Logistics company TNT is looking to transform digitally. But how do you guarantee consistency across all of your online communication channels when you operate in over 200 countries and communicate in 36 languages? An interview with Denise Kuschewski, Head of Digital Content at TNT.
It has been under a year since Kuschewski joined the company. What she encountered upon her arrival last Spring was an internationally operating company with decentralised content production for hundreds of websites. Content wasn’t being used to build trust and to gain the customers’ trust, she recently stated at the Adobe Symposium.
“Imagine that someone receives a package through TNT and uses the online Track & Trace tool. The content needs to be so confidence-inspiring that the whole delivery process becomes clear. It has to convince the recipient of the package to actually become a sender next time.”
So how did Kuschewski achieve this? By bringing the fragmented production of all digital corporate content back in-house. She calls it a centralised “content factory”. “The first step was to take stock of the content landscape. Who creates what, where and how often? It then became apparent that no one was really ultimately responsible for the quality and consistency. What’s more, there was no measurement of success. At that moment, content simply wasn’t a differentiating asset.”
The main ingredients in her content factory now are simplicity, following a set formula for content creation and establishing centralised control of the production. Shipping a package and the entire online process involved with that shipment should be clear and logical. Kuschewski refers to research carried out by the Nielsen Norman Group, which shows that the choice of words is an extremely important success factor in being able to complete an online task. Content must therefore be written according to the reading level of a thirteen-year-old.
Based on the challenges experienced by customers regarding the shipment of a package, the most important themes for content formulas were established. What are the issues they face? These seem to be, for example, preparing a shipment, but also international shipments. Kuschewski is transforming the most important facts concerning these topics into a formula for relevant, contextual storytelling with digital content.
In order to then safeguard the consistency of the content, a list containing terminology and a writing style guide was prepared. That quality control and centralised approach makes sure the output from the factory is easier to expand to local markets worldwide, Kuschewski explains in the interview.
You say that TNT has now competed about forty percent of its digital transformation and that content is a major pillar for the other sixty. What is the ultimate objective?
“Personalisation. We are currently implementing special tools that can help us determine what brings someone to the website. If you just called the service department, the right content is then found using the tags. In other words, we link the history to the content of our digital messaging. If, as a sender, you have ever had an incident where the package was damaged, a following e‑mail is automatically generated with information how you can avoid this in the future.”
“The main point of focus is on the design of a scalable process. We first need to systematically divide the new content up into small “digestible” portions. To this we add context based on meta data and tags. Because the content is subdivided into little pieces, you are able to reuse this content for several channels, in various formats and in different sequences. This ensures that you are consistent in tone and content. Together with the fact that the content is aligned with the specific situation of the customer, as a business you’re ultimately creating trust.”
“The basis for the reuse of content is a Data Management Platform that offers centralised access to all customer data. The implementation hasn’t been completed yet, but in the future we will be able to use dynamic data to understand and respond to countless scenarios in a format that is suitable for that situation. Whether the output is an e‑mail or a banner ad, the tools decide which content is best for that moment. After all, every customer journey is different and should be provided with contextually relevant content.”
What else has proved to be important in that factory?
“The right team structure. Since I joined the company and also due to developments in the areas of technology and conversion optimisation, that structure has evolved. For example, a subdivision for localisation has proved incredibly important. Our channels and messaging are localised in 36 languages, including the countless local variations such as British versus American English. It isn’t feasible to place all that prepared content in a spreadsheet and then simply leave it to a translation agency to get it right. That’s why I felt it was necessary to set up a senior position to oversee the design of a ‘localisation programme’ and the implementation of technology for the workflow.”
“Automating the workflow also leads to the immediate optimisation and systematic processing of reviewer feedback. Until recently, a local marketing manager was able to improve the translation as he or she saw fit, without these changes being communicated back to the translator. With the workflow tools, we can ensure translators receive feedback so they can continuously improve their translations.”
Consistency in content across channels and countries is an important starting point. By adding control to the content production process, from creation to localisation, Kuschewski believes you can also make the production process scalable. “Ultimately, this means it doesn’t really matter any more if you’re producing for three or for fifty countries.”
Find Denise Kuschewski on LinkedIn here