How To Create Meaningful Content With Zaid Al-Zaidy

This week Zaid Al-Zaidy, CEO of McCann, shares strategic tips for creating content that humanises your brand and instills brand coherence.

There is a tremendous amount of content being produced every day, but most of it just adds to the noise.  Meaningful content is the only thing that connects with people and leads them to engage – but many brands fall short in this area.

Zaid Al-Zaidy of McCann London is a vocal champion of diversity as a prerequisite for creativity in the media industries. His own background is richly varied – he was a marketer at Unilever helping the sex drives of a generation of youths with the Lynx Effect, and then became a strategist and planner at Mother, Y&R London and TBWA. At McCann, he’s made the leap from CSO to CEO and now leads the management team of the agency that last year topped the new business rankings.

Great brands humanise themselves and technology gives the ability for brands to be human and for consumers to engage with brands as human things.

— Zaid Al-Zaidy


We often hear that content creation is aimed at helping its consumers by way of answering questions or solving problems.

But Benetton took a revolutionary approach many decades ago when it created its magazine Colors, and since then its online campaigns have also been aimed at provoking discussions and raising awareness about controversial topics such as the #Unhate foundation.

Its goal is to help create a culture against hate using content creation like the thought-provoking, controversial images of world leaders kissing their adversaries. All too often brand journalism or branded content is heavily about the brand instead of offering meaningful information, or a meaningful experience to its audience.

In the podcast we’re looking at how brands can raise awareness about cultural issues by producing meaningful content and connecting with their community. 



The Unhate Foundation by Benetton


What You’ll Learn

  • How to create meaningful content.

  • How to attach your brand to a credible topic.

  • Why marketers feel guilty.

  • Timing your engagement and communication with your community.

  • Understanding the concept of brand stewardship.

  • Finding your purpose and creative ways your brand can share that message.


Key Takeaways

1. The lines between demonstration and promotion of products are becoming blurred.

2. Creating experiences that engage is the best use of modern marketing.

3. Remember the Dove example: they create real beauty with their ads.

4. Your brand doesn’t always need to be on. Make your responses meaningful. Take time to craft the stories and the messages.

5. Make your responses timely and appropriate.

6. Explain your message using storytelling: what is your brand and what is it here to do?

7. Don’t let your brand get lost in the clutter: put control in consumers’ hands but maintain enough control to retain coherence of your brand.

8. Remember the Four Cs for modern engagement: culture, collaboration, co-creation, and conversation.

9. Great brands humanise their company. They make the content they produce and share relatable and interesting.

10. Your brand must have a meaningful role in consumers’ lives to be successful.



Zaid Al-Zaidy on Twitter

McCann London