As digital marketers, we like to think of Content Marketing as something new and exclusive to the realm of digital, but in truth, many brands have understood the concept of good content for years before we even heard our dial-up modems connect to the internet.
Perhaps I should define what content is and what it isn’t. Content is anything that your brand produces for your target audience to consume. Content isn’t your product sheet or your service. Great content exposes your audience to your brand and creates a connection.
For me, the best content marketing I’ve ever been exposed to was when I was watching cartoons on Saturday morning. Now, you might be thinking “how are cartoons content marketing? Isn’t it just something to keep the kids entertained?” You might be surprised to learn that before Twitter the way to connect with people in your age group was through your shared love of TV. If you had missed an episode of Dragon Ball Z, you’d be the odd one out on the playground when your friends were talking about Goku going Super Saiyan 3.
Because there was such an active and engaged audience it meant that brands could target these children with advertising. Toy makers began to partner with production companies to create animated TV shows with the goal of not only gaining brand awareness but creating a relationship between the viewer and the animated characters. It’s why, to this day, I still hum the theme tunes for Gummy Bears, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Spiderman. More importantly, it’s this brand content that I was exposed to that shaped my perception and attachment to these brands, and it’s why I still buy their branded content as an adult.
Ok, so it’s quite obvious that not every brand can follow this model. Your product and target market might be completely different but the human desire for entertainment remains constant. This doesn’t change with age – only taste in content does. This human truth exists for all brands whether you’re B2B or B2C. It’s the reason those John Lewis ads trend every Christmas and leave most people in tears (who could forget Buster the Boxer?).
If you are a content creator then you have to know how to read the room when it comes to your brand’s audience. I’ve always loved the phrase “If content is king then context is queen and she holds the purse strings”. To make great content means that you understand your audience and what it is that drives them. Nike does this consistently well by selling touching and inspirational stories instead of amazing products. The takeaway for the audience is that anyone can be like Serena Williams (if you train in a pair of Nikes).
If you understand your audience well enough, you’ll be able to place your content in places where your audience will be exposed to it. Dove partnered with Twitter for their #SpeakBeautiful campaign, which used the 2015 Oscars to kick-start the conversation urging women to turn negative tweets into positive ones. The campaign then spread to other events like the VMAs and eventually into everyday conversation. This combination of a great idea, the right channel and the right timing created an award-winning campaign which saw the #SpeakBeautiful hashtag used more than 168,000 times and 800 million social media impressions of the campaign.
‘’People haven’t run out of attention. They just need a good reason to spend it on you. People may not remember what you say, but they’ll always remember how you make them feel. – Meta’’
As we come out of the global pandemic, people are seeking experiences more than ever before, and this is where brands with retail stores can expand their interaction with their audience and showcase more of their brand values. In-store experiences can be personalised, which helps brands win over customers. Apple pioneered this approach by allowing people to use an iPhone in-store – an experience they couldn’t get through a TV ad.
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Pop-ups are a great way for consumer brands without dedicated retail stores to test their audience’s feedback. When M&M needed to choose its next flavour, they created customised “flavour rooms” for each unique flavour. The pop-up also included snack and drink lounges with M&M-themed cocktails, which helped spread the message on social media.
If you take one thing away from this article it’s that great content comes from understanding your audience and placing your content in the right context. If you’d like your brand to start producing great content for a well-understood audience, then contact us today to see why we’ve won the New Gen Designer of the Year Award for the past two years running.