Last week, as I participated in Co-op’s annual Sporting Challenge (culminating in me cross-country skiing in front of hundreds of clients, colleagues and, erm, Kriss Akabusi), it seemed an excellent time to reflect on how I ended up here.
I’m currently group account director for Co-op Food. It’s been a journey in publishing that started shortly after graduation, with a tricky choice between a publisher of textbooks for the legal profession and a Soho-based purveyor of more adult content. I opted for the former on CV-respectability grounds. But possibly health grounds too.
In that role, I was responsible for commissioning titles on imminent changes to the legal system. And I know what you’re thinking – how much fun can a young buck in his early 20s possibly handle? But, from a purely content-agnostic point of view, staying ahead of the competition and being ahead of the content curve are stimulating and rewarding challenges. I once commissioned and published from scratch a handbook on a seismic shift in law in less than five weeks, beating our nearest competitor by months, and it sat on our bestseller list for ages.
Anticipating currents in the publishing industry, I then moved into agency world. After a stint delivering creative campaigns in public health, I spent some time developing content for Volvo, helping them to articulate their transition from a volume to a premium auto brand.
And while these disparate content streams have seemingly little in common, really it all flows back to the core principles of content creation: knowing your audience (whoever they might be), understanding how they tick, and creating the very best content for your customers, in the way they want it served.
My current role is a particularly good fit for me. I’m a keen foodie and spend a lot of time cooking for my family, so I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to eat well. I’m really proud of the work we deliver for Co-op, and it seems as if customers agree. This year alone, more than five of our videos have reached over 600,000 viewers, and two of those over 1m (900k+ within the first two days). And, with recent customer research telling us that the magazine has a more positive effect in driving NPS scores and perceptions of quality and inspiration than other channels, we’re delighted to see continuous rewards for our work for Co-op and their customers.