How to be a good Summerian

Communicators are the creators and the keepers of content. By doing this job effectively, we have the foundations to efficiently build content that keeps the story straight and authentic.

Thai Union‘s global director of sustainable development, Darian McBain, speaking on Thai Union’s Code of Conduct for Business Ethics and Labour / Image: Thai Union


It might not be the oldest profession, but the Sumerians had Masters of Tablets, and in eighth century BC, the King Ashurbanipal of Assyria introduced librarianship as a profession. In the king’s library, all tablets were catalogued and arranged by subject matter or information type, and each was given an identification tag.

Content tagging. In the eighth century BC. Wow.

For centuries, we have been taught the importance of content. More recently, we’ve been reminded of the need for authentic storytelling. All true. All needed. After all, people have been telling stories long before tablets arrived.

But all of this is easier said than done.

At Thai Union Group, we have been focusing on how to effectively use storytelling to support our story pillars: sustainability, innovation, corporate and brand reputation. To do that, we had to take a hard look at how we could effectively and efficiently build content that met our needs but didn’t blow our budgets sky high.

Remember the 80/20 rule

We started by making some rules for ourselves. First, we would concentrate on creating content that met the needs of 80 per cent of our constituents. For some of our markets, that meant they would get more than they had previously, and for others it meant they would have access to content they previously couldn’t afford. We were determined to make economies of scale work for everyone.

Second, we needed to think globally to locally and then locally to globally. What does that mean? The content had to be effective at each level, so while 80 per cent might be the same for all, we would leave 20 per cent for localisation as needed to be fully effective. For example, we would build editorial packages with 80 per cent the same content, and 20 percent localised expert quotes, endorsements and images. Creating once for many.