside my office door singing “Let it gooooo, let it goooo.” I think she’s singing to me, to all of us really. Just let it go. The pretense, the formality, the smoke and mirrors. All of it.

Whether you’re navigating cuteness interruptions from a kiddo or pet, helping aging parents get on zoom with their place of worship/family/friends… “No Dad, point it down, I can only see your forehead!”, dealing with not seeing your friends and family up close, or worse, dealing with COVID-19 on a more personal level, everyone is going through this shit (sorry not sorry). Did I mention we’re also potty training?

The past few months have been incredibly trying and caused the need for some reassessment of priorities, of our norms, and of our tolerance for other people’s “stuff” to encroach on a professional setting. I must say, this no-nonsense “I don’t have time for B.S.” attitude is a huge breath of fresh air! I’m enjoying people being more honest, more vulnerable, and more authentic and I don’t think I’m the only one.

In the channel, this communication style also has to trickle down to your content and your programs. Partners want to know where you stand and how you will help them be successful. Specifically with demand generation. They need to be more honest and transparent with their ask of prospects and that means your content needs to be more empathetic while still delivering a message that resonates with your joint prospects and customers. But how? 

  • No Nonsense Content: Prospects and customers want to hear about business outcomes and easy to solve pain points, not speeds and feeds. This means your infographics, eBooks, one-pagers, and videos should be about:
      1. The problem
      2. How people have tried solving it in the past
      3. Why your solution is different
      4. The amazing outcome they will realize after they’ve implemented your solution. Does anyone else hear Kumbaya playing?!?
  • Instead of Co-Branding Make it a Testimonial: You don’t have to totally stop co-branding but think about what you’re doing. You’re trying to have your brand or your content match hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of other brands. What if instead, your Partners just endorsed your content? What if they were totally honest and said “Hey! This is a great piece of content from {insert your company name here}. I work with them because I think they have the best solution for solving {insert pain point here}. Take a look at their great piece of content. Testimonial content is huge right now. Partly because decision makers and influencers are under the age of 40 and prefer this type of real use-case content.
  • Video, video, video…and webinars and podcasts too! Bottom line, people don’t want to read anything. There’s no time. Most of my peers don’t even read actual books anymore! Like paper ones. The only reason we really even write this blog anymore is for SEO. In fact if you’re still reading it I’d love to know. Are you? I’m actually curious. Email me if so just for a chuckle. My point is, you need to allow Partners to make intros for videos, webinars, and podcasts, while still making it obvious that it’s yours. Not overbranding or speeds and feeds (see point 1) but still not trying to make it look like the Partner created it. They saw it, then endorsed it, and finally sent it to their audience. Authentic! 

And on that note. Here’s a quick video about this topic so you actually get to hear it!