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Content Marketing Lessons: What You Can Learn from Other Brands

The most fundamental element of content marketing is establishing a positive connection with your viewers. And because it’s easier to learn through example how to implement this in your content strategy, rather than simply being told what actions to take, below are three examples of brands that have successfully secured an emotional and trusted relationship with their consumers.

The most fundamental element of content marketing is establishing a positive connection with your viewers. And because it’s easier to learn through example how to implement this in your content strategy, rather than simply being told what actions to take, below are three examples of brands that have successfully secured an emotional and trusted relationship with their consumers.

Coca-Cola’s new line

Coca-Cola is one of the best known and most successful companies around the world, and in 2012, it is said to have invested around 4.2 billion euros in advertising and marketing. Because Coca-Cola has mastered the art of marketing content and epitomizes this strategy more than almost any other company, it’s a safe bet that one or two of these euros fell into content marketing. The brand has taken storytelling as a publisher and has replaced its corporate website with the online magazine “Journey.” Here authors and guest writers produce content about the company, society, lifestyles and entertainment – all from a Coca-Cola perspective. In addition, the drink company arranges many promotions and events, both small and large, to develop its popular brand image.

The content marketing idea: A feel-good world

Coca-Cola’s current marketing campaigns are best summed up by the slogan “Happiness.” The soft drink producer now focuses its entire message on conveying a sense of well-being to its customers. Its communications include articles by health, nutrition and sports experts, accounts of people on the road to happiness, and discussions about how happiness can be “shared and increased.”

This is seen in their campaign “Share a Coke with…” where names and other terms are printed on Coke bottles, which then serve as a gift to yourself or otherwise as a chance to “Make Someone’s Day.” In addition, a short time ago, Coke machines all over the world dispensed free drinks, but only to “real” couples. Witnessing a kiss as evidence, the machine would then immediately dispense two free drinks. Likewise, other drinks dispensers have given away a Coke plus an accompanying free gift. The company’s latest highlight has been the “improvement” of a grey concrete landscape, which they interpreted as rolling out an artificial green lawn, adding trees laden with small gifts, and inviting people to make themselves comfortable in the “meadow.” Of course, they also included a Coke machine that dispensed a free drink whenever customers took off their shoes.

All events are expertly staged and published as videos, photos or print articles. So Coca-Cola is trying to maximize the number of people experiencing the brand and producing some useful and interesting content in the process.

What you can learn from them

With all these actions, Coca-Cola is attempting to convey good feelings. The thought: “Coca-Cola brings you a zest for life” connects strongly to the company itself.

Think about how you can pamper your customers, even if it may have no direct impact on your sales. Your customer should associate your brand with positive emotions – “happy experiences” work the best. Why not organize an event that is as appealing and imaginative as possible just for your customers? The whole thing could then be captured as images and text, then published in a blog. You then create a win-win situation: Your customers are happy, you are the “happiness creator” and you have acquired quality content too.

Advertising giant Procter & Gamble

Although Procter & Gamble has introduced cost-saving measures, its anticipated marketing budget for 2012 – $9.3 billion US dollars – leaves most other companies envious. Throughout its history, this large company has always attached great importance to a strong market presence, and as a brand manufacturer, it now seeks to develop content marketing as evidenced by a radical increase in spending money on online advertisements.

The content marketing idea: Use microsites to hit the target audience

One of Procter & Gamble’s strategies is topic-specific sites with great benefits and added value for the user. For years, the group has been operating a variety of microsites such as beinggirl.com or homemadesimple.com. These smaller sites focus specifically on the problems of the particular target audience and provide help. “Experts” provide tips, tricks and suggestions, and users can participate too, sharing and offering solutions. Along the way, the company always gets to offer its products as solutions and naturally advertises them as such. Alongside tips for a moth-free wardrobe, they never miss a reference to tumble-dryer sheets or their own-brand air freshener for that piece of furniture.

What you can learn from them

With its microsites, Procter & Gamble satisfy the needs of specific target audiences. The company is trying to solve problems, behave as a helper and friend, and offer the user added value by imparting “valuable” information. In the process, the sites generate positive emotions and link them to the advertised products. Write high-quality and, above all, informative articles for your own users. Then, whenever possible, turn these into useful videos or create helpful graphics – any content that is helpful to your audience will build and strengthen their confidence in you. Package these tips and tricks together on a suitable platform.  A microsite has some significant advantages in this respect: It’s an additional website, independent of your company pages and distinctive corporate identity, which can be customized and configured to build an alternative image and appeal to a new audience. A microsite provides more benefits than a “simple” topic-related blog, and it allows virtually the same options as a website regarding structure and content types (quizzes, forums, etc.). You can also design a microsite for a target audience and selectively cover one specific topic in great detail.

Remember to include your users, through games, competitions, forums or individual input and feedback, as that helps strengthen their bond with your content and brand.

The content marketing tip to take away: Waffles and video

How do you advertise a Waffle Shop? With an Internet Video Show, obviously. Though this was actually created as an arts project to develop a sense of community, a lot can be learned about content marketing from this small Waffle Shop in Pittsburgh. Professor Jon Rubin of the Carnegie Mellon University called this the 2008 Project, and even though the shop closed last year in favor of a new project, he has won many fans in Pittsburgh.

The principle of the Waffle Shop was quite simple: The project “Waffle Shop: A Reality Talk Show” was recorded in a Waffle Shop where the store’s visitors were invited to share their stories. The project was recorded and sent to The Waffle Shop Talk Show YouTube channel. The Video Waffle Shop idea became popular on social media, acquiring nearly 3,700 Facebook fans and more than 3,000 followers on Twitter.

What you can learn from the project: Whether it’s for an arts project or for promotional purposes, good, interesting and creative content increases the chances of a successful outcome. Although your initial ideas may have little to do with your actual product, be creative, think outside the box and have the courage to try something really unique and sensational.


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