How to survive the democratization of content creation


By: Garrett Jestice

Marketing has changed.

It's an idea that initially seems too obvious to have much impact. You're probably thinking, "Of course marketing has changed. Marketing is always changing. There are always new channels emerging, new tools to try, and new ways to share our message with an audience."

Let me explain what I mean.

In marketing, as in every discipline, there are micro changes and macro changes. Micro changes are small, frequent, and don't drastically change the day-to-day work marketers do.

By contrast, macro changes happen far less often but have the potential to completely flip a discipline or industry on its head and make non-adopters obsolete.

Macro changes can happen as a result of new technology (e.g. the printing press or the internet) or of the accumulation of many micro changes over time (e.g. increasing consumer adoption of social media or gradual tweaks to Google's search algorithm).

There's a macro change that is currently flipping marketing on its head. I call it the democratization of content creation. (I know, it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?)

Here's what that means and how it will impact you as a marketer—whether you like it or not.

What is the "democratization of content creation"?

Since the beginning of marketing time, a few select, trained experts in each company have controlled all the marketing collateral—all the marketing "stuff," from print to television and everything in between. This has been due mostly to the reliance on mass marketing to a mass audience. (Ever seen Mad Men?)

All this "stuff" has been well thought-out to represent your organization in just the right way to help build your brand.

Today, however, more and more employees, partners, vendors, salespeople (the list goes on) create content that represents your brand whether you like it or not. (For example: the increase in employees blogging, sharing content on social media, etc.)

Not only that, but these "new marketers" are creating content across many channels and mediums for an increasingly fragmented audience. Customers don't want mass marketing. They expect personalized messaging that is relevant to them at that time wherever they are.

The democratization of content

Want to do a quick thought exercise? Think how much more content (i.e. marketing & sales collateral, web content, social media, print, etc.) your company created this year compared to last year. Now think of how many more people at your organization created that content compared to last year. Scary, right? That's evidence of the democratization of content creation in action.

The problem is, not everyone knows how to create content that is on-brand.

Why does brand consistency matter?

As more people participate in the content creation process for your brand, consistent marketing really becomes a problem. No longer is all the marketing "stuff" created by a few well-trained brand experts. As a result, old logos are used, images are stretched, colors are off-hue, and horrific clip art is inserted into marketing collateral which damages your brand.

But... does an inconsistent brand really hurt your business in a tangible way?

The short answer: Yes.

A few months ago, I conducted a research study with a company called Demand Metric about the impact brand consistency can have on a business. We surveyed over 200 senior marketing leaders across a variety of company sizes and industries.

Among some of the most impactful findings were the following:

  • 90% of study participants experience some level of inconsistent branding in the marketing & sales materials their company creates.

  • Study participants estimated a 23% increase in revenue if they could always ensure marketing & sales materials were on-brand.

  • Organizations that focus on maintaining brand consistency (and do it well) attribute 14% of their growth to doing so.

In summary, maintaining consistency in your marketing is a big challenge that most organizations face—one that, when overcome, can increase your revenue and fuel your growth.

What does this change mean for marketers?

As with every major change, the democratization of content creation will bring about both winners and losers.

The losers will be the complacent organizations that create a "wild west" mentality by allowing rogue (off-brand) content creation to continue.

The democratization of content

Even worse is those who think the answer to brand & content consistency is to create a "brand prison" where content creation is restricted to the central marketing & design teams.

The democratization of content

In contrast, imagine a world where employees, partners, vendors & salespeople are empowered to create customized, relevant sales & marketing materials (that are always on-brand) on their own.

Where central marketing teams can spend more time on the large, impactful projects that actually move the needle and less time drowning in an endless backlog of requests from across the organization.

And where brand managers can spend more time brand-building and less time on policing rogue content.

The winners of this change will be those organizations that recognize and embrace this change and empower employees, partners, vendors & salespeople with the tools and processes needed to create consistent, on-brand content.

There's a better way to create on-brand content

Lucidpress is an intuitive design & brand management platform that empowers even the least design-savvy to quickly create on-brand marketing collateral through web-based, lockable templates.

Here's how it works:

The democratization of content

More relevant, brand-compliant content? Check.Improved team efficiency? Check.Stronger brand and bigger business? Check and check.

The democratization of content creation is already upon us. If you're ready to embrace the change, Lucidpress can help. Find out how today by signing up for a free, no-obligation demo.

Learn how Lucidpress can streamline your brand's content marketing and keep your whole team on the same page.


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Garrett Jestice

With 10 years of marketing experience, Garrett Jestice knows all-too-well the pain of brand inconsistency and wasted design time. Garrett joined Lucidpress as its first marketing hire and loves knowing he gets to help improve the workloads (and lives) of creative people around the world.

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