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

Campaign Marketing, Customer Experience, Customer Success
Marco Disseldorp

Posted on 07-20-2016

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