FACT: Manufacturers make products. Marketers build brands. They build brands on promise and promotion, which in turn, shape consumer preferences and perception.
In the offline world - the brick and mortar one we live in - we can easily tell the difference between brands based on touch, taste, sight, smell, sound. For example:
- Coke - Pepsi: different formulas, different taste
- Nike - Adidas: different material, different fit and feel
- BMW - Mercedes-Benz: different manufacturers, different features
- Colgate - Close-Up: different ingredients, different cleansing agents
- Apple iPhone - Samsung Galaxy: different tech (iOS - Android), different looks
Q: What differentiates a brand online? What separates one from the other in the virtual world?
A: Quality Content.
Quality Content creates Social Capital, and in today's digital marketing ecosystem, that's your Brand Equity.
Brand differentiation via content. That's what makes Content Marketing vital to digital marketers.
In my last article, I wrote about Mastering Content Marketing - in 7 steps and, how Managing the Content Loop holistically can help build brand awareness, engagement, advocacy and loyalty.
Some organisations driving their business and achieving good results via Content Marketing are:
- IBM is doing great brand work via their Let's Build a Smarter Planet initiative.
See more on YouTube.
- Coca-Cola has a Liquid and Linked Content Strategy upto 2020 - a strategic focus on brand-based story telling. Coke has 50+ million likes on Facebook. Gulp!
Watch Coca-Cola Content - Part Two here.
Coca-Cola's London 2012 Olympics 'Move To The Beat TVC' - a musical collage of sports sounds.
Coke's Olympic Games anthem Anywhere in the World ft. Mark Ronson & Katy B.
- TED - While I've picked two popular ones, there are way too many great TED talks. Here's an excellent collection of Inspiring Videos - Top 20 Best via TechCrunch.
Inspirational Leadership :: Simon Sinek - How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Information is Beautiful :: David McCandless - The Beauty of Data Visualization
Another brilliant TED Talk
The musical genius that is Benjamin Zanders is sure to leave you inspired ~ Shiny Eyes
- NIKE - just does it. Steps up to the plate time and again with fresh creative content.
- SAMSUNG - a recent player, it's turning up the brand heat via sponsorship & celebrity endorsement. Appointing David Beckham as its Olympics Brand Ambassador was a casting coup. Killer strategy!
- The Olympic Games - the Holy Grail of Marketing Strategy & Creative Content
It'd be fair to say the recent London 2012 Olympics were a festival of Content Marketing, with every brand (and their ad agency) bringing their best to the fore. Here's a standout example from P&G.
Speaking of Olympic-based content, here's my detailed blog on #London2012 Olympics.
Another post on the Games I really liked is Tapping into the Human Spirit on Digital Age of Marketing by Tami Cannizzaro, Director of Marketing, IBM, New York.
- The Rise of Visual Content - Pictures, Pins, Photos. Images, Instagrams, Infographics. And... Video.
While content is a many-splendoured thing, in recent times, visual content has gained prominence.
- The Rise of Visual Social Media - Ekaterina Walter via Fast Company
- Show, Don't Tell. Better Social Media Strategy - Marla Tabaka via Inc. Magazine
- Facts & Figures about the Power of Visual Content - Jeff Bullas blog + neat [InfoGraphic]
With Content Marketing going mainstream, events dedicated to CM are going full-house:
- Content Marketing Institute's Premier International global event Content Marketing World
- Ignition: The Future of Digital by Business Insider - See the Content 4.0 [Infographic]
- ad:tech - The Event for Digital Marketing - Interactive Advertising & Technology Conference
- Billed as the B2B Marketing event of the year - MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2012
Iconic poster ad for Levi's Black with one of the most memorable advertising slogans ever - by legendary copywriter, John Hegarty - the 'H' in BBH. While the ad is about irreverence, free-spirit and attitude, nothing quite says Brand Differentiation like a black sheep zagging the world.
All-time creative classic!