Content is king – it always has been. What other ways do brands have to communicate with their audiences than words and visuals? Content is nothing new, in fact it has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.
Authors have become a vital part of our world culture. Today we consume their writing from printed books, smartphones, computers, e-readers and tablets. However authorship began with a different type of tablet. 4000 years ago, Sumerian high priestess Enheduanna was the writer behind a set of stone tablets found in modern day Iraq. She is believed to be the first example of an author who put a name to her work. Before that important information was conveyed through cave paintings and songs.
From these ancient beginnings, thousands of famous authors have emerged: Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.R.R. Tolkien, Hemingway, and so on! From the ancient Greek poet Homer to our contemporary J.K Rowling, thousands of authors have written in nearly every language imaginable. Then after years of print publications, the internet changed the way people could access written content.
Content marketing was without a doubt the buzzword of 2013 – and believe me it is going to stay! What brings in my curiosity though is to identify which brands are truly embracing content marketing with innovative and new approaches. I think you’ll agree when I say that we have seen plenty of guideline posts and articles on how to stay on top of the content marketing game, however most of the time these are related to a brand’s products and niche (and rightly so!).
There seems to be a fresh breath of air though as brands are starting to select content niches that have hardly any relation to their products and services offered. Providing such content though is often not enough therefore content marketing moves into charity, patronage, sponsorship, brand associations as well as media ownership – something most brands can only dream of!
So let’s find out who really does take content to the next level and at what scale (you’ll be surprised!). The key here is to disrupt and incorporate other industries to genuinely engage consumers.
The German brewery was an early adopter of innovative content marketing approaches. In 2011 it set the tone for the scale of its brand enhancement and content featuring its ‘Green Box Project’ which to this day is the focus if its website.
The initial idea was to commission 1,000 pieces of art, encouraging the puplic’s artists to submit pieces. For the campaign large green boxes were placed in cities across the world and could be augmented with its Key app – allowing participants to create their own pieces of art, or in other words user generated ‘art’.
Becks does have a history of embracing the arts – previously nouvelle artists such as Damien Hirst & Tracey Emin commissioned bottle label designs. Looking further down the timeline they’ve also ran an alternative to the Turner Prize between 2000 and 2006. ‘Becks Futures’ was a British art prize founded by London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and sponsored by Becks given to contemporary artists. It’s interesting to note that the brand itself doesn’t have a design heritage per se – still though their arts focused content marketing approach seems to be working pretty well!
When Christopher Bailey joined the British luxury fashion house the company underwent a massive overhaul. He literally transformed the outdated British heritage brand into an uber cool, elegant fashion house once again – overlooking the company’s overall image such as advertising, corporate art direction, store design and visuals on top of all Burberry collections and product lines.
It’s no secret that Bailey loves music something that has led to the fact that Burberry championed the young Brit talent Tom Odell as well as setting up a music team within Burberry. So what happened there? Again the brand disrupted another industry in this instance it was music.
If you look at its website you’ll find around 60 acoustic sets whilts its YouTube channel promotes young British artists combining music, catwalk shows and advertisement. Smart, eh? The idea behind all of that is to deepen the image/perception that Burberry is at the cutting edge of creativity!
Louis Vuitton commissioned the award winning architect Frank Gehry who according to Vanity Fair ‘is the most important architect of our time’ to design the ‘Louis Vuitton Foundation’ a spectacular piece of architecture located on the Bois De Boulogne in Paris. The building will be home to contemporary art exhibitions.
The move indicates that long term established luxury houses such as Louis Vuitton can’t any longer just rely on their heritage but are starting to mix pop culture, fine arts, media, and advertising in order to bring people together and engage them via branded experiences. For instance, its fashion stores feature some of arts biggest master pieces showing that the brand has a long history of arts and design. Its latest project though gives it that cutting edge twist and is very likely guaranteed to genuinely engage its audience via these aesthetic experiences.
These examples show us that we have reached a turning point – no longer can we simply rely on sponsoring an exhibition somewhere. No, these examples show that brands are increasingly starting to embrace the world of arts. The evolution of the internet resulted in museums and galleries no longer only to have the duty to simply collect knowledge but more importantly they have an imperative to genuinely engage the public.