Creating excellent content is an art, and one that a few brands have truly mastered. While some leverage a long-standing brand identity, others simply tap into the current consumer market, capitalizing on trends, and captivating their audience with innovative, engaging content.
Here are a few examples of the best content marketing campaigns in recent history, and the lessons you can learn from them when planning your own campaign.
GoPro always delivers on its content marketing, as it has user experience at the heart of its brand. Advertising itself as a means of spreading the spirit of adventure, and sharing enthusiasm for exploration, GoPro has built its identity on the experiences of its customers.
The brand’ primary content hub, the Channel, hosts photos and videos captured using GoPro cameras. Users can choose to share content they like, or access a small menu which gives them the option to purchase the camera model used to take that shot.
The reason this works so well is that it creates a community for brand users, while also offering utility, via its unobtrusive ecommerce model. Visitors to the site do not feel that products are being pushed on them, yet they can quickly and easily navigate to a particular product after becoming invested in a particular image or video.
2. Nintendo Switch
The marketing campaign for the Nintendo Switch was a masterpiece, combining innovative design with powerful use of language, to create a memorable and instantly recognizable brand.
The Switch’s name instantly calls to mind the console’s ability to seamlessly transition from docked to handheld. Meanwhile, players can “share the joy”, by detaching the console’s two controllers, or “joy-cons”, and passing one to another player.
The campaign focuses on the console’s portability, and dynamism, punctuating all video content with the trademark click of the joycons being slotted back into place. This sound quickly became synonymous with the Switch, and ties the whole campaign together, acting almost as an audible logo for the console.
The key takeaway here is that a winning content marketing campaign does not need to be complicated, and that clever, emotive use of language is a great way to define your brand both simply and effectively.
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Rolex is a brand that has spent decades cultivating a very specific image and following. The humor and quirkiness of other campaigns mentioned in this article would be jarring if paired with this brand, and would not reflect the understanding most consumers have of the brand’s identity.
As a result, the Rolex marketing content has a sleek, minimalist, professional look to it. Adverts are comprised of high quality product photography, simple backgrounds, and little to no text. The brand speaks for itself, and continues to appeal to its established market.
This premium brand demonstrates the power and efficacy of minimalist design, and the importance of adhering to your brand identity. This is also a reminder that there is no one-size-fits-all content marketing solution. Consistency is vital for building trust and familiarity, so it is important to keep your audience’s expectations in mind when structuring your campaign.
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4. Did You Mean MailChimp?
The Did You Mean MailChimp? campaign is built around a variety of misspellings and altered forms of the brand’s name. Some, such as FailChips point to websites of their own, before ultimately guiding the user back to the main site.
The cherry on the top, however, is that if a user types one of the alternative names into Google, the suggestion bar reads “Did you mean MailChimp?” This clever naming strategy makes the campaign even more memorable, while also giving the company an additional boost to its search ratings.
Not only does this campaign succeed by showing that the brand can laugh at itself, it also demonstrates that it has been paying attention to what its audience says and does. This fosters engagement, and reassures customers that they are being heard when they attempt to contact the company.
5. MEL Magazine
Dollar Shave Club saw rapid success after their initial video marketing campaign in 2010. Since then, the brand has gone from strength to strength. Their latest content marketing win has been the launch of MEL Magazine, an online editorial project, which features unusual articles on a range of lifestyle topics.
With no obvious branding for Dollar Shave Club, and the mystery surrounding the project’s name, this campaign uses its unconventional approach to start conversations about the project itself, and the brand backing it.
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6. Mayweather vs McGregor
One of the biggest fights in boxing history, the match between champions Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather soared on a wave of fan-made promotional materials, even before the official posters and promos were released.
Rumors that the fight was on the cards began to circulate many months before terms were agreed and contracts were signed. From then on, the hype continued to build, with even experienced commentators unwilling to say with certainty that the 49-0 boxing legend would remain undefeated.
Dubbed “The Money Fight”, the match extended beyond the ring, with MMA champion McGregor vociferously challenging his opponent, inciting controversy amongst fans, and continuously increasing tension in the build-up to the fight.
The success here is that the experience being delivered was not just the fight, but the entire journey, from the initial confirmation of terms, to the weigh-ins, and the aftermath. By letting fans channel their enthusiasm into further promotion, the fight became a household topic, even for those who did not normally follow either sport.
Even afterwards, the experience continued, in the form of interviews, recaps, and reviews of each round.Credit: Ytimg.com
7. Old Spice – Invisible World
Old Spice is one brand that always seems to nail its marketing campaigns, and the Invisible World campaign was no exception. The partially crowdfunded project drew on the brand’s extensive fan base, even incorporating an avid few into the stream.
True to the brand’s characteristic off-the-wall humor, Invisible World is an invisible movie: the 8-hour Twitch Stream, during which the movie played four times, consisted almost entirely of a white screen, with audio, and the occasional subtitle, much to the confusion of a few commenters.
With almost 7 million views the live stream was an undeniable success, highlighting the value of being in tune with your audience’s sense of humor. The better you know your audience, the further you can push the boundaries of conventional content marketing, and truly make your mark on the industry.
8. New York Times
With its finger on the pulse of technological innovation, the New York Times released the NYT VR app, allowing its audience to view content in virtual reality. Following the release of the Google Cardboard, the free app offers a range of 360-degree experiences, allowing users to experience the news in an entirely new way.
The real innovation here is that NYT has expanded its marketing into a new dimension, allowing its audience to consume content however it chooses. In addition, by releasing quality VR content in the early stages of this technology, it capitalizes on the scarcity of VR applications, increasing its visibility and the likelihood of being downloaded.
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9. Rosetta Stone
As the leading language-learning software, Rosetta Stone’s name alone is enough to market itself. However, the sophistication and refinement of the brand’s marketing campaign has led it to even greater success in recent years.
As the software is used globally, campaigns have to be relevant in multiple countries, and to varying cultures. The website is a fantastic example of interactive content marketing, with an extensive collection of stories, facts, and video clips for each of the 20 cities encompassed by the program.
The site is available in multiple languages, and uses a flexible ecommerce CMS to allow for easy repurposing of the design template for future campaigns.
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10. LinkedIn – State of Salary
In line with the release of its salary tool LinkedIn produced a comprehensive salary report, providing an in-depth look at salaries throughout the United States. It includes wide-ranging insights on demographic distributions and how these affect an individual’s salary, and can even help users to identify how their income may be affected by moving to a different area.
Not only is the report useful in and of itself, the associated business tool enables users to input their own data, and discover how their salary compares to those typical for their location and industry.
This campaign encourages user engagement by creating a scenario in which users have something to gain by submitting their data. This creates a mutual benefit, while also providing instant publicity for the newly-launched salary tool.
Marketing Deadpool was always going to be a unique challenge, and one that required a very specific style and flair. The merc with the mouth has historically been known for his outlandish antics, and fourth-wall-breaking self-promotion.
The campaign played on these features to great effect, delivering on the Deadpool magic that fans expected, and those new to the franchise could never have predicted. Billboards for the film promoted it as everything from an action movie to a romantic epic.
Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds took ownership of the role, with Deadpool appearing in a PSA offering guidance on checking for testicular cancer, and even releasing a commentary on his own marketing strategy.
At the heart of this campaign’s success is its faithfulness to an established brand identity, increasing immersion, and leaving viewers constantly on the lookout for the next reveal.
Not every marketing campaign can be as innovative, or as well-funded as those described above, but that does not mean they cannot shine. The key to effective marketing is to find the features that make your brand stand out, and build on that to deliver your marketing message. You’ll want to also spend time delving into search data to ensure your campaign delivers.
Pay attention to the tastes and preferences of your audience, and do not be afraid to take a chance on doing something a bit different. Even if it is less successful than you had hoped, it will at least be memorable, and that is half the battle.