Brands are now creators of content. They are publishers, influencers and experts in their field. There has been a massive increase in the telling of brand stories in the social media space over the past few years and the concept of ‘content marketing’ is increasingly prevalent in brand communication strategies.
Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted reader, focusing on all stages of the process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism. You want to create content that tells a story that consumers engage with and go on to tell themselves.
For example, when I was working on Nivea the brand story was ‘Nivea Dares You’ that launched in the summer and aimed to liberate women from the dread they felt about getting into their bikinis after the winter. The content came in the form of fans sending us images, stories and snippets of all the daring things they’d done and sharing and talking about the issues women feel about their bodies. The idea or story of the campaign was women taking back control and resonated so deeply with Nivea’s audience that they took the concept to their hearts and began to distribute the idea themselves.
Four bgb is now working with Cheval Three Quays a luxury serviced apartment building in Tower Hill with incredible views across the city. The brand story is London luxury and we are setting ourselves up as London luxury experts: the go to people for the most exclusive information. The story is luxury and the content is a lifestyle blog supplemented with social platforms that seed out the blog content to our followers and influencers who in turn will read it, share it and become involved with the story we are trying to tell. When people read content they’re interested they are more likely to become brand evangelists and ‘sell’ the brand to their communities. We want Cheval Three Quays residents to take up the luxury London mantel on our behalf.
In my opinion creating content travellers want to read should start with three simple but fatal to ignore concepts: be engaging, be image conscious, be original.
Be engaging: Four bgb’s campaign to get more people ‘liming’ in St Vincent and the Grenadines was created with the idea that the campaign would spread the word about liming whilst also ensuring interaction across our social media community. Launching a ‘Liming Appreciation Society’ across St Vincent and the Grenadine’s various social media channels allowed people to become part of the global liming experiment. Members were able to enter competitions, share liming stories, and give their top tips, music, recipes and more. As a result engaging and reaching out to the community we were able to boost Facebook fans by 36%, increase the amount of people talking about the destination and secure coverage in Travel Weekly and Breaking Travel News amongst others. Talk to your community, they’re your greatest asset.
Be image conscious: The best brands doing well across all their platforms know the value of a visual. Fans and followers are 94% more likely to share content if it is illustrated with an image so it can’t be ignored. Travel brands have a fantastic advantage here as shots of beaches, mountain ranges, street parties and all the other wonderful experiences travel affords are some of the most shared and most beautiful on the internet. When coming up with content concepts keep image at the forefront of your mind – a great image can make or break your idea.
Be original: A truly original campaign was Dr. Martens #FIRSTANDFOREVER concept. Originally launched in 2011, with a campaign featuring Agyness Deyn, #FIRSTANDFOREVER inspired countless Tweets, Instagram updates and touched people around the world with stories of first love, first experiences and simply the first time you did something and truly lived for that moment. Dr Marten’s encouraged users to share their first experiences of the brand’s iconic boots and tap into nostalgia and shared experience, encouraging participants to use the language associated with the brand almost without realising it. With a dedicated hashtag on Twitter, interactive ‘experience maps’ on Facebook and a TV commercial and ‘film’ featuring Agyness Deyn narrating her first heartbreak, it is a universally emotive campaign. It’s so successful because despite the campaign encouraging customers to talk about themselves, the brands values got some attention too. Reaping in awards, including a prestigious ‘Most Innovative Marketing Campaign’ from WGSN at the Global Fashion Awards in 2012 it has firmly cemented the brand as a forward thinking global innovator with loyal fans that trust in its ability to be ahead of the pack. Never underestimate the draw of original, never before seen ideas.
Having worked with photography, food, beauty and mummy bloggers I think the most important thing to remember about creating content people want to engage with and read is to be true to your brand story and make sure it resonates over all your platforms. Know what your community want and make sure you give it to them.