Content that’s ahead of the pack

by Andrew Strange – Jun 24, 2020

It’s never been more important for brands to own the digital space, as Covid-19 limits how companies can interact with customers and increasingly pushes everyone online for both work and leisure. Powerful online content can promote the benefits of products and services, disseminate important corporate messages and build a strong brand affinity.

Creating content that supports a brand’s proposition, but is truly ahead of the pack is a challenge, and it’s only going to get tougher as more people turn to content online.  

Below is my latest survey of the content marketing landscape and it updates some of the examples I cited in last month’s post. All of them work hard to build brand advocacy using techniques as different as data, videos and narrative copy. Enjoy: they really are a collection of gems. 

Setting the agenda 

Red Bull’s Stratos project in which Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner was filmed as he jumped from the edge of space, is perhaps the company’s best-known piece of content. But in its efforts to own the extreme sports agenda the energy drink brand produces lots of great pieces, such as its 10:00am on a Tuesday series on Red Bull TV. Hosted by 28-year-old champion climber Sasha Digiulian, this 8-9-minute climbing-based show is visually impressive, hosted by a young woman who reflects the aspirations of Red Bull’s customers, and covers topics that also resonate, such as environmental responsibility. 

Demonstrating social purpose 

Well-written text still works online, particularly when accompanied by powerful images and creative devices, such as animated statistics. The Seeing Potential article from Google explains how the company is using AI to help doctors prevent blindness in people with diabetes. The article is written in a journalistic style and includes interviews with doctors in India and Google team members who are involved. It demonstrates Google’s social purpose and grabs the attention with parallax scrolling that sees images and facts fade in and out as you make your way through the feature.  

Articulating corporate strategy 

We produced ‘Our City’ here at Wardour to articulate Legal & General’s (L&G’s) social purpose. The company’s strategy focuses on ‘inclusive capitalism’ and a desire to safeguard customers’ financial lives and create value for shareholders, while also doing good for society. In this piece we’ve used engaging illustrations and animation to create a ‘future city’. The city itself tells a story with animated wind farms and an electric train, and illustrations of buildings and infrastructure. Clicking on a building takes you through to text and videos about L&G’s investments in areas such as housing and urban regeneration. 

Simplifying complex data 

The BlackRock Investor Pulse survey is loaded with data from thousands of individual investors around the world. The challenge facing the company, however, was how to publish that data in a way that brought the information to life in a powerful and credible way. They interviewed 27,000 people in 13 countries across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. BlackRock created a beautifully designed infographic that lets you scroll up and down through the data and from left to right, while the numbers and graphs are animated and build as they appear on the screen.  

Inspiring emotional engagement 

While Google’s An eye fit for Liberty video appeared on my previous list it is a masterclass in how to create emotional engagement with customers. At one week old Liberty Collins was diagnosed with a rare eye condition. Unable to find the prosthetic eye she needed in New Zealand or Australia to prevent her face collapsing her dad, Dwayne, a former oil industry worker, took to YouTube (A Google service). Using a ‘how to’ video he was able to make the eye himself. It’s an emotional story with a happy ending – for Liberty and for Google. 

Getting that warm, fuzzy feeling 

And finally, if you didn’t read my previous blog you may have missed how animals can create a warm and fuzzy feeling around a brand. The Meet some of the cutest dogs at Amazon video simply features lots of clips of really nice dogs having fun at the company’s offices. It just makes you feel better about a company that rationally you might resent for being so monopolistic. Who doesn’t want to order from a business that’s fun enough to have dogs playing on desks or with hose pipes? 

Companies are becoming ever more sophisticated with their content and there’s plenty more great pieces out there, if you know where to look.

Published Jun 24, 2020

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