3 Things You Must Know About Chuck Kent Before Hiring Him
Just how much do you need to know before hiring me as a brand strategist, copywriter, content creator… or all of the above?
Here’s the thing. Brand strategy isn’t about brands. Copywriting isn’t about copy. And effective content creation isn’t about that much-too-antiseptic term “content.” They are all, however, about understanding, communicating and sharing the human condition. As a result, it actually does pay to get to know just how human I am prior to signing me up.
1) As a brand strategist, I don’t believe you can position a brand – rather, it has to be located.
The core of my brand consulting comes out of a conviction that effective brand positioning isn’t a matter of posturing a product or service in the best light but, rather, finding its simple truth. I’m with author Jonathan Baskin when he advises (in the title of the book by the same name) Tell the Truth: Honesty Is Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool. This is accomplished by listening (ideally one-on-one, with all constituencies and not just leadership), challenging assumptions and slapping an “IT”S NOT ABOUT YOU!” sticker on anyone’s forehead if they persist in corporate-centric ideas and phrases during one of my branding workshops (actually, I haven’t instituted that practice yet… but it sounds devilishly effective).
“It isn’t a matter of posturing a product or service in the best light but, rather, finding its simple truth.”
2) As a copywriter, I do believe that words have superpowers when treated with due respect
A slight warning here, as I may appear to be veering off into forbidden, and seemingly irrelevant, topic matter – but bear with me. You see, I come from a faith background that holds The Word to be at the beginning and center of everything. Words incarnate. Words bring things to life. Words not only perform linguistic functions, they also shape, infuse, create. They are to be used with imagination, as they will create images intentional or not. And they are to be held in respect, not treated as some commodity to be harvested from offshore content farms, or even from the new crop of domestic content factories, er, agencies. Consequently, their readers and hearers are to be respected as well. Otherwise, trouble ensues, minimally including the destruction of effective marketing communication.
“Words incarnate. Words bring things to life. Words not only perform linguistic functions, they also shape, infuse, create.”
3) As a content creator, I must be a servant before I can be a writer.
Hopefully this is not news to you: content works when it is useful. Content gets found when it answers the questions people are asking. Content, then, isn’t about the brand… it’s about helping a brand’s prospects. Again, this requires effective listening, but also a radical re-orientation of typical marketing priorities.
Instead of first selling to your “target” audience, content marketing demands taking a “what can we do for you” attitude first and foremost, one that not only asks that question but actively, preemptively seeks out what might be helpful to customers and prospects… things which they may not have even thought of yet. Jay Baer speaks to this at length in his book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not Hype (a concept that I got so excited about that I wrote and recorded an original song about it – at Jay’s request, but purposefully on my own dime).
“Content marketing demands taking a ‘what can we do for you’ attitude first”
So why the photo with you and your kids?
All of the human-centric talk above still may or may not explain to you why I chose to put a photo of my family at the top of this post. The answer has to do with the other requirement of branding these days: transparency.
Brands need to be open enough to let consumers see all the way through their glass houses… even to the messy rooms. Branding consultants and communicators need to observe that same necessity, to a degree. Hence, I show you a photo of myself, my lovely, hardworking wife and our two much-loved kids in order to demonstrate that a) I help create human-centric brand experiences out of a very human life context and b) I will work hard to earn your repeat business because, having come late to the daddy game, I have many years yet to work (although this photo is now a few years old).
What else do you need to know about Chuck Kent before you hire him/me?
Simply ask. I always strive to work in the mode of dialogue rather than monologue.