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How Soho Flordis International took control of its content strategy

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The multilayered healthcare company found success by centralising its activities and building a made-to-order content engine.

Put yourself in the shoes of Kate Brown, who is Global Social Media and Content Manager of Soho Flordis International (SFI). The large natural healthcare business has four brands operating in discrete markets across multiple regions. Some of its clients are B2B – distributors or doctors and other health-care practitioners – especially in Asia. Others sell directly to the public.

SFI is a complex commercial beast. It has a global fish oil product called Equazen and a probiotics brand, Klaire Labs, that mainly sells in the US and Asian markets. Potter’s is a UK-facing brand that dates back to 1812. Then there’s Australia-based Flordis, which markets a range of health-related products across Asia, the Middle East and South Africa.

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SFI’s Kate Brown

When Brown joined SFI in 2017, this level of complexity presented difficulties – not least because it diminished marketing effectiveness. “Each of the brands was doing their own thing in each of their markets, which meant all of the messaging and look and feel were really disconnected and there was no consistency globally,” she says.

Brown believed the best approach would be to take one of its hero brands – Flordis – and create a central resource for its digital and social media content. She engaged the services of marketing technology company Cooperate to create a central platform and consultancy Ubiquity Lab to help provide brand meaning, devising a strategy that aligned SFI’s content with its business goals.

“We centralised the budget and produced more content from a central resource,” Brown says. “We could then roll this out across our markets. This enabled local markets to spend more of their budget on amplification rather than using it all on the production of content.”

Through the Cooperate platform, SFI can create websites and marketing campaigns “in a box”, ready to use and adapt by local teams to meet the demands of individual markets. This has been a boon for SFI’s many affiliates and distributors, who deal with varying regulatory and customer requirements.

“Not only does this [arrangement] support the local businesses, it saves them money from having to build websites to house content and drive awareness of products,” Brown says.

“When you look at creating content from a consumer perspective, you’re asking them to consider ‘why should I care?’.”

As well as feeding targeted social media campaigns, SFI’s centralised global content strategy has allowed the creation of evergreen health-related articles. The content – labelled as “Health Insights” on the Flordis website in Australia, for instance – includes stories under topics such as “stress and mild anxiety”, “chesty coughs” and “sleep”. They are consumer-centric and based on life events, rather than aligned with brand virtues, and can be adapted or translated for local markets. Importantly, they help customers’ health issues rather than sell Flordis products directly.

“When you look at creating content from a consumer perspective, you’re asking them to consider ‘why should I care?’,” Brown says. “The names on our products don’t tell consumers what they do. A consumer will go to Google and search ‘how can I help my hot flushes?’, not search by product. We need to become the ‘source of truth’ for people and support them when they are going through those things.”

This approach has succeeded in regions where SFI’s products are only available through doctors and other healthcare providers – its all-important B2B clients. “We do more scientific content in which we target just doctors, and this does really well,” she says. “Even with the more generic consumer content, we get pharmacists jumping on that, saying: ‘this product is great – I will recommend it to my patients’.” She says practitioners refer material on the website to customers who want background information on their health issues.

Brown says the program is already reaping healthy rewards. A pharmaceutical company SFI works with in Malaysia, Delfi, has adapted content created by Brown’s team to create its own social media channel.

“Since launch, it’s had an 88 per cent uplift in sales,” she says. “Obviously it’s very hard to put that direct attribution on content, but they’ve done some correlation graphs that gives us a good indication it’s working.”

Brown says the team plans to roll out SFI’s content-led strategy across its other brands. “We thought if we made it work for Flordis, we could essentially take that model and use it across Equazen, Klaire Labs and Potter’s, too.”

B2B Marketing Leaders Forum APAC events will be held in Sydney, Singapore and Melbourne in 2019. See here for more information.

Further reading: Make B2B content valuable, not promotional

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