Father's Day is now over for another year and I very much enjoyed being centre of attention again! It's a great feeling to still be at that stage of life where my children run to the door every day when I get home from work - my daughter is seven and my sons are five and three. It's also particularly rewarding being able to relive my youth vicariously and we've recently dug out all of my old Transformers toys for them to play with. Although watching these thirty year old bits of plastic fall apart in their hands has been quite traumatic!

Another big bonus of having young children is that they all still think I'm cool. I know that the time will soon come when my gorgeous children will morph overnight into terrifying, wised-up, mini-adults. I reckon I’ve got three years, tops. Sometimes I look at the boys (and even the girl) and I can see the cynical teenager in the post.

I can see how it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking they will always see me as someone to look up to but, just because they have treated me as such for a number of years, simply being a Dad is not enough to qualify eternally for this accolade. The only cool Dad's are cool adults already - really, the words 'Dad' and 'Cool' should never be used together.

This got me thinking about the world of digital marketing and how it is still currently perceived as the profession of young and progressive thinkers. However, it may be becoming less so as the older generation (in trying to stay relevant) continue to fully embrace the world of Netflix, wireless printers and smartphones they are being usurped with a rising generation who subvert these advancements and deliberately embrace retro-chic technologies such as record players, vintage clothes and Nokia 3210's. It's clearly not cool to want to be like your parents!

What does the future hold?
With jobs such as 'Head of Digital', 'App Designer' and 'Social Media Manager' not existing ten years ago it's easy to think that by working in these roles you are quite cutting edge but as the majority of companies properly assimilate these into their working practices there will come a time when they will no longer be seen as 'disruptive'. These jobs will be indistinguishable from any other role and will be seen as no different to any other corporate function.

At the moment it's hard to see a time when this might happen as the world of digital is moving so fast. I constantly feel as if I am having to run to keep up, with the speed of developments accelerating rapidly. However, there will come a time when I will peak and become that member of staff, who we all know, who sees no benefit in staying relevant and prints out their emails to read at the weekend or who hasn't yet grasped the concept of a 'Shared drive'. This may be quite hard for some to take - especially for someone like myself who discounted the idea of going into teaching through the fear I'd be spending more time trying to persuade the pupils I was cool rather than teaching them!

My childhood in ruins...
As far as I see it the only option I have with my children is to continue to act like a parent and not a friend. It may be harder to be tough and responsible than to be matey but that is really what children want from their parents. No-one wants to hear about their parent's exploits when they were younger and as a Dad I'm there to be respected, not liked. If I set out to be respected, I might be liked, but if I set out only to be liked, I will never be respected. The age to be 'friends' with my children is when they are 38, not 12.

By mixing a bit of the new with the old this will help in ensuring we all stay happy and don't cross over into each others comfort zones by risking becoming a 'helicopter' parent - and anyway, no-one wants to see a thirty-eight year old man playing with Transformers toys!
With 'content marketing' being the phrase of the moment the digital marketing industry is focusing all of it's efforts on creating 'great content' - we tried our hand at this ourselves with our #KierHeroes campaign. The majority of big brands are using this as something to aspire to and the main reason for this may actually be that it's the type of content that wins awards and generates lots of social media comments and likes.

However, the big question is does it actually sell? With all this emphasis on the next exciting campaign idea one of the best ways to differentiate and exploit may actually be what is seen as 'boring content'. The reason no-one discusses this is because brands are ashamed of content which doesn't seem to be exciting and innovative but in many cases it is a neglected resource. At Kier, many of our fellow FTSE 250 companies may well be businesses many people have never heard of but yet they all turn over millions of pounds a year. They certainly aren't known for great content but they clearly have content strategies in place. Below are a few examples of some work which we've done on our 'boring content':

Company values:

At Kier, there has been a big internal push on our values of Enthusiastic, Collaborative and Forward Thinking. There are reward schemes for colleagues who demonstrate these attributes and they are displayed on the walls of all of our offices and sites for us to abide by when carrying out business.

We also have a section outlining these values on our intranet, induction portal and website. The question is does your company have values so important and clear that you'd carve them into the office walls?!

Company locations:

Adding a list of locations to a website is typically one of those steps that just gets done at the end, but if your business has many locations and activities it can be really important that prospective customers know what you do and where.

This is why we continue to maintain and develop our locations map to help show what our 80+ offices do across the UK and internationally. It’s a quick way for our prospects to learn a lot about us.

Company achievements:

The work of some businesses are technical by their very nature and there really is no other way to sell them. By presenting a clear road map if what has been achieved to date and the plans for the future you can demonstrate how what you have learned to date will influence your future strategy.

At Kier, we have done this for our continued Scape Minor Works Framework in the form of some concise statistics. No amount of YouTube videos or Pinterest pages will convince you more than this simple infographic.

Customer care:

Ensuring your customers and stakeholders get a good service is more essential for any brand than before. We have been doing a lot of work to streamline our customer care form to ensure that enquires are directly piped to the relevant departments.

Not only does this ensure much faster response times but it also reduces the amount of manual intervention required in forwarding comments to the correct business contact or in reporting.

Annual report:

This is a requirement for all businesses of our size and potentially could just be produced as part of a box ticking exercise. Shareholders rarely see engaging content that is designed specifically for them.

Given that they either fund the business (shareholders) or are critical to its running (employees) they need content as well. If anything the content created for them should have at least the same effort as that for customers. This is why we have made the effort to present the highlights in a more easily digestible format and not rely on the reader to have to download a weighty PDF document!


It's clear that none of this content is going to win any awards or be heavily shared on social media. It exists to both convert and educate and is important in building a brand story that is not just about the exciting and photogenic parts. Without it there's a real danger that we are presenting an impression of no real substance and that isn't there to aid conversions - Ultimately that's what we ask from every piece of content we create whether it's boring or great.
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home