The Organizational Development Muse

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

Content AND Context, but which is first?

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Dec 12, 2012 6:43:00 AM

Content AND Context, but which is first?

Inbound marketers are waking up to what process consultants have known all along, that context is king.

Google the two words content and context and you will find bringing these together is all thecontext and content, content and context, design group international rage, from organizational development, to marketing, even to public speaking. The image at right was found in a blog post devoted to public speaking. Click on the image and you can read that post.

Marketers have been rightfully focused on making content mean something, especially with the proliferation of and demand for web-based content. Content that matters, is helpful, and is locatable is critical for those business, services and people that want to be found.

The rediscovery is that paying attention to the context in which the content is offered further differentiates the content, attracting and holding the interest of the people you are trying to reach. This is because you have worked to understand them. Hence the upsurge in developing prospective customer/client profiles so that content can be written to context.

Process consultants flip this around--especially those working in assisting leaders and the development of organizations. They do not start with content and then add context. They start with the context and look for or create appropriate content.  

Let's make use of the liquid filled cup image once more. The way most people seem to be working with the content/context mix is by saying I have this liquid, in which kind of container must I pour it?  The process consultant, by contrast, says We have been handed this container, what should we pour into it? The first approach is selling content. The second is selling the ability to develop it. 

Please notice too the shift from "I" to "We" when moving from content/context to context/content.

Again, it is good for everyone that thinking context is being added to developing content. To choose to lead with content or to choose to lead with context is not a moral choice. One is not necessarily inferior to the other. But the distinction is huge. Starting with content is to sell a product. It might be extremely adaptable because it is context sensitive, but the bottom line is sales. Starting with context is to sell a process. It might result in specific content as solutions are figured out. That content might even be sold. Yet, the bottom line is coming alongside and learning together.

Design Group International is centered around context that leads to content development. You can learn more about our approach by downloading The Tao of Action Reflection, a primer on the process approach.



-mark l vincent

mark l vincent, design group international



A Whorled Viewz rerun . . . .

emell vee, whorled viewz

Topics: process consulting, organizational development consulting, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International


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