I’ve just read an article by marketing author Mark Schaefer which is spot-on, as ever.

He talks about his favourite piece of ‘branded content’ — a short promotional YouTube video from outdoor clothing company North Face which has had over eight million views.

His most important point (my bolding) is:

“One of my biggest frustrations with content marketing is its inward focus — how we tell a story about us. Guru after guru is out there teaching … how we [should] cleverly reveal the arc of our company tale.

People don’t give a crap about the “arc” of your company story. People really only care about themselves and what makes them happy. This tale from North Face is not a story about the company. It’s a story about the customers and that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?”

This is bang on.

Companies obsess about themselves. To some extent, that’s natural. But what isn’t rational or healthy is assuming people in the outside world will be as interested as you are.

You can see this unconscious assumption in rambling web site accounts of what a company does or where it’s come from … in pompous-sounding verbiage talking about the company in the third person … and videos with long, self-indulgent intros displaying the company logo in flashy ways which no-one except its own marketing director wants to sit and watch.

It’s fine to say something about your history, team and work — as long as it’s framed in how that helps your customers, employees, partners or stakeholders. Focus on what you can do for them.

It isn’t always an easy tone to strike, but it’s important.

You can read Mark Schaefer’s blog post and see the North Face video here.