Lessons we can take from big brands winning at content marketing

24 June 2015

Content marketing is about telling a story that resonates with your audience and finding a relevant channel to deliver it. Here are 3 big brands that have led the way and, more importantly, what we, without the multi million pound budgets, can learn.

1. Innocent Drinks

Innocent Smoothies content marketing is absolutely spot on; it consistently epitomises their branding through design and tone of voice. Let’s take a look at exactly what it is they are doing so well.

Innocent tell a great story, we all know what they stand for – simple, humorous and most importantly they are on the same level as us. Their content strategy is centred on their tone of voice. They don’t put themselves on a pedestal and become distant, but instead as brand we can all truly relate to. They do this through talking in the same way we would chat to each other. They don’t overcomplicate their language and every bit of content from their website, as well as their packaging, their social feeds and their careers section is consistent.

Their tone of voice isn’t the only method in which innocent builds relationships with their customers. They use social media to reply to their customers in their typical tone and encourage a two way interaction. The fact a massive corporation takes the time to reply demonstrates they appreciate their customers and strive to build a bond.

Another method Innocent use to build relationships is to involve their customers. There is no stronger demonstration of this than their ‘Big Knit’.

They asked their customers to knit small hats and send them in, they would put these hats on their innocent bottles with 25p from these bottles sold going to Age UKto help keep the elderly warm during the winter. This campaign works; it involves customers, generates amassive amount of content, creates a positive brand image and helps innocent bottles stand out on the shelf. It is a brilliant piece of content marketing.

Lessons we can learn from Innocent

  • Tone of voice. Whilst it may not be appropriate to use the same tone as Innocent for every company, it is important your tone resonates with your audience and is consistent through all channels.
  • Build relationships with your customers and truly value them.
  • Use larger ideas (The Big Knit) as a means to generate lots of content.

2. Red Bull

RedBull certainly take content marketing to the extreme in every sense of the word. Although unfortunately we aren’t all blessed with a $900 million budget there are still lessons we can take from their approach to content marketing.

Red Bull do not create content just to stay in Google’s good books, which is a mistake content marketers can make. Yes, search engine visibility is a benefit of great content marketing, but as Red Bull have demonstrated, there is much more value than that. What they have done to great effect is produce content their customers want and rarely mention their actual product.

They have content hubs on their website, such as Red Bull TV, simply for the entertainment of their customers.

This form of content marketing builds enormously strong customer loyalty and engages with their audience right at the very start of the buying cycle. In their content marketing efforts they rarely mention caffeinated fizzy drinks but instead focus on content their audience would actually like to consume.

Of course, Red Bull are famous for the hero content they produce. From sponsoring and hosting extreme sports such as cliff jumping and rock climbing to the Stratos mission. They use this content as a means of optimising what their brand stands for. The real genius of their strategy is they don’t have to tell you this, they simply show you; a far more effective means.

Lessons we can learn from Red Bull:

  • Don’t just view content marketing as a means of improving your search engine visibility.
  • Create content your audience actually wants to consume.
  • Use content to identify your brand by showing rather than telling.

3. Chipotle

The story of the scarecrow has to be the one of the most successful content marketing campaigns of all time. If you have not seen the video, have a watch on YouTube.

In less than a week the video had attracted 3.1 million YouTube views but the story did not end there; they also released a game to compliment the video. The main aim of this content was to get their audience involved in the story.

Chipotle have focused on their bigger story, a ‘new world’, and not simply on their product. This echoes the Red Bull example and emphasises the value this can have to your content marketing strategy. Use the bigger story as the corner stone to all your content, from social media to website copy; this is what Chipotle did so effectively.

Lessons we can learn from Chipotle:

  • Get your audience involved with your story.
  • How can you continue this story across platforms (Chipotle achieved this by moving the story from a video to a game)
  • Find your products bigger story and tell it. Avoid over-selling the actual product.