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Look Inside the Idea Garage for 8 Fresh B2C Examples

When you find a fresh or innovative example of content marketing, what do you do?

I bookmark the page and visit it when my creative ideas have dried up. But Natalya Minkovsky, a Washington, D.C.-based content strategist, drives those great content marketing examples into the Idea Garage at Chief Content Officer.

Now, we’re opening the door to reveal the innovative B2C examples she shared in 2019. (Feel free to bookmark this page for one-stop inspiration in 2020.)

Google gives guided art tours (October 2019)

Art Zoom, a new video series from Google Arts & Culture, takes the viewer on a guided tour of art masterpieces, from Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night to Claude Monet’s La Gare Saint-Lazare. The paintings were captured with Art Camera technology developed by the Google Cultural Institute, which results in ultra-high-resolution gigapixel images.

Art Zoom, @googlearts video series, takes viewers on guided tours of masterpieces, says @hejhejnatalya via @cmicontent. #examples #contentmarketing Share on X

Google builds on the cultural experience by layering elements of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) with soothing narration by musicians including Feist and Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker. ASMR videos have become increasingly popular on YouTube in the past several years for those looking to experience the tingling sensation and euphoria associated with listening to certain soft or repetitive sounds.

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REI ditches catalog for print magazine (October 2019)

Will a magazine persuade customers better than a catalog? Outdoors retailer REI is betting it will. The company is phasing out its print mail-order catalog in favor of a quarterly print magazine called Uncommon Path.

.@REI forgoes print catalog for new #print magazine, Uncommon Path, says @hejhejnatalya via @cmicontent. #examples #contentmarketing Share on X

REI partners with Hearst Magazines to publish the magazine, which focuses on stories about the outdoors as well as product testing and gear reviews. The magazine is sold in REI stores and select newsstands; REI also distributed the first issue to its co-op members.

And REI isn’t alone in launching a print publication.

Dating app launches lifestyle magazine (July 2019)

Bumble launched a print magazine in April. Bumble made news when it launched in 2014 as the first dating app in which the woman had to make the first move once two users matched. Since then, Bumble has expanded its business model to help women find friends and even career opportunities.

Bumble Mag, a partnership with Hearst, features dating, friendship, and career advice along with celebrity profiles, product guides, and self-care mantras. Readers could access the first issue, appropriately, by matching with the magazine’s profile in the Bumble app. The rest of the 150,000 copies went to Bumble ambassadors – marketers and event hosts – to distribute.

The magazine isn’t the only way Bumble is connecting with women outside the app; the brand hosts pop-ups and events at “Hive” spaces, where programming ranges from panel discussions with female entrepreneurs to online dating seminars and fitness classes.

Carlsbad + Pantone = Colors of Carlsbad (July 2019)

What color was your last vacation? To find out, Visit Carlsbad partnered with the Pantone Color Institute and marketing firm HireInfluence to publish the 2018 Colors of Travel study. They analyzed a mix of outdoor adventure and lifestyle travel photos with high engagement on social media to reveal trending themes and the color psychology that informs them.

What color was your last vacation? @Pantone Color Institute and @HireInfluence know, says @hejhejnatalya via @cmicontent. #examples #contentmarketing Share on X

The outcome of this research was the reveal of the trending colors of the year: PANTONE 14-4620 Island Paradise, PANTONE 14-1323 Salmon, PANTONE 19-6050 Eden, and PANTONE 16-1340 Brandied Melon.

For Carlsbad, California, this knowledge informed the Colors of Carlsbad, which showcases how these colors come to life to form a representative palette of the city – its ocean beaches, floral fields, and colorful attractions. On the town’s tourism website, you can explore a map for sights and activities that reflect these Pantone colors, from a seaweed massage at a local spa (Eden) to the blue waters of Carlsbad Lagoon (Island Paradise). You can also see which Carlsbad bars have created cocktails inspired by the trending colors.

23andMe entertains and educates (July 2019)

Chef Ludo Lefebvre has built a brand around being French. The accent, the attitude, the food – anyone who has tuned in to watch Lefebvre appear on a cooking show would never mistake the chef for anything else. But when Lefebvre partnered with genomics and biotechnology company 23andMe to learn about his ancestry, he learned there was more to his heritage than he thought.

On season seven of “Ludo à la Maison,” Lefebvre is showcasing dishes inspired by his newfound roots and putting a French spin on foods like shepherd’s pie, meatballs, and pork schnitzel. 23andMe hopes that Ludo’s story will inspire foodies to use the company’s product to learn about what tasty dishes are in their DNA.

Beyond this partnership, 23andMe has a wealth of content to educate the public about genetics. Spit is an iHeartRadio podcast hosted by writer, activist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston. The podcast invites musicians, artists, and other cultural influencers to talk about how DNA testing is changing perspectives about identity, family, and race. Meanwhile, DNA Download is a 12-part educational video series in which 23andMe employees explain the science of genetics. The series is hosted on 23andMe’s website for students and educators.

Find your creative type with Adobe (July 2019)

Are you an artist? Thinker? Dreamer? Producer? Creative Types by Adobe Create is designed to help you discover your creative personality by answering a series of 15 binary questions. For example: “I tend to see life through 1) systems or 2) stories,” and “Dip your toes or dive in head-first?” The results reveal your creative strength, untapped potential, and ideal collaborator.

While online personality quizzes are a dime a dozen these days, Creative Types stands out with clever typography, colorful design, and playful animations – a smart way to show off what customers could achieve with Adobe’s suite of products. Adobe makes it easy to explore the eight creative personalities and share results on social media using the #mycreativetype hashtag.

But the smartest content feature just might be the option to download your results. The zip file includes images and interactive media sized and formatted for a variety of social media networks, as well as a full-page PDF designed to be printed and shared. It’s easy to imagine members of a team taking the quiz and posting their results in their cubicles or on their office doors.

Vans teaches girls to skate (April 2019)

In most countries, there can be a big gender gap when it comes to skateboarding — boys are much more likely to take up the sport. Vans, a company known for making skateboarding shoes and sponsoring sports teams, is looking to close that gap by teaching girls to skate. The company plans to host more than 100 skateboarding clinics in major cities, including Bangalore, Chicago, Shanghai, and Mexico City.

Vans is creating storytelling content to go along with the initiative, such as the moving Girls Skate India video about the impact learning to skateboard has had on the confidence of girls in India. The narrative features Vans-sponsored athletes Lizzie Armanto and Atita Verghese. Girls Skate India is part of This is Off the Wall, a series of diverse stories about empowerment.

Carnival launches OceanView app (April 2019)

Hoping to stir the wanderlust of would-be cruise-takers, Carnival Corporation launched the OceanView app with branded video content that introduces viewers to places and cultures around the world. The app features more than 150 episodes of popular ocean travel TV shows, including two new direct-to-digital original series.

There’s also short-form content from Carnival’s suite of cruise lines to showcase what it’s like to take a cruise, from highlighting ship attractions to providing behind-the-scenes looks at designing, constructing, and christening a new cruise ship.

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Driving inspiration

As you read about these eight well-known companies putting a fresh spin on their content marketing, let them rev up your team’s creative engine. Share them before a brainstorming meeting. Choose an example that’s particularly inspirational and think about how you could do something out of your traditional box. Or simply bookmark this page and click on it when you hit a creative dry spell.

What great B2C content marketing did you see in 2019? Please share in the comments.

You don’t need to wait until the end of the year for this creative inspiration. Access the Idea Garage three times a year. Subscribe to the now-digital-only Chief Content Officer.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute