The old adage, “content is king,” is being superseded by the concept that context is, in fact, one of the most significant factors for success in business (and that means meetings and marketing!) today. Michael Dominguez, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer of MGM Resorts International, has commented on this extensively in relation to approaching Millennials, and it has us thinking.

In the past, a rebrand was a freshening of messages and the introduction of a new look. It was all content development. Meanwhile, the internal component was an afterthought, with all the focus on communicating to customers, prospects, and partners. This left employees feeling that the company made cosmetic changes, but there was little commitment to getting employee buy-in and ensuring that corporate values and activities are aligned with the company’s mission and strategy. Today we are realizing that often an organization’s culture needs to change to better align the workplace with its new branding and goals.

Now, leading organizations are approaching rebrands as institutional re-launches: not only are they updating taglines, logos, websites, and color palettes, they’re making changes in corporate culture that are implemented as part of the effort. This makes sense. A full rebrand is a tremendous expenditure in both dollars and hours, so it should reflect – and be reflected by – corporate culture. This awareness of context will help drive a successful rebrand by ensuring that employees are invigorated and that they understand their role in the company’s success.

Similarly, events must demonstrate that they’ve considered not just the content, but the experience of attendees: the value attendees derive from an event is not just in its sessions. Are the sessions at an upcoming event the same as previous events, but repackaged with a new title, or is it valuable new content that addresses the ever-changing needs and interests of those who will be attending?

Yes, meetings are great opportunities to network, sometimes in an exciting new venue, but budgets are tight, so it’s often a challenge to justify that time away. By considering the real-world needs of participants and tailoring content to them, they’ll be more eager to buy-in and attend – in other words, they will perceive true benefit and value for themselves.

Evaluating the Context

How do we do this, then?

  • Look around. What’s happening in the industry? What are employees and executives hearing when they talk to customers and partners? What’s working internally, and what’s not working, and how does that align with the organization’s mission and goals?
  • Develop accountability. Clearly communicate the organization’s values, and back it up with action. Let customers, partners, and your internal organization know that the company can’t be successful without them. Demonstrate a commitment to listening and responding to all stakeholders.
  • Re-evaluate regularly. Organizations are living things, and they cannot operate in a vacuum. The context is always changing, whether it’s consumer trends, the economy, technology, internal goals, regulatory requirements, or any of the myriad other factors that affect your business.

Tell us how you have approached the context vs. content conundrum in your organization!