In the second part of this series, we will examine content marketing campaigns that are designed to strengthen the positioning of companies, products and services in their respective markets. These companies utilize a variety of tools including video and social media to define who and what they are in the minds of consumers. They seek to elevate their products and services above mere commodities and connect with the audience on a deeper level.
As was done in part 1, we will examine each example and give tips for applying the strategy behind the campaign to your own projects.
Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club is a part of recent wave of products that are now being offered online for a fraction of what it costs in the store. This new wave of products, which include services like Uber and Airbnb, have a strong anti-establishment tone. And no company captures that better than Dollar Shave Club with their video from the CEO Michael Dublin. The video talks about their razors in an irreverent way that’s hard to resist. And you have to love a company owner who will proclaim that his razors are “f*cking great!”
How can I do this: What is the culture around your product or service? What do you want it to be? Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to create content that promotes that culture. What’s great about the Dollar Shave Club example is that razors aren’t a sexy product. Yet, this video makes the product fun and keeps it top of mind. Can you run a contest asking for creative uses of your product? Perhaps a video of people having fun at your event? It’s all about creating that one word or phrase that comes to mind when people think about your company. Of course, you want that word to be positive.
Random House- Pinterest Account
Book publisher Random House does a tremendous job of making books fun, visual and a little edgy with their Pinterest account. Rather than create promotional boards, Random House has a large collection of pins that deal with topics that are of interest to readers and writers. At last check, their boards included, home design-focused boards like “Bookshelf Styling” and “Writer’s Desk”; travel-focused boards like “Adventure” and, of course, plenty of boards about books. They do sneak in information about their own books and events, but when you provide such great, visually-stimulating information, the promotional stuff sort of blends in.
How can I do this: Think about your product and your consumers. Think about everything your product represents and what people think about your industry. Then infuse that into all of your social media content. Especially, your visual content. Random House had the good sense to know that books aren’t simply about reading. It’s about an experience. Where do readers enjoy their books? What types of books do they read? Why they read? It’s captured beautifully on their Pinterest board.
AMC Theaters- Ron Burgandy Infographic
AMC takes the emerging infographic trend and flips it with an informative and engaging ad for Anchorman 2. The infographic is a detailed rundown of how to dress like Ron Burgandy. What makes the ad great is that not only is it fun, but rather than that say “go see this movie” it takes you inside the experience of the movie and shows you why you should see it.
How can I do this: There are a couple of takeaways here; first, infographics work! It’s a great way to distribute content in a manner that’s visually stimulating and easy to digest. Second, the infographic doesn’t always have to provide useful information. It can be a fun, brand-builder. What’s fun about your brand? In a past life, I ran a kickball league. During the time I ran the league an article was published by a lifestyle website describing the various types of kickballers. For those who play in or organize leagues, it was brilliant and hilarious because it captured the culture of this recreational sport perfectly. I think the content of the article would make a great infographic.
Chipotle- Scarecrow Video
If you aren’t into fast casual Mexican food, it may appear that there isn’t much difference between Chipotle and competitors like Moe’s or Qdoba. However, through bold content marketing efforts, they standout dramatically from their market. In 2013, Chipotle introduced an animated video and iOS game that follows a melancholy scarecrow as he progresses through a world dominated by factory farms. The video is captivating and Chipotle’s anti-factory message is clear. Besides the beauty of the video, the message gives a subtle indicator that Chipotle’s ingredients are anything but factory-produced.
How can I do this: Every brand stands for something and sometimes the best way to show what you stand for (your positioning) is to show the opposite. Chipotle could easily talked about fresh ingredients, but everyone in the food industry talks about that. Freshness, for the most part, is assumed. The Scarecrow Video shows it by illustrating a world devoid of fresh food. Yes, it takes a stand on an important issue. Yes, the video has had its share of controversy. However, what’s awesome about the video is that you come away completely understanding what Chipotle is about and if the message resonates with you than you’re more likely to eat at Chipotle.
Sharpie uses visual-focused social media platforms to elevate what is essentially a tool for highlighting and underlining into a vehicle for self- expression. Sharpie’s Pinterest boards shows how artists (both commissioned and novice) utilize the markers to add flare to clothing and furniture and, generally, make cool stuff.
How can I do this: Is there anything that your product can be used for besides its advertised purpose? Why not create a blog post around it? Or a Pinterest board? The key is to find a fun and informative way to demonstrate the versatile nature of your product. Also, if your product can be applied in a variety of circumstances, find visual ways to show that. For example, if you are a cupcake shop, perhaps you can produce an infographic showing your variety of cupcake-flavors and the corresponding variety of occasions the can be used to celebrate. Or a cupcake and wine pairing guide.
Disney Parks Blog- The 140-Disney Character Tweet
Disney doesn’t need any help marketing its product. Yet, they continue to find ways to reinforce the culture around its brand in some incredibly fun ways. The 140-Disney Character Tweet is masterful because of the creativity it expresses on multiple levels. First, it clever mashup of all things social media and all things Disney. The hashtag is the central search and marketing symbol used throughout social media and the character limit for tweets is 140. The fact that Disney gathered 140 of their own characters from their movies is not only fun, but shows the depth of iconic characters that they’ve assembled through the years. Also, an accompanying video called The Making of the 140-Disney Character Tweet shows that content can serve multiple media.
How can I do this: Can you combine two concepts to creatively promote an ideal your brand represents? The beauty of this tweet is that it represents, key social media terms and Disney characters in a unique way. While this is a fun way to implement the concept, companies can do this in ways that are useful to the consumer as well. An outdoor festival that creates an infographic describing ways to enjoy the festival experience or tips to avoid can prove very helpful.