When you see banner and display ads, do you click them and find out what they are about? Bet you don’t, just like the 99% of consumers who reject banner ads. Click-through rates for display and mobile banner ads are at 0.11% and 0.35% respectively, according to technology company Coull. So why waste money and energy on things that do not work? More and more companies, big and small, are beginning to realize that traditional marketing techniques are not effective in building brands. According to the The modern consumer goes online everyday and when he wants to interact with a brand, he expects to see that brand on the platform he uses. It’s that simple. A good content—a good story—can build a brand in a manner that is engaging and lasting. And did we say more cost-effective? Michael Brenner, strategist for content marketing platform, NewsCred, believes it is time for marketers to act like publishers. Branding is about connecting with the audience and the way to connect is “through stories they love.” A good content always works and some of the world’s biggest brands are proof that great stories can drive profit, build loyal customers, and make your brand truly matter. From “sharing” to “spending” Nearly all consumers today go online first before making a purchase. Buying a new mobile phone? Check online reviews. Where to eat? Check the “top” lists of random websites. Among the main drivers of purchase and consumption is social media. Likes and shares are not merely numbers anymore—they mean profit. So if you are still wondering if sharing content on social media can increase sales, it is time to stop wondering and sign up. A Gallup poll showed that 29% of people on social media are not into comments and likes but are there to find product information and follow trends. And get this: a study by emarketer.com revealed that 77% of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company with a CEO who uses social media. #1. From “social” to store traffic With sales comes store traffic. You can use digital marketing to improve your in-store foot traffic the way food giant McDonald’s did it. McDonald’s is easily one of the biggest brands in the world. But did you know that they once spent only $1,000 to drive more customers to their stores? April 16, 2010 was Foursquare Day for McDonald’s. The challenge: check into a McDonald’s store, post it on Foursquare, and the first 100 gets a $5 – $10 gift card. The result: a 33% increase in foot traffic from the day prior. It was a 99% feedback with hundreds of articles and blog posts and 600,000 new followers. This is an example of how you can integrate your online and offline marketing initiatives. #2. Using content to boost credibility Learn from Colgate and find out how you can use content marketing to market your brand. What Colgate did was genius because it used nothing but its expertise and knowledge. It launched an online Oral and Dental Health Resource Center and engaged consumers with interactive guides, videos, and articles. It used its expertise to provide valuable information, which is a key to successful branding. Publishing informative content makes Colgate an even more credible brand. Photo from Social Mouth #3. Dynamic storytelling makes a vision brand If there is a company that is going all-out for content marketing, it is Coca-Cola, also known as the vision brand. It recently launched its Content 2020 advertising strategy and that is to go from “creative excellence” to “content excellence.” With the launch of its campaign JourneyOn, Coca-Cola is once again proving why it is a visionary. The key is not just telling stories but telling dynamic stories. In 2013, Coke published 1,200 articles and majority, if not all of them, had nothing to do with Coke. They shared happy stories, a distinction that is unique to Coke. JourneyOn attracted over 13 million visitors who averaged an impressive 4:40 minutes per article. Similarly, Coke also launched a blogger contributor network called “The Opener” to let their consumers tell their stories, too. Photo from Coca Cola Journey #4. A content that helps is a content that sells “The ROI on our content marketing work is among the highest of all our marketing efforts,” says Julie Fleischer of Kraft. Before all of its competitors even had websites, Kraft already had kraftfoods.com. It showed and helped millions prepare their food, try new recipes, and discover easy-cooking tips. Of course, that help comes in handy with a Kraft product for every recipe. And by the way their head marketer is talking, looks like Kraft has made it to the kitchen and hearts of many consumers. General Mills’ tablespoon.com is doing the same thing. Photo from Krafts Food #5. Hitting where it hurts gets more hits Orabrush has been having problems with branding for over a decade. Who would have thought that all they need is $500 and a two-minute video to make things better? They turned to YouTube and published funny and hardcore videos about bad breath. When you hit customers in their face like that, they hit you back with 40 million views—and finally, brand recognition. Photo from Ora Care YouTube #6. Brewing up success through ideas Among the most successful content marketing campaigns is My Starbucks Idea. Coffee lovers get to share their ideas on how to improve Starbucks products and services. And it doesn’t end there; other people can join, vote, and leave a comment. Talk about genius crowdsourcing. Using this style of content marketing will make it easier for your brand to target its customers and give them what they want. Photo courtesy of Brand Autopsy #7. Inspiring content builds trust Have you seen GE’s ”Ecomagination?” It is a blog that tells the story of GE as a trusted brand for over 100 years. This is also GE’s way to show they care about the environment by showing how using green and sustainable methods can reduce pollution. Such content shows that a brand is responsible and can be trusted to make innovations to make the world a better place. Photo from Ecomagination Have you seen GE’s ”Ecomagination?” It is a blog that tells the story of GE as a trusted brand for over 100 years. This is also GE’s way to show they care about the environment by showing how using green and sustainable methods can reduce pollution. Such content shows that a brand is responsible and can be trusted to make innovations to make the world a better place. #8. Listening to followers sparks engagement Brand engagement can’t be a one-way street. It can’t just be about the company or the product. Remember that it is not promotion but engagement which requires followers and consumers reacting to your content. Look at American Express’ “Open Forum.” It has an in-house writing team and a pool of contributors that give sound business and marketing advice. Their customers can join in the conversation by asking questions and sharing their own business experience. This is branding excellence because you get to engage customers by helping them directly. #9. Aspiration drives loyalty Girls love makeup.com. It is L’Oreal’s initiative to help girls get the look of a celebrity by using their products. Who doesn’t want to look like a star? The website shows videos of basic and advanced makeup techniques and gives a dose of the latest beauty trends. Last May, they even launched Makeup Genius, an app that lets you virtually try their products. Isn’t that genius? They married content with user-facing and interactive technology. The topic beauty is Googled four billion times a year and L’Oreal jumped right at it. They addressed the need and aspiration of customers to look better and now customers have made the brand look every bit stunningly innovative. There is a reason why more and more companies are making the switch to content marketing. It’s simple—content marketing works. With the right content and online platform, brands can drive their customers to try them out, go to their stores, or increase their online sales. These big brands are also proof that content and storytelling are the way to go if you want to engage followers and make them trust you. Images: “Content Marketing/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? 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