Context is the new gold

Denis Doeland
Sep 28 · 10 min read

There is no doubt about it: the fact that organisations store data results in a huge amount of usable data. The data exists from interactions and conversations via websites, apps and social media for example. Can you as an organisation wait with the (strategic) deployment of data, or is using data actually already a reality that you need to find your way with?

Context is king

According to consultancy agency McKinsey, the effective use of data and analytics increases the productivity, profitability and market value of companies by 5 to 6 %. In some sectors the strategic use of data analysis will even make the difference between profit and loss, it was predicted back in 2011. Almost 6 years later their report ‘The age of analytics: competing in a data-driven world’ confirmed this insight.

The large amount of data causes a real landslide. Specifically, in sectors with much audio and visual material, measurement data and mobile devices and with a large variety in information exchange. Many industries and sectors must now learn how to proceed with the large amounts of structured (and in many cases unstructured) data, to prevent drowning in it.

“Content is king”, Bill Gates wisely stated in 1996. He saw a parallel between the internet (as the multimedia variant of it) and a copier. Approximately 20 years later we are exposed to a slew of content that we can barely see the woods for the trees. Currently it is no longer “content is king”, but “context is king”. Showing the right content, at the right moment, that is relevant for the target audience. Establishing, maintaining and optimising meaningful relationships is now the name of the game.


Nowadays, if organisations are to survive, then they must contextualise their data. Compare it with a doctor making a diagnosis only on the basis of body temperature: he also knows that the diagnosis is probably incorrect. Correct decisions are made on the basis of a combination of data. It concerns the context resulting from it. A doctor must always know something about the age of the patient, the lifestyle, diet, weight and family history to be able arrive at a better diagnosis and prognosis. Basically, he must be able to have access to the correct metadata.

Metadata is data which describe the characteristics of certain data. It is actually the data about data. For example, the metadata (read: the descriptive information) for a certain document can be: the author, the date of writing, the publisher, the number of pages and the language in which the data are created. Metadata is crucial for accruing digital assets.

Adding metadata is a discipline in its own right. In chains of content, the metadata is often neglected. This is a missed opportunity. Modern technologies make it possible to outsource metadata analyses. This offers new perspectives. The value of content and relationships can increase explosively if it can be recorded in a structured way at which town/city, country, people, date and subject the content relates to. With this information, it is possible to match it with the interests of fans and customers, and it will be possible to filter on content which is relevant for this user. Consider Hardwell’s intelligent content here: this content is automatically shared with fans via his chatbot.

Process control

If the context of the use of the content has to be recorded, then it is generally required to support that process with technology. Consider a system, for example, but also process control: workflow. Consider the operation of, for example, a content management, a digital asset management or a customer system. These systems make it possible to jointly describe the context of the use, the organisation or the process. If such a system is placed separately (in a silo), it is not worth much in itself. Make it an integral component of the organisation: it is precisely the context from the different systems which makes a content management system worthwhile.

The context describes who has consumed which content — and where and when this happened. The context can also be a file from a fan or customer: all content in the file then belongs to the same context — namely: the customer profile. Many organisations find the manual entering of context data to be too cumbersome. By working with a good workflow, the context is known and this can be automatically added to the content. This removes the ‘burden’ for the employee. The foundation of the business system, the Business Acceleration Framework, exists in this way. The digital assets, that exist from the digital ecosystem, are visible for the first time. That is the power of an organisation.

Easing the workload

Can a machine do this work to a higher standard than a human? We are not able to answer this this question yet. But, as described earlier, these tools will be primarily helpful when large amounts of content and metadata must be processed. It is not necessarily about improving people, it is about easing people’s workload by getting computers to do the work. By getting computers to enter the metadata, which are all useful and essential, people no longer have to do that work.

Let us know examine how the automatic ordering of metadata can help improve the Business Acceleration Framework and increase the digital assets. Thanks to the advent of advanced tools, that make it possible to automatically subdivide and organise content, it has become possible to process large amounts of content and metadata. This simplifies the discussion about the necessity and usefulness of metadata.

If data can be organised automatically, metadata can be used better. It provides useable insights, with less hassle. The acceptance of the Business Acceleration Framework then also increases, as the need for manual work is drastically reduced. This also improves the quality of the metadata, increases the context of the framework, and the digital assets — and actually the company value — increase. Metadata will now serve the 5 goals and 12 objectives. This is, in short, the strength and expertise of the organisation.

Context often missing

Decisions in the area of social media management, PR, communication, marketing and sales are (in the dance industry) often still made on the basis of limited insights. The context is often missing in the communication between artist and fans. You therefore see many service providers, such as PR agencies, social media management agencies, sponsor acquisition staff and storytellers, often fail. Why? Simply because they do not know which context exists within the relationship between artist and fan. The context exists only when information from internal and external channels are connected to each other. This theory is also supported by Hardwell and Sam Feldt, who expose this context with their own content platform.

The dance industry has many contextual challenges. Nowadays, a fragile list that lacks transparency such as the DJ Mag Top 100 is the guide for many event promotors worldwide to decide which DJ they wish to programme at their events and festivals. Such decisions are made without any context in this list. That is a dangerous development. Especially because there is other data available, which provides other insights. For now, it seems that the dance industry just stares blindly at the incorrect information.

Context is god

Organisations must specialise in the allocation of metadata to content. They must develop automated processes, which rapidly increases the quality and the volume of metadata. It is not solely text which can be structured in an automated way. Technology, such as used by the Shazam app, make it possible to recognise which song is being played on the basis of sound. This means the artist, title and genre can be determined. Also, technology which can recognise objects and places on the basis of visual material are increasing and offer many other applications.

It is therefore important to offer contextually relevant messages and to ‘listen’ to personal experiences from fans and customers. Fortunately, this data is not hard to obtain and does not have to be purchased from a ‘data broker’ (anymore). In collaboration with the social opt-in (or ‘single sign on’) via Facebook, for example, data can be recorded and enriched (with permission from the fan or customer). The value of this for your organisation is huge.

Content is worthless without the correct context. “If content is king, then context is god”, marketer Gary Vaynerchuk once stated rather perceptively. In other words: the content will have little or no effect, if it does not reach the right people at the right place at the right time. Data-driven content, which has an impact, makes the difference — this is what we learned from Michiel Schoonhoven’s examples. Only then will content lead to revenue models. Or: the chance for increased cash flows. A crucial and financial element for the digital assets, according to Pim van Berkel.

From right to left

Before systems can help us offer context, these systems must first learn themselves what the significance is of the information offered. We call this semantics. Both automated, as well as with a little manual and mental work, you can equip the Business Acceleration Framework with the required semantics. From right to left and from the bottom to the top. This is how the digital assets exist. On the right side of the framework is the metadata. The layers of the framework ensure the position. This is the semantics of the framework.

If you do not know who you are communicating with, you cannot tailor your content towards you target audience. You have to know who reads your content, so that you know who you are creating content for. It is important to adjust the profiling both for the supplier as well as the consumer of content. There is a win-win situation if you inform and involve your fans and customers, allow them to manage their own profile information and then reward with relevant content. This contributes to the reputation and efficiency of an organisation. This will accelerate revenue models and new revenue models will become visible. The brand value will increase due to this. The digital assets become profitable.

Other insights

Primarily suppliers of large amounts of content — such as publishers and online stores — benefit greatly when gleaning more context. You can publish and advertise in a more focussed way and therefore sell in a more targeted way. Increased focus on context is naturally not only important for commercial parties. Also, governments and organisations can inform their target group in a more pleasant and more relevant (read: better) way.

This is not the only advantage of context thanks to metadata. It also provides other insights, which are not only relevant to the dance industry. Every organisation would want the most important signals to be available now, strongly packaged in summaries with new, relevant and intriguing information. This is how they can expand their intelligence and achieve better relationships and collaborations. A chatbot does not work without an automated Business Acceleration Framework. Without providing a context to the different relationships between artists, events, festivals and fans, an organisation is just winging it at the moment. And what applies to the dance industry, also applies to many other industries.

If you are thinking: we need such a Business Acceleration Framework, the next questions arise. Should I purchase it? What does it cost? Which licences does it require? Is that from one single supplier? The answer is: No! It is a vision and a mindset. It is not a software package. It is not an off-the-shelf product. It is a tool that remains empty without a strategy. If this is missing, the functionality of it becomes pointless. No digital assets will then exist.

Deep into the organisation

The framework must be deeply embedded into the organisation. The skills to connect information (possibly hard and measurable) with each other, or to determine your (next) strategy from that are essential here. Research needs to be carried out per day, month or year, depending on the size of the datasets and the ambitions of the organisation. The framework can manage this, or in any case provide the incentive to setting the right priorities within the strategy. The framework also helps in the context of budget, as well as the ‘customer central’, ‘cross-platform’ and ‘cross-device’ working and thinking.

If we focus on the growth of data in the mid to long-term, then an expansive analysis of the already present data, as well as the daily (often structured and also unstructured) data to hand will now get priority within organisations. Data analysis is the only logical and following step for communication, marketing and sales departments, but also for service departments.

This fundamentally demands other skills from the current sales forces and marketers within organisations. The sum of scores in search engines, advertising and being present in the digital ecosystem, and reaching the target group does not suffice. Connections have to be made, delved into and converted into a strategy. This strategy has to match the digital ecosystem, so that marketing, sales and service can optimise the new direction. Using the framework is no longer just a distant dream, but a genuine reality for organisations that want to survive.


In our first book I wrote the following with Ger Hofstee: “While the optimist, the pessimist and the realist get stressed about the glass and its contents, you should just consume the content. You have to experience the content to gain insight. This also applies to the internet with all its facets. After all, it is here and here to stay, and most likely continue to enter new phases.” The new phase is now here: now context is automatically added to the business ecosystem of an organisation.

The framework is the foundation for creating new levels of business value. With the integrated storage and applications, the Business Acceleration Framework assists the efficiency with the development of personalised products and services, and gaining higher levels in the area of customer satisfaction and customer experience. In an age where expectations of fans or customers are high, the level of insight into the habits and behaviour of fans and customers is increasingly important.

Contextualising is crucial to transforming data into relevant information. It ensures usable insights which facilitate intelligent business decision-making. The context from the Business Acceleration Framework ensures the digital assets. The organisation that is able to use the right context at the correct moment, to automatically provide the correct content in the relationship, strikes gold. This is the potential of the organisation. This in fact makes context the new gold.

>>> Go to the next chapter

Digital Assets by Denis Doeland

In order to get started with digital change, it is important to realize that this change consists of three fundamental core elements. Force, Power and Potential. Learn through this publication to make optimal use of of the digital capacity of your organization.

Denis Doeland

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Author, Blogger, Disruptor, Maven, Numerati and Transformer. Check more on:

Digital Assets by Denis Doeland

In order to get started with digital change, it is important to realize that this change consists of three fundamental core elements. Force, Power and Potential. Learn through this publication to make optimal use of of the digital capacity of your organization.

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