Novus Asia director Andrea Edwards quits to launch content marketing consultancy

Andrea EdwardsThe director of content marketing and training at Novus Asia, Andrea Edwards, has quit the agency to set up a consultancy focused on raising the quality of content marketing in the region.

Edwards, who this week becomes executive director at the Asia Content Marketing Association, will leave Novus next month after 18 months with the firm.

She told Mumbrella Asia her consultancy – The Digital Conversationalist – will focus not on the creation of content but on the development of a firm’s wider approach to content marketing.

Among her key goals will be to convince senior executives to get involved in the creation and sharing of content.

Edwards, a fierce proponent of content marketing, said the consultancy will play a mentoring role and help brands “define their story in relation to their customer”.

“Most companies have no idea how to do that,” she told Mumbrella Asia. “They are good at talking about themselves but they don’t know how to talk in a way that is relevant to the customer. That is a big challenge in Asia.”

Edwards insisted content, and the art of storytelling, lie at the heart of a company’s transformation but is often overshadowed by a company’s focus on technology.

“Everyone focuses on digital transformation and technology but the storytelling is where the transformation happens,” she said.

Edwards said a major focus will be urging, and educating boardroom level executives, of their need to play a key role.

Without their contribution to the creation or sharing of content “it just doesn’t work”, she said.

Edwards said a successful content marketing strategy must also have employee advocacy, something that can only happen if there is quality content.

“There is a lot of noise out there but it’s not good noise so this will be about helping brands and individuals,” she explained, adding that an entire workforce needs to get behind the initiative.

“The problem with content marketing is that people are seeing it as a tactical thing that the marketing team does, but every single person in the business needs to come on board to make it happen.

“That is why I am focused on the C-level engagement, getting them to be social leaders, getting them blogging and participating. They need to be part of this and drive it from the top.”

Asia has a particular issue because of the hierarchical structure which makes it “challenging for people to fight the battle up the chain”.

“That is a massive challenge in Asia. The senior level, the boardroom need to get what content marketing is and they need to get behind it.”

While striving to involve the wider company in the strategy, Edwards said there needs to be an individual within an organisation who will be “champion content marketing” and drive its development.

“You need someone making it work inside and bringing all the pieces together. And that is part of the role I want to play, being a mentor for the marketing teams.”

Edwards denied it would put her in competition with Novus, stressing it was complementing the role of agencies rather than competing against them.

“Content agencies are sitting more in the content production space, so there will be an overlap between what I do and what they do but it’s more complementary,” she said.

“I will focus on the step before the production of content and look at who the customer is, what do they care about. The stories are defined after that.”

Edwards said she would look to partner with agencies.

“Novus is an amazing company with great people so my loyalty will start there of course,” she said.

Edwards recently penned a column on LinkedIn and Mumbrella Asia outlining nine ways firms can make content marketing succeed in Asia.


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