Human-centred design and content strategy / NZMP
NZMP, the global dairy ingredients brand of Fonterra, wanted a new year-long video content strategy to align with their business objectives of moving from a commodity-focused to value-added offering. The audience was both internal and external – B2B dairy ingredients customers from around the world, as well as the employees of NZMP and Fonterra. The internal audience was somewhat sceptical of the marketing produced to date and lacked trust that the marketing team and their creative partners could understand their world.
Our content strategy
Previously, NZMP's marketing had been very scientific, technical and dry in tone. We believed that by adding an emotional reason to believe in the brand, we would add value – giving NZMP a competitive advantage, and providing staff with a sense of pride. We understood that NZMP's dairy experts are passionate, focused, ingenious and yet humble people. If we allowed NZMP's customers to see those personality traits with their own eyes, and develop empathy for these dairy experts, we believed they would value the business relationship even more.
Applying human-centred design
The creative strategy was about bringing warmth and humanity to the content. We weren't going to just focus on what NZMP manufacture, but who these experts are, how they overcome challenges, and how their personalities help make the business what it is. So, applying elements of human-centred design to the content creation process made a lot of sense. It would help us to deeply engage and empathise with the subjects of our videos - NZMP employees - who would also form one of our main audiences.
Co-designing and being agile
We workshopped and devised the content strategy and storytelling frameworks together with the client, based on pre-existing brand values. Below you can see one (out of three) of these content pillars for the year.
We agreed to take an agile process - collaborating regularly, quickly deploying work, evaluating, and then iterating or pivoting with the next content pillar if needed. Our collaborative, flexible approach really helped to foster a brilliant level of trust with the client and stakeholders.
NZMP is a large, complex organisation with a relatively opaque structure and highly technical, domain-specific scientific work being undertaken. Going into our research we were dealing with high levels ambiguity - there was much to learn in a short time frame!
We undertook phone interviews, in-person interviews and desk-based online research, which helped us to understand structures and hierarchies of departments and the interactions of various business units. We were open to new information as well as finding additional new contacts.
Affinity mapping techniques were employed to help us make sense of the large amount of qualitative data uncovered.
Research was synthesised and first-draft story synopses were written up, marrying together the marketing strategy with the genuine project goals and achievements of these NZMP dairy experts.
'Characters' were then selected and a second round of phone interviews conducted. We gained greater understanding and detail of their roles, projects, achievements and challenges, as well as their personalities and interests outside work
Characters and story synopses were shared with client and stakeholders and workshopped further, taking on additional feedback. Story synopses were turned into interview questions for the documentary interviewing process. The filmmaking crew then filmed interviews on site.
Back at the agency, the filmed interviews were transcribed, then the stories were reshaped in the edit suite. We then presented the first cut to the client, collaborating on revisions for second and then final edits of the video.
Working in an agile manner meant that we decided after creating the first video that we could repurpose some of the footage to create an additional piece of 'snackable' content for social media purposes.
At the end of the first round of content creation, we evaluated our process and the completed videos and decided to pivot on our content structure - changing from two pieces of video content per pillar, to one piece of storytelling content that was more of an overview, and two shorter videos that were more technical 'deep dives' allowing the characters to go into more detail on their projects and areas of expertise.
Helping the client address the customer's needs
At this point, we also helped the client to navigate and visualise a complex web of internal and external touchpoints for the content roll-out using customer journey mapping