Can There Be Beauty in Business Content?

One of the open secrets of HubSpot's success is its focus on content.
We create lots of blog posts, white papers, videos and webinars that
filter across the internet and drive people back to our site, building
our brand, our leads and our sales.

Radiohead

We are not alone. Businesses everywhere are beginning to create
content. They're circumventing traditional media, publishing content
that helps them get found.

This is an excellent development. It's a more efficient, democratic way
of communicating with customers. Forget advertising, forget PR.
Businesses tell their own stories now.

Yet one question knaws at me: Can there be beauty in business content?

In traditional content, beauty is excellence.

Radiohead gives beautiful live performances.  Stanley Kubrick created
beautiful movies. Paul Krugman writes beautiful columns. This is the
type of work musicians, film makers and columnists aspire to.

Should business content creators aspire to the same type of beauty?
It's hard to imagine that with a business' pressures of time, volume
and purpose it could achieve such excellence — except that if business
content doesn't aim for excellence, it is doomed to be inferior, to be
bereft of beauty.

Can this be?

I think we need to change the unit of analysis.

For traditional content creators, beauty lies in the content itself.
The beauty of Radiohead's live performance is in the departures from
the recorded music, the excellence of
execution, the scale of the work, the visual electricity and the
artistry with which it's all woven together.

Whole Foods also produces beautiful content, but the beauty isn't in
the content itself — it's in the way the content reflects the
company.

This video about a grass-fed beef farmer in Georgia is nice, but not amazing in and of itself. What is amazing is the way it
reflects Whole Foods' business — the fact that they support
independent farmers with grants, their emphasis on locally grown food
and their work to inform consumers about the origins of their food.

Whole Foods' content is beautiful becuase it authentically
captures the beauty its business. That should be the ideal for business
content.

Photo: Radiohead in Milan by redbanshee

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4 thoughts on “Can There Be Beauty in Business Content?

  1. Rick,
    Great post!
    I often contemplate this with regard to content for professional theatres and arts organizations in general. There is an apprehension in putting video, audio, or photos online because the essential question that arises is: Does it do the end product on stage or in the concert hall justice?
    Too often the answer is no with the end result being no content creation. The justification becomes “there ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, so why should we even try?”
    Perhaps, more than changing as you say, the unit of analysis, or we need to redefine how we assess beauty. The more and more I think about it (as I write this comment) is that beauty is defined by the level of connection, engagement, and participation the content creates—the ability for the content to create or build community.
    A community will come and support you when times are tough and also become the most authentic spokespeople for your brand.
    So, perhaps, beautiful content builds community?
    Thanks, again, for the though-provoking post.
    Nick

    Like

  2. Nick, Thanks for the great comment. I agree that we should redefine how we assess beauty. And I agree that it should include the level of connection, engagement and participation that content creates. I’ve been thinking of it like an organism lately — lots of parts that fit together organically to form a beautiful whole.

    Like

  3. “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”…
    I’m currently putting a blog together for the company I work for, which provides a system to banks. Trying to turn banking content into a thing of beauty is a daunting task. But when I think of your analogy with Radiohead and Kubrick I think of the famous statement above. While there are large communities (or Tribe’s in the words of Seth) that find these two artists to be beautiful, there’s a large community that do not. Same rule should apply to the business world.

    Like

  4. Luke, I agree that it’s important to remember who the beholder is. My point is that with a blog like the one you’re creating, or that I write for at HubSpot, it really shines brighter when you think of it within the context of the whole business, and its community.

    Like

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