We’d love to hear from you!

CLOSE

* fields are required

-

-

Thank You!


Your message has been sent and we will
get back to you as soon as possible.

Return to Email Form
919.821.2921 509 W. North Street, Raleigh, NC 27603

Thank you for contacting us.

Your message has been received, we love starting new conversations. In fact, that's what we do best. We will contact you very shortly about how Centerline can help you get your message out.

Unless you work in a self-explanatory industry with clearly defined roles—-like if you are a “surgeon” or “knitter of delicate bow ties”—-the task of explaining what you do for a living can sometimes be just a little more fun than unclogging a lawn mower.

When I’m especially tired, my response is, “I strategerize the interwebs.” This is my tactic to distract the asker with a lame joke while I shovel food into my mouth, after which I cannot do anything else with their question because letting me chew has become the mutual priority. Most times, though, I’m up for the challenge and try to explain digital creative strategy and what I do. People look at me like I just invaded their personal space with a torrential downpour of word vomit.

So, I’m trying again.

You: “What is digital strategy?”
Me: “It is the putting on of an Edgar Suit.”
[This is when you ponder.]

You: “What is a digital strategist?”
Me: “It is someone who is crafty at wearing Edgar Suits.”
[This is when you stick with me and continue reading.]

Remember Edgar from the ’97 flick, Men in Black? Edgar is the farmer whose body becomes inhabited by an alien. First his insides get sucked out, naturally. All that remains is his Edgar shell…his skin suit, if you will. The alien puts on the Edgar Suit and stomps around town dropping demands for sugar water and causing trouble for our friends Will and Tommy Lee.

I am the alien in this scenario.

When the alien sucks out Edgar’s bones, guts and tasty insides, well, that’s symbolic of a strategist’s role during the ramp-up phase of a project: research. Research is a critical first step before we can even consider a creative concept, wireframe or proposed message. Without it, the stuff we make becomes “stuff we made” instead of “creative vehicles we designed to solve a problem.” Without it, the Edgar Suit won’t fit right.

After my belly is full of research, I slip on the Edgar Suit. Let’s start with the Edgar Suit of the brand (i.e. our client). Throughout the project, then, I’m asking things like:

  • Does this meet my business need, and will it help me achieve my goals (e.g. ROI, awareness)?
  • How does this differentiate us from competitors?
  • Does this message jive with our value proposition? Our vision? Long-term goals?

Then, after another helping of delicious research, I slide on the Edgar Suit of the customers (i.e. my target audience, the end users). So then I’m looking at things like this:

  • Is the message I’m interpreting genuine or contrived?
  • Is that marketing shenanigans, or is it information I genuinely need to make a buying decision?
  • Given my unique characteristics, can I easily navigate through this site?

To create engaging, accessible digital content, we have to do more than think like the brand and think like end users, we have to become them. Entrenching ourselves in their story–adopting their motivations, challenges, concerns and decision points–helps ensure we don’t bring our knowledge and preferences to the table and tarnish it with our subjectivity.

I love this statement from content strategy expert, Erin Kissane:

“To do our jobs well, we must balance an understanding of the context in which content is created (sourcing, business goals, workflow) with an understanding of the context in which it is read and used (user needs, delivery channels).”

That’s a more eloquent way of saying, “To do our jobs well, we must gladly rock some Edgar Suits.”

Now, be honest. Does this metaphor help demystify digital strategy? Or are you giving your screen the stink eye?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Tweets
Comments
  1. Hi Caitlin,
    I understand exactly what you mean about Strategizing after I read a bit of your explanation. I’m old school and to me EDGAR is a financial acrynym for Electronic Data Gathering and Retreival. I’ll share with the non-digital markerters.
    Hope all is well.

RELATED CONTENT: , ,

Blog | 05/14/2013

Users Don't Know What They Want (Talk to Them Anyway)

by Kate Williamson

Users Don't Know What They Want (Talk to Them Anyway)

Read Post

Blog | 09/26/2013

The Value of Stakeholder Interviews

by Ashley Wentz

The Value of Stakeholder Interviews

Read Post

Blog | 07/28/2011

Part One: Systems Thinking, A Welcome Disruption to Digital Strategy

by Steven Keith

Part One: Systems Thinking, A Welcome Disruption to Digital Strategy

Read Post

Blog | 06/10/2013

What is Accountable Creative? (Content Marketing Fuel)

by John Lane

What is Accountable Creative? (Content Marketing Fuel)

Read Post

Industry Insights | 04/07/2011

On Content Marketing Lies

Content is what conveys your brand message, inspires customers and differentiates you from everyone else. So even small-to-medium sized business can no longer make excuses for ducking out of the content marketing arena. These are some common content marketing lies debunked and some tips for develop...

Read Article

Blog | 04/11/2013

Information Architecture Requires Research, Data & Empathy

by Cait Vlastakis Smith

Information Architecture Requires Research, Data & Empathy

Read Post

Blog | 02/25/2013

Integrated World, Integrated Experience

by Kate Williamson

Integrated World, Integrated Experience

Read Post

Industry Insights | 06/17/2011

On the Correct Focus When Integrating Social Media

A content strategy (including social media) is an exercise in targeting: How is the message and medium right for the audience and in support of the business goals? So if the tactics lead (i.e. Twitter, Facebook) rather than the goal (i.e. customer service, cross-selling) it will fail.

Read Article

Blog | 01/24/2013

The Keys to Killer Content

by Sarah Riley

The Keys to Killer Content

Read Post

Blog | 03/04/2014

Going From

by John Roberts

Going From "Cool" to Useful

Read Post
Scroll To Top

509 W. North Street
Raleigh, NC 27603


919.821.2921

© COPYRIGHT 2014. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Corporate Responsibility