My professional focus is on communicating a meaningful, relevant, and differentiated brand through content. To do this, I engage in market and customer research, help clients develop brand and product positioning, define audience messaging, develop online content strategies, including SEO, and write short- and long-form content for print and online.
Investigating the fundamental customer drivers and market opportunities for a brand or product. I develop protocols, screeners, and research topline reports using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. My tools include surveys, individual interviews, focus group moderation, as well as ethnographies. The outcome is an understanding of customers’ needs, concerns, and desires as it relates to clients’ product and service opportunities.
Developing a clear, believable, and distinctive positioning for a product or service. This is built upon market and customer research, client workshops, staff and customer interviews. The outcome is a statement, company values, and customer benefits that do more than define a product: it states the reason the company exists as a business, its belief about the world, and why that vision should matter to its customers, employees, investors, and community.
Messaging takes positioning one step further to the marketplace by crafting statements targeted to specific audiences. These audiences can be internal and external, provide the listener or reader with an understanding of what the company does, and what need that answers for that person. A messaging architecture is thus the internal basis of external communication.
Onllne Content Strategy
The develop of online structures, categories, and content and organization into a content management system. Given the dimensionality of online, this ensures the messaging is told in a way that is clear, easy to follow, and well supported by examples. A successful content strategy, rooted in user goals, also addresses search engine optimization and findability, and becomes the basis for the overall user experience.
Writing and Editing
Putting all of this into words: on paper, online, in headlines, advertising, and any possible means of communication. I have experience in both long-form and short-form content, as well as professional editing skills honed over years in major publishing companies.
SEAN KETCHEM, PhD
BRAND STRATEGY, CONTENT STRATEGY, RESEARCH
PhD, Germanic Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley (2003)
English, German (speaking), Spanish, Russian (reading)
MetaDesign San Francisco, 2008-2013
- Led brand strategy engagements, business development pursuits and fosters long-term, successful relationships with MetaDesign clients
- Developed brand strategies, including brand architecture mapping, positioning, vision, mission, values, and brand language
- Worked closely with clients to develop messaging based on audience desires, product benefits, and company positioning
- Led a strategy team to develop content for both clients and company marketing and PR
- Extensive international travel to Europe and Asia to support MetaDesign engagements in other offices as well as San Francisco-based initiatives
MetaDesign San Francisco, 2004-2008
- Created brand and messaging architectures, positioning, brand and editorial strategy, and brand guidelines
- Responsible for concepting and authoring of content in print and interactive media, particularly page-level information design for websites
- Conduced customer and stakeholder research to understand user needs
- Produced content for print, packaging, website, direct mail and online campaigns, in keeping with the brand voice
- Worked closely with client product and marketing teams to gain in-depth knowledge of product offerings
- Developed CMS interface structures and workflows to support brand, business and messaging goals, including search engine optimization and marketing
- Clients include Coca-Cola, Kohler, Cisco, PC World, Four Seasons, Thomson Higher Education (now Cengage), Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (Asia)
Expedia/IAC Interactive, 2003-2004
- Helped simplify product positioning for a discount travel site with complex purchase rules
- Wrote database marketing and online copy for multiple travel products
- Structured keyword testing for Google ad placements
- Worked with product teams to anticipate trends in online travel purchase and express them in content structures and copy
- Conducted user research to test new product strategy concepts
Acqusitions Editor, World Languages
Thomson Higher Education, Boston, 2001 – 2003
- Responsible for acquiring, developing and producing content for college instructional texts and interactive media
- Conducted and analyzed informal and formal market research
- Analyzed competition, keeping abreast of market needs and trends in order to develop high-quality, cost-effective products that increased student outcomes
- Worked with authors to ensure that projects met planned objectives and were prepared in a manner consistent with guidelines for submission
Senior Content Strategist
Sapient Corporation, San Francisco, 1999 – 2001
- Responsible for developing content for complex transactional and news Web sites and associated marketing campaigns
- Worked with engineering team to develop user interfaces for content entry
- Worked with clients to develop processes and tools to create, maintain and update content, including planning Web writing workshops and creating workflow recommendations
- Consulted with project teams on content creation, scheduling, and hand-off to other teams. Worked closely with Site Development and Engineering teams to ensure accuracy of content
Development Editor, World Languages
McGraw-Hill Higher Education, San Francisco, 1996 – 1999
- Lead writer and editor on first edition of a college instructional title
- Edited and oversaw development of first and second year German, Russian and Italian titles for both the college and school markets
- Worked with Media Technology to coordinate CD-ROM and Web site development for language titles
- Set and maintained style and usage standards for main texts and ancillaries.
- Provided competitive audits for marketing purposes
- Developed content for presentations and workshops
- Organized focus groups to target trends in educational publishing
Graduate Student Instructor, German Department
University Of California At Berkeley, 1995 – 1999
- Responsible for instruction in lower and upper division language courses
- Courses taught include German 1-3, German 40 (Conversation) and the Berkeley Summer Sessions German 10 language workshop (two sessions)
- Responsible for all aspects of course planning and administration
PhD, Linguistics/German, University of California at Berkeley, May 2003
Dissertation title: “.de, .ru, .com: A Contrastive Analysis of Online Variation in German, Russian and English.”
MA, German, University of California at Berkeley, 1997
BA, Russian, University of Texas at Austin, 1991
References upon request.