Nike & Colin Kapernick (~20,000 views on LinkedIn )

Last year, I had the privilege of serving on a panel at the prestigious MIT Sloan Conference. As the panel unfolded, we covered a variety of topics, from optimizing the use of data to the importance of content on today’s marketing and media landscape. Per the latter, one of the panelists uttered the phrase, “Content is king.” Although I appreciate the importance of great content, I gingerly disagreed. “Actually,” I said, “Content is not king. It’s context. Context is king.”

It isn’t what creators say that is most critical, but rather how, where, when, and why they say it that makes the fundamental difference in achieving resonance with audiences. The appropriate levels and types of context create the necessary relevance for the consumer, making the content exponentially more effective.

Moreover, because there has never been as many methods of distribution, creating context has never been as important. Consider Nike’s campaign featuring Colin Kappernick, launched with a commercial that aired during the opening game of the 2018 NFL season. The message, timing, and placement of ads earned Nike $6 billion and sent its stock soaring.

My message to all the storytellers out there is that your “context strategy” and your “content strategy” must go hand in hand.