Content marketing is one of the most widespread marketing strategies today, and for a good reason. It aims to develop and distribute authentic, relevant, and reliable content to engage a precisely defined demographic to foster productive consumer behavior.
In the internet age, when we speak about content marketing, our mind directly goes to YouTube videos and Instagram posts by most-followed influencers. However, content marketing has been around for far longer than sponsored tweets and viral marketing campaigns. That’s because at the core of content marketing is storytelling, an essential and universal part of the human experience.
It goes without saying that the internet has brought new opportunities to utilize content marketing to reach its highest potential. From the iconic Coca-Cola to fashion giant like Burberry, most successful companies have utilized content marketing strategies at one point or another.
A Brief History of Content Marketing
Advertisers have used content to disseminate brand knowledge and create credibility for products for ages. Content marketing came with the advancement of technology and communication and continued to grow with their development.
Even in 1732, Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, used a strategy that would be called content marketing today. He published the yearly ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’ with the goal of promoting his printing business. Since then, various instances have been recorded of companies employing content marketing strategies sporadically.
In the 1940s and 1950s, during the golden age of TV, through advertising, companies focused on sales, rather than engaging with their customers. However, with the arrival of the internet in the 1990s, everything changed, as it became the mainstream platform for marketing.
Content Marketing in the Digital Age
As we already mentioned, the power of content marketing has only grown in the age of technology. Over the years, examples of brands using impactful content marketing have increased exponentially.
Whether recruiting social media influencers to help raise their product’s visibility or pulling viral PR stunts, companies are coming up with new content marketing strategies every day to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers. The utilization of social media and other communication platforms help companies engage personally with their customers, creating a unique, never-before-seen trust and loyalty.
Successful Examples of Content Marketing
The success of content marketing is often tied to the original goals and intentions of the campaign and how well they were achieved. Obviously, those targets are set by the companies themselves, but that doesn’t keep us from deciding on the success of various content marketing strategies, taking into account the level of engagement with the customers, consistency, and other indicators.
What started as a local campaign in Australia in 2011, became a global phenomenon utilized by this iconic brand of soft drinks. The idea was to change the traditional wrapping around the Coca-Cola bottle to say ‘Share a Coke with…’ and a popular name. The campaign aimed to develop a more personal relationship with customers and inspire shared moments of happiness.
After its successful launch in Australia, Coca-Cola adopted the campaign in many more countries, often giving it a slight makeover to take the campaign even further to connect with even broader audiences.
In 2016, for example, a new version of the campaign was launched as the ‘Share a Coke and a Song’ in the United States, with popular song lyrics printed in place of the iconic Coca-Cola logo. The campaign was quite a success, even landing the most-liked photo on Instagram at the time with a famous pop star Selena Gomez posting a photo for the campaign.
Coca-Cola even teamed up with Shazam, a popular app used for identifying music, so customers of the ‘Share a Coke and a Song’ products could have an even deeper interactive experience with the song and its performer.
The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was designed with social media in mind. Coca-Cola prompted consumers to discuss the product via social media platforms, posting pictures with the bottles with their names on them. Through focusing on their personal experiences, customers felt like their lives were at the core of the narrative, rather than thinking that they were simply instruments in the advertising of the company.
Therefore, during the first year alone, customers posted over 500,000 images through the #ShareaCoke hashtag. That same year Coca-Cola gained approximately 25 million new Facebook followers.
Personalization of their product helped Coca-Cola achieve its goal to establish an emotional connection with its customers, making them feel special and prompting more purchases that would be shared with family and friends.
Nintendo Campaign for the Switch Console
Another excellent example of content marketing comes from the video game giant that has also been around for decades – Nintendo. In anticipation of the launch of their new groundbreaking console Nintendo Switch back in 2017, Nintendo utilized different marketing channels to create excitement in the public eye.
The Switch campaign was multinational and spanned several countries to attract consumers around the globe. However, Nintendo managed to maintain consistent visual branding with the same key messages.
The Switch system, Nintendo’s eighth home console, turned out to be a massive success, both critically and commercially. Aside from consistent messages across different platforms, many lessons can be learned from Nintendo’s success with their content marketing strategy.
Justine Ezarik, best known as iJustine, is one of the most massive YouTubers on the platform. If you can make it into her video, you have made your way onto the screens of millions of potential customers across the world. Nintendo successfully utilized that. They gave her the Switch, and she created many videos on it in her signature style weeks before the public launch of the gaming system. The largest one currently has more than 3 million views. Other notable YouTubers were also given the consoles, creating a wave of Switch-related content that set the tone for the release of the much-anticipated Nintendo’s eighth home console.
Why Content Marketing?
From Benjamin Franklin to Nintendo, many notable figures and iconic brands have resorted to content marketing, which already speaks for itself. There are many takeaways from the examples of the success of the ‘Share a Coke’ and Switch campaigns. One doesn’t have to have an international multi-billion dollar company to utilize content marketing best. As we already mentioned, content marketing is all about storytelling, and if you look closely, you will see that these campaigns are nothing but well-told stories that connect with potential customers.
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