By Neil Patel published July 11, 2016

8 (More) Absolutely Brilliant Content Marketing Innovations From the World’s Best Brands

content-marketing-innovations-brands

A great content marketer is always experimenting, always looking to the latest trends, and striving to stay on the cutting edge. That way they can produce the best kind of content for the voice and image of their brand. One of the best ways to do that is to see what other companies are doing and figure out what works best and what doesn’t.

Last year, I shared eight examples that inspired me and resonated with you. Today, I feature another eight companies that are clearly thinking about content marketing. They know their brand inside and out, and they use that foundation to really push the envelope.

Some of these are from new technologies and some are just a new spin on old values. Either way they’re sure to give you new ideas for your own brand.

1. Denny’s – Don’t be too serious

One incredible example of a brand that produces truly entertaining content is Denny’s. Its Tumblr blog is a grab bag of things ranging from clever to downright weird, but it’s all done in a way that works with the brand.

Denny's-Tumblr Blog

Denny's

It helps that it keeps a consistent voice, whether it’s a ridiculous pun or a bizarre tip for alternate ways to use pancakes.

The content is weird, it’s meta, and it’s stuff that people don’t hesitate to share because it’s genuinely funny and doesn’t feel like just another advertisement for Denny’s.

What you can do about it: Denny’s obviously knows its audience’s sense of humor and makes content that really fits with the platforms on which it is shared (specifically Tumblr and Instagram). Ensure that your content voice matches the audience and the platform.

Ensure your #content voice matches the audience and the platform says @neilpatel Click To Tweet

2. Rolex – Update the classics

Rolex is one of those brands that could go centuries without changing because its image is built on being a reliable and timeless classic. This creates a unique challenge: How can you have a fresh, innovative content marketing strategy for an old-fashioned brand?

Rolex

One way in which Rolex reconciles its classic image with modern marketing strategies is by producing beautiful product images for social media.

Instagram-Rolex

Image source:  Instagram

The content that it posts has a highly curated feel. The photography, videos, and editorial work are always sleek and minimalist, and they appeal to a certain sophisticated lifestyle that wouldn’t relate if Rolex used the slapstick-style voice that Denny’s has. That would be too far from the image customers have of the Rolex brand.

Rolex-Placido-Domingo

Image source

Rolex treats its content with the same attention to and appreciation for quality that customers expect from its watches.

Rolex-Precision

Image source

What you can do about it: One of the lessons that Rolex has clearly taken to heart is quality over quantity, which can be hard to do in a social media realm where you have to produce a steady stream of content to stay on people’s radar. Focus on quality.

3. Nike – Bring great customer service to social media

Nike

If you’re looking for a model of impeccable social media presence, look to Nike. Its Twitter account — @NikeSupport — is a great example of positive company-customer interaction. If you scroll through the tweets and replies, you’ll see that it’s super quick to respond to people and always respectful and helpful.

Having a separate account for customer support helps Nike be accessible to its customers without bogging down its own content on @Nike or @NikeStore with answers to super-specific questions about people’s’ orders or accounts.

It’s also remarkable that a company at that large scale can respond and interact with its customers at such a fast pace and with thoughtful, genuinely helpful responses.

Even in 140 characters Nike makes it clear that it’s there for people — with phrases like, “give us a shout if you need help.” That kind of language makes a brand feel a lot more approachable and friendly.

What you can do about it: That separate customer service account could be a great model for your business. You can also learn a lot just from the language the people at Nike Support use when they talk to people. They’re interactive, fun, and even playful.

4. Random House – Provide endless inspiration

The book publishing company Random House totally knows its customers. Random House belongs on this list for the way that it shares content that inspires its team members, knowing that it will also inspire their readers.

Random-House

By sharing a wide variety of content — their own or the stuff that’s inspiring them right now — they make their audience feel included in the creative process that the company is built around.

What you can do about it: Create and publish content that truly connects with your audience. Random House is on that mission to inspire everyone. For example, one of its articles features “wonder women,” with the stories of powerful and motivational women.

Random-House-Wonder-Women

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5. Whole Foods – Educate and help customers

Whole Foods has worked hard to establish itself not just as a grocery store, but as a lifestyle choice. The brand embraces healthy living and earth-conscious eating.

Whole-Foods

Whole-Foods-Educate-Help

Whole Foods does a great job of living those brand principles in its content marketing. Articles about how to save money but still eat healthy or tips to change your diet for the better make Whole Foods’ products and lifestyle more inclusive. On top of that, it uses a lot of proactive language (“I want to learn/do/both” as a search option in its navigation bar) which makes the audience feel like they have an active role in the experience.

What you can do about it: By creating this kind of inclusive content, Whole Foods is attracting new customers and creating lasting connections with its audience at the same time. Healthy living is not an elite club, it’s a choice that Whole Foods wants to help people make, and the content it produces supports that idea. Create content that revolves around how you can truly help your audience.

6. Coca-Cola – Create universal and personal experience simultaneously

Coca-Cola is one of the best-known brands in the world. That feeling of the first sip of a cold Coke on a hot day is universal. In its Share-a-Coke campaign, the beverage company managed to make each person who picked up a can feel special and unique.

Coca-Cola

All Coke did was print individual names on cans and bottles and suddenly everyone was identifying with the product. In this campaign, and in all of Coke’s marketing, it built a foundational shared experience that almost everyone has with its product and made it shareable. In the next phase, customers could customize bottles with all kinds of names and titles for a super interactive, one-of-a-kind product.

Coca-Cola-Snapshots

What you can do about it: By creating a unique, shareable experience, Coke basically inspired its audience to do the marketing for the company. People get excited to find their name or their friend’s name on a can of Coke at the store — so excited that they end up posting pictures of the cans on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. Personalize your content in a way that resonates with your audience.

7. Farmers Insurance – Empower customers with expert tips and support

Farmers-Insurance

The Farmers Insurance Inner Circle is a super customer-friendly resource that it created to empower the audience to become better educated about topics that, for a lot of us, go right over our heads. Farmers Insurance provides people with useful, practical information. It offers a huge variety of articles about things like taking care of your house and your car, how to prevent identity theft, what you need to know if you’re going through a divorce — basically how to deal with anything life throws at you.

What you can do about it: This content hub is a brilliant move because Farmers Insurance establishes itself as an expert to its customers in a totally approachable way. If the content doesn’t answer something, Farmers makes it easy for customers to get in touch. Use your content to help your audience’s pain points on their own and establish your company as the go-to resource.

8. New York Times – Embrace new tech to stay relevant

In our digital-obsessed world it’s a wonder any print media can survive. I want to believe that there will always be a place for printed books, magazines, and papers in our culture, but given that the companies that produce them are disappearing it’s clear that print media is something we need to fight for if we want to see it prevail.

The New York Times is one of the leaders in the print world which is setting an example for how to consolidate an old medium with new tech.

The-New-York-Times

The recent creation, NYTVR, just requires the free app and Google Cardboard to create a unique and cutting-edge product. Using virtual reality, the Times presents its audience with new ways to experience the world, and in turn remains relevant in the face of new tech that’s replacing print media.

NYT-Virtual-Reality

What you can do about it: Not only does The New York Times create important content for Google Cardboard, it also adapts that content for on-screen viewers too. That way, viewers who don’t have Google Cardboard or don’t like virtual reality find a way to use it. It’s a great example of accommodating for all of the ways people consume media.

Conclusion

With these examples as your guide it’s time to go out there and make some great content. In doing so, you can build your brand and keep your audience engaged.

To summarize, here are some of the most important lessons to learn from these top companies that are rocking content marketing.

  • Create content people want to share, whether that’s because it’s funny, powerful, interesting, or newsworthy.
  • Create something unique, even if you’re just putting a new spin on something old.
  • Personalize the experience whenever and wherever you can.
  • Tell a story that people can relate to.
  • Teach your audience something.
  • Adapt your content to new and different platforms.

What’s one of your favorite brands that you follow on social media? Let us know what companies are producing the best content on your feeds.

Want to ensure that you get to read about more content marketing innovations from brands? Subscribe today for CMI’s free daily or weekly newsletter.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he has created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. You can connect with him on Twitter @neilpatel.

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  • Jabe Esguerra

    Awesome post Neil! Jetblue is another brand known for its outstanding customer service like Nike. The guy (or team) behind Coca-Cola’s campaign is a genius, selling more while getting customers to create content and market for them.

    • http://neilpatel.com Neil Patel

      That’s the golden rule. Customer success is key!

  • https://www.gmrtranscription.com/ Beth Worthy

    Some great takeaways for content marketers in your pithy, beautifully-worded post. You’ve done it yet again, Neil!

    • http://neilpatel.com Neil Patel

      Always glad to help 🙂 Let me know if I can help in any other way

  • http://www.get4domain.com/ Get4Domain

    This article is simple and nice its very useful to all

    • http://neilpatel.com Neil Patel

      Glad you liked it!

  • http://www.oscilloskope.com adinajipa

    Social media has become a vital business tool for business people to advertise their products and increase their sales. The more present a business is on social media, the more familiar it becomes among customers. Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts, Neil!

  • Domesticus1

    Brands are also providing better customer service through Twitter. I had a serious problem (too many notebooks, some were deleted) and regular customer service didn’t help. But their Twitter guy responded really fast and helped me. I’ve since read that you get better customer service in general through Twitter because companies don’t want to look bad on social media.

  • Kenny Pattie

    Great article as always Neil. I’ve always enjoyed those companies who succeed at Content or Social Media in “boring industries.” To that end, I like companies like Maersk Line, who bring together lovely graphics and imagery to what would otherwise be quite a stagnant industry – shipping.

  • Philippe Ingels

    I really like the creative thought behind these examples. Thanks for sharing.

  • https://avatarbrands.com Aasiyah Maasdorp

    Awesome article Neil! Social media has become so essential when it comes to the success of your business or brand, thank you so much for the insights Neil. 🙂

  • http://www.wordsworthandco.com peteraltschuler

    For B2C, this is useful. For B2B, it’s not.

    Content (what used to be called collateral, marketing literature, sales aids, and several other terms) has to address the interests, needs, and expectations of a wide range of people involved in the buying process. For them, beauty shots, off-the-wall humor (not tied to an advantage or product feature), and anything generic or fluffy are useless.

    B2B content can be extremely inventive and wholly reflective of a brand’s personality, but it has to have a purpose that moves prospects closer toward engaging with the company. Dr Denny’s Pancake Insoles might play to Denny’s quirky character, but it won’t persuade companies to distribute Denny’s discount cards to employees.