Matt Drinkwater, Yahoo!, The Thread
Over the past few years, Yahoo! has developed an approach that focuses largely on the audience. The belief is that all data should be for the audience, and the Thread, on Yahoo!’s website Shine, expertly demonstrates that minimalist customer-oriented marketing works. A series of videos relating to celebrity trends barely can be traced to the products they’re selling (and many of the videos exist for the sake of entertainment, without a hint of marketing), while simultaneously catering to women’s demonstrated interest in celebrity culture. Drinkwater says that Yahoo! aims to “make the user a hero.” To create successful content, these are the important questions to ask:
- Is it compelling?
- Can it be integrated tastefully?
- Is it discoverable?
- Is it promotable?
Yahoo! partners with Nielsen to measure the success of its content, and even though you “won’t see floating Pantene bottles” throughout the commercials, the products are selling. The hard line between “advertorial” and “editorial” is blurring, and brands like Yahoo! are moving towards largely editorial content, with great approval.
Eric Oliver, Converse, Rubber Tracks
Offbeat shoe retailer Converse stands out from other brands by employing a content strategy that is driven by the passion of the consumer. The Converse brand has always been closely connected to rock and roll culture and “the creative kid.” Converse customers want relevant, interesting content—not in-your-face branding. The company is extremely atypical in that its first mission is to build goodwill, with the assumption that customer loyalty will follow—nowhere does traditional advertising play a role.
Converse came up with Rubber Tracks, a project in which local Brooklyn bands can spend several days recording for free in a studio that the company is building for this purpose. The bands license their content to Converse, and walk away with an EP. Incredibly, there’s no catch. Band members don’t even have to wear Converse sneakers when they’re in the studio. The CMO of Converse is a well-known music lover, and the goal of Rubber Tracks is to build excitement in the community, which will in turn foster goodwill surrounding the brand, leading to brand loyalty and finally, sale of shoes.
Oliver says, “it’s ‘what are you doing in our shoes?’ not ‘what can our shoes do for you?’”
Carissa Caramanis O’Brien, Red Box Communications, Chronicles of EMS
O’Brien spoke about a Red Box Communications site, Chronicles of EMS, which was built by and for paramedics to elevate an underappreciated profession that is going through big changes. EMTs were recognized this year as a medical specialty, and Chronicles of EMS combines education and entertainment, by providing realistic medical-themed videos. The program was promoted via social media platforms, first connecting with field paramedics, and moving up. This ground-up movement is demonstrative of the atypical nature of content marketing in contrast with traditional advertising. At first glance, there is no apparent marketing on the Chronicles of EMS site. But what it does subtly is provide a tool for medical professionals to discuss the equipment and technology they see in the videos. The marketing is undercover, serves a purpose, and emphasizes the human element above all else.
Did you miss Part 1? Read the full event recap here!
Are you aware of other brands that are successfully employing content marketing? What do you see as the most significant difference between traditional advertising and content marketing (positive or negative)? This is a really hot topic, so let’s start a discussion!