Our new brand identity, and trends for 2020

News

WoodWing has been supporting publishers for almost two decades. As we expand into new areas, we have also created a new visual identity. Here we talked to WoodWing CEO Ross Paterson about the reasons behind the brand relaunch, his thoughts on the coming year, and the role WoodWing plays in how brands and publishers tell their stories. 

 

Tell us about the brand relaunch. What prompted it?

We have recently done a lot of work on revitalizing our culture and refining our purpose. A new brand identity helps us to crystallize this work, and reinforce it externally, while the butterfly logo helps us retain our links with our roots. But this is just a part of a bigger effort. Along with this we want to share how we see the future of storytelling shaping up for brands and publishers - and of course where we fit in. 

"The major trend I see is towards content-first approach."

How are brands and publishers evolving their approach to storytelling in 2020?

The major trend I see is towards content-first approach. By this I mean the starting point of a story is simply the idea, and the channel or channels it is published in is irrelevant until later on. This is an approach gaining traction with a number of our customers. The benefit is that with a few layout tweaks the content can easily be repurposed for any channel, therefore giving greater ROI. This is the opposite of how some organizations are doing it - for example in some marketing departments you will have a social media team, which may come up with a piece of content or story just for Facebook. Or a publisher may be creating stories with a single channel or title in mind. Obviously, implementing a true content-first approach requires workflow and cultural changes. 

Are there implications for technology too?

Yes. Often content-first is thought of as an organizational approach, but it is equally important to consider your systems and tools. A good example is how AI is used to apply metadata to digital assets and content. AI is often siloed in a channel in a similar way - often I see it applied only to assets or content that sits in a specific channel, such as a CMS. That to me is dangerous, as it locks that image or other content to that channel. A better approach is to enrich content with AI-powered metadata at the beginning of the content value chain, so it can be opened up to any channel. So a genuine content-first approach requires organizations to think about systems and tools too. 

Do you see any trends specific to brands or publishers?

In the publishing world we are seeing innovative publishers taking a much more data-driven approach to content creation, management, and crucially, reuse. This approach can deliver big benefits as ad spend continues to drift away from traditional publishers. And that is where publishers can learn from marketers. While publishers generally see content reuse as a positive, since it reduces cost, few are really creating content with reuse in mind. 

One publisher doing this really well is our customer Aller Media. They are pre-planning and creating content with reuse in different titles planned in from the start, as well as putting KPIs on everything they create. This is simultaneously reducing the volume of content required, while increasing the quality. That is only possible of course if publishers have centralized systems in which contributors across titles are working.

Brands understand the power of a great story, and more than that they understand that people buy into these stories - Red Bull, Apple, and Nike being a few of the best-known examples. Storytelling gives them a competitive advantage. Over the past few years, many brands have been adding to the plumbing and manpower needed to bring their storytelling alive - new tools for creation and management, new channels, and new content creators.

Due to these storytelling and technology trends, I would not be surprised to see a new kind of role emerge - Content Director, or perhaps in some cases a Chief Content Officer, who will look at both the organizational and tooling aspects of storytelling. These people may take draw on insights - or even be recruited from - the publishing world. And they will be thinking about how to orchestrate their content (editor's note: read more about Content Orchestration here) - working towards a state in which tools are seamlessly integrated and working with one another, combined with strong workflow management, training, and organization. This is where marketing teams can learn from publishers. 

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Ross Paterson

How does WoodWing fit into these trends?

At some point technology enabled the leap of human storytelling from around the campfire onto cave wall paintings, another breakthrough enabled writing, and a huge number of other leaps enabled sharing stories on personal devices carried in people’s pockets around the world. 

Looking from this very wide-angle view, we see ourselves as part of the evolution of storytelling. Our first product in 2001 enabled Adobe InDesign and Adobe InCopy - two tools that helped publishers to tell their stories - to work together. Now we enable publishers and brands to tell their stories to people around the world, no matter what channel they consume the story in. We were the first software provider to enable magazines to publish on the iPad, and this year became a preferred partner of Apple to support publishers in Apple News Format for Apple News+. But no matter what new channels emerge, or how technology evolves, our key reason to exist will be to let our customers tell their stories.

What is coming up for WoodWing on a product level?

Our current offering comprises two key integrated products - a content creation and workflow solution and a DAM solution. This is a unique offering that means you create, manage and publish stories all through WoodWing solutions. We are working on evolving this from a product-oriented offering to a cloud-based technology suite. This means our customers will have the ability to create and collaborate on stories, and manage digital assets in the same suite. We still have some work to do, but I am very excited to collaborate with our partners and customers to enrich the technology and ensure they can tell their stories to their audiences, no matter where their audiences may be. 

Rhys Wesley, Senior Content Marketer

News junkie and content marketer, observing how brands are behaving like publishers, and publishers are becoming more like brands.