“Puso” & “Ulo”, or the Heart & the Head of Content Marketing


Last week our team had a wonderful couple of days in the Philippines, where Anthony Hearne presented at the IMMAP Summit in Manila and talked about Puso & Ulo (i.e. “heart” and “head” in Tagalog – Philippines’ official language), and why they are so important in content marketing.

What do heart and head have to do with content marketing, you ask?

Well, have you seen the recent Pixar movie Inside Out? It’s an animated movie set in the mind of a young girl – Riley – where five personified emotions — Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust — try to lead her through life as she moves to a new city with her parents.

The movie is a great reminder of the power that emotions have on our lives. It is also a reminder of the power of storytelling, and how we all love stories. Just like Riley’s, our lives are constantly dominated by emotions, and for a brand to touch our “puso” (our heart) and strike emotions within us, it takes a great story. Because content alone – when it doesn’t create emotions, when it doesn’t tell a story – doesn’t build a brand.

To quote the great, late, American author Maya Angelou, “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Great stories create emotions and build brands

In traditional advertising, it was even more challenging for brands to find meaningful ways to reach an audience. Brands were confined to boxes – advertising boxes: the 30 seconds TV commercial, the radio infomercial, the print ad or banner ad. Brands were guests on media owners’ sites, and had to live in boxes.

Then came content marketing, and with it, its endless possibilities to tell stories in an authentic way, to connect with audiences through emotions, and through those emotions, get to the “ulo” (the head) of those audiences, by building trust. Smart marketers have understood the importance of trust and of tapping into emotions, and are constantly striving to tell stories, to build that emotional connection with their audiences.

A great example? The 2012 campaign by Coca-Cola Philippines, “Where Will Happiness Strike Next?”.
Coca Cola decided to bring home several Overseas Filipino Workers who had lived apart from their families for many years. The campaign resulted in a heart-wrenching video which immediately went viral, generating 1.3 million views and more than 17,000 “likes” within few days. Here’s the short video (be sure to keep some tissues handy, it’ll make you cry!)

Brands need trust to fuel growth

Today, we hear a lot about big data, programmatic, marketing automation, predictive modelling, analytics: those are all important tools that make marketers’ lives easier, but we need not forget that at the core of any successful brand strategy there is still a human factor – a human connection that is created through emotions and fuelled through trust.

An expression that we often like to quote is: “Trust is like an eraser – it gets smaller and smaller with every mistake”. It means that, if you’re a brand, lack of transparency and respect for your audience can seriously undermine the experience for all parties in the ecosystem – consumers, content providers and publishers.

Trust is crucial, and content marketing, more than anything else, has the power to build that trust and connection that marketers are always striving for. Through content, brands can be of value to consumers, drive their choices, enrich their lives, shape mindsets, and ultimately lead to a deep emotional connection with a brand that transcends its rational attributes.

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