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Fab 15: Content Marketing Projects To Inspire

Winning the battle for attention takes innovation—whether through an unexpected presentation, a new tech application or a provocative message. These 15 projects demonstrate that creativity and daring are possible within a wide range of budgets, industries and formats (in no particular order).

1 Project: CityOne – A simulation game from IBM

For its daring approach to educating the planet through a game IBM, long a leader in gaming-as-content, breaks new ground with a business simulation game called CityOne.

“Games have been used for a long time in government and also in sports in order to share concepts around strategy and also deepen skills,” explains Nancy Pearson, vice president for marketing integration middleware IBM. “They’re not just for fun, and we understand that at IBM.”

In CityOne, players solve problems in four key areas—banking, retail, energy and water. Each scenario offers opportunities to understand real-world implications of business decision-making in a Sim City-style simulation. “We wanted to create a game that explained how industry solutions can help address serious problems within the industries and within municipalities,” explains Phaedra Boinodiris, lead game designer.

To date CityOne has racked up 18,000 players from more than 130 countries since it’s launch in late 2010, proving simulation gaming may be a powerful new way to engage, educate, and influence.

Company: IBM

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2 Project: The Inception of PC Viruses – A video from F-Secure

For traveling over 5,000 miles to tell a story brand storytelling is often talked about but seldom done well.

In January of this year, Mikko Hypponen, chief researcher and world-renowned computer virus expert at global computer security company, F-Secure, used a milestone in the industry to tell a story of intrigue and high adventure. “We started thinking how we could mark the fact that it was going to be 25 years since the first PC virus. Different ideas were thrown across the table. Mine was to go looking for the writers of that very first virus, especially since they had left us a clue where it might be possible to find them: Pakistan,” Hypponen says.

With that seed of an idea, F-Secure produced a masterful video documentary that follows Hypponen as he travels more than 5,000 miles from Helsinki, Finland, to Lahore, Pakistan, to meet the brothers responsible for the creation of the first computer virus, BRAIN. In the interview, Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi of Pakistan reveal why they released the virus and how they feel about it 25 years later.

“Listening to their story, I feel like we have recorded some real IT history,” reflects Hypponen. In true storyteller form, F-Secure and Hypponen withdrew themselves from the story and understood the story was not about them, but the moment.

Company: F-Secure

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3 Project: ShipServ Pages, The Movie – A video from ShipServ

For bringing a reluctant industry online with stop-motion video John Watton, CMO of Shipserv, a B2B marketplace for the maritime shipping industry, had a problem. His company sold a technologically advanced product to a market in which buyers were typically skeptical and highly resistant to change. His goal was to find a friendly, non-threatening way to get their attention, educate and drive more prospects into the sales funnel.

The answer: Add a two minute, stop-motion video titled, “ShipServ Pages: The Movie,” to the existing content marketing and lead-nurturing efforts. “We needed a way to break the ice, to show suppliers the power online marketing,” Watton says. “We went low-tech with the stop-motion video and created Rex, a spare parts supplier, hero and modern-day everyman (actually a Lego man). We felt doing anything different may actually be a deterrent to our customers.

“It’s been highly successful. The innovation is really in how we’ve integrated it with our other social media and content marketing efforts. By making a complex message manageable and easily digested, we’ve driven people into our funnel at a faster rate,” Watton says.

Company: ShipServ

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4 Project: The B2B Marketing Manifesto – An eBook from Velocity Partners

For boldly challenging an entire profession in search of the ideal customer customer relationships exist in a variety of forms, and once in a while we meet those customers we love to work with. The relationships are energizing, fun and some even can be described as magical. How do we find more of them?

That’s exactly what London-based B2B marketing agency, Velocity Partners Ltd., asked itself. Its eBook—The B2B Marketing Manifesto—uses humor, illustrations and a touch of edginess to deliver a stand-out message. “It was our first attempt at psychographic targeting, a conscious effort to attract the people we love working with as customers,” says Doug Kessler, creative director and co-founder of Velocity Partners. He continues, “We found three common traits among our most successful customer relationships. Those traits became the basis of the eBook. We focused on getting our passion on the paper, which led to presenting a call-to-arms to our profession, all designed to attract those core psychographic traits.”

Going beyond the typical demographic profile of a market segment, into a psychographic one is the core innovation found in the eBook. Wrapping it in a rallying cry for the profession was the genius in drawing out the customers. “From downloads to comments to conversations and new customers, we’ve been almost overwhelmed by the success of our approach on this project.” Kessler says.

Company: Velocity Partners Ltd.

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5 Project: The Messenger Is The Message – An infographic from Eloqua and JESS3

For inspiring conversation through art and design infographics have seen a meteoric rise in popularity as a form of content. Sadly, many exist merely as a simple—even primitive—regurgitation of facts.

“A good infographic visualizes data to communicate a point of view—it doesn’t visualize data for the sake of visualizing data,” says Joe Chernov, Eloqua’s VP of content marketing and co-creator of The Message is the Messenger infographic. “We wanted to—we need to—remain relevant in conversations that marketers are having about marketing. This infographic and others we’ve created was a way to make sure Eloqua remains a vital participant in this larger conversation.”

The graphic sums up the transition from traditional to new media, and captures the ever-growing list of personal brands—new media figureheads—that make up the social marketing conversation.

Adds Chernov, “‘I want to create an infographic’ is the wrong reason to create one. ‘I have a really complex perspective that I want to simplify’ is generally the right reason.”

Company: Eloqua & JESS3

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6 Nike Better World – A microsite from Nike

For designing a purposeful reason for us to scroll Using HTML5, Nike’s hip storyboard-style microsite amasses all the goodness of the brand and delivers it in an unusual, scrolling format. Best of all? The attention-grabbing Better World video is made from “100% recycled advertising.” How green is that?

Company: Nike

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7 Wherever You Want To Go: Four Films About the Future of Mobility (microsite and videos)

For endeavoring to discover the DNA of tomorrow’s automobiles BMW presents an artfully produced four-film documentary answering the question, “What is the future of mobility?” Fifteen of today’s leading academics, pioneers and entrepreneurs share the insights of the past, present and future of technology, cities and the automobile.

Company: BMW

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8 The French Connection YouTique – A YouTube channel from French Connection

For bridging fashion tips and tutorials with commerce and video the women’s clothing e-tailer combines the mini-video format of YouTube with the ethos of the Home Shopping Network to offer women snack-size personal shopping videos based on occasion.

Company: French Connection

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9 From One Engineer to Another – A collection of blogs from Indium Corp.

For bringing a material supplies company to life through blogging sixteen engineers from Indium blog, produce videos and answer questions about a variety of engineering topics (ie. how to set up and operate the Indium sulfamate plating bath).

Company: Indium Corporation

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10 The Ford Story – A user community from Ford

For understanding it’s not only about getting your message out, but also allowing customer voices in Ford’s user community deftly combines Ford content with user stories, images and videos.

Company: Ford

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11 Friend Network Optimizer – A Facebook app from SAP

For tapping our personal Facebook network to uniquely demonstrate the power of SAP software

Who among your friends is an influencer? Where should you direct your efforts? This fun network optimizer demonstrates in small format what SAP does for businesses.

Company: SAP

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12 Caterpillar Online Community – An online community from Caterpillar

For moving earth and building a place for equipment operators and owners to help each other online a buzzing online forum where professionals who work with Caterpillar equipment and engines can exchange information, find answers and get expert advice from their peers. Where else can you compare skid steers?

Company: Caterpillar

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13 Cries For Help Lighting Revolution – A monthly contest from Cree Inc.

For taking a stand against inefficient lighting submit photos of dark, poorly lit spaces and enter to win a free lighting for a forlorn little office or home.

Company: Cree Inc.

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14 The Intuit Collaboratory – A crowd-sourced lab from Intuit

For fostering innovation by asking for help in solving today’s business challenges Intuit’s open collaboration platform asks entrepreneurs to help solve the company’s latest product challenges—and rewards winners with cash. Intuit designs challenges for both code-writing techies, as well as tech-challenged entrepreneurs.

Company: Intuit

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15 MSPtv (educational community for managed service providers)

For embracing new media to educate the IT reseller channel when your product is the cloud, customer education is paramount. Zenith Infotech attacks this challenge by providing a steady flow of useful podcasts, webinars, videos and more to help its resellers position and troubleshoot their products.

Company: Zenith Infotech

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