Let’s just say it – some brands kick ass when it comes to content.
Whether it’s with cultural relevance, community building, creative data analysis or social listening, the following brands prove that there are myriad strategies to make an audience swoon.
They may have huge budgets, but their approach is based on the same, simple philosophy — knowing their customers so well, they end up knowing exactly what they want to see.
Read on to feel inspired by all the ways your content can serve up the goods.
Using data to make fun, personalised goodies.
Many of us know and love Spotify – the globally renowned music-streaming platform that has changed the way we consume music. As music preference is deeply personal by definition, it makes sense that personalised content is Spotify’s jam.
Take ‘Spotify Wrapped’, a customised feature sent to each user every December since 2017. ‘Wrapped’ displays your most listened to songs, albums and genres from that year in a moving, audible review that’s really fun to scroll – and shareable.
Brilliantly, everyone with Spotify takes to social media in their hordes to share this bite-sized glimpse into their musical identity, and it’s probably a big reason why new members sign up (*gingerly raises hand).
The key to Spotify’s success is they clearly know, in-depth, what their users like. As well as serving up custom playlists inspired by cultural trends (enter ‘TikTok Bangers’), the platform consistently surfaces music based on the user’s mood.
Some might say it’s creepy that Spotify can tell, based on your listening habits, ‘whether you’ve broken up with someone, whether you’re studying, exercising, or trying to sleep’ – but it’s also sort of brilliant that they transform this insight into curated content that they know will speak to individuals emotionally.
One of my favourite stunts of theirs was a few years ago, when they cherry-picked users’ funny listening quirks to create these standout billboard ads. The tagline: ‘Thanks 2016. It’s been weird.’ (Ah, we were so young.)
Harnessing a highly engaged social audience to do your marketing for you.
Before its launch, Founder Emily Weiss (at the time a 26-year-old writer at Teen Vogue) had already built a community of avid readers on her hit beauty blog, Into the Gloss. She noticed that they frequently groaned at the standard ‘airbrushed’ aesthetic, and craved a fresh, inclusive makeup line that celebrated real beauty. So Weiss listened to them and built Glossier.
With this modern consumer desire at its heart, helped by bold, retro branding, Glossier grew into a cult brand. Its success is due to carrying on the way it started; as a genuine online conversation with makeup fans about what the industry needs.
Even now, Glossier continues to chat to its ready-made social media posse, and they, in turn, happily rave about products online – essentially creating Glossier’s content for them. In fact, about 70 percent of the company’s sales come from word-of-mouth marketing alone.
Offering fresh, relevant content in response to cultural shifts.
Launched in 2014 as the only dating app where women make all the first moves, Bumble has done well to establish itself as the woke ‘swipe style’ dating app. Founder, Whitney Wolfe Hearde, even made headlines when she became a rare female billionaire at only 31.
In line with its USP, culture and community is a continuing theme with Bumble. They frequently use their data to share insights into online dating behaviour, often within the context of contemporary social issues. They also encourage conversation about improving the dating experience for everyone.
For instance, their Instagram feature #DatingTheseDays asks questions such as ‘What does “masculinity” mean in 2020?’ and ‘Is preference different to bias?’, while their #BlackLove segment shares dating stories within the black community.
This socially conscious content doesn’t come across as band-wagoning, it has authenticity. Since its inception as a female-empowerment model, it suits Bumble’s identity to question the status quo and be a strong conversational facilitator for its users. This consistency in their messaging ensures their progressive user-base remain loyal fans. Well, as loyal as you want to be with a dating app.
Using targeted content to speak to every kind of customer.
Homeware brand MADE.com was founded on the premise that high-end designer furniture could be made affordable. But they also offer a good example of how going niche with your content can show an understanding and respect for your market.
MADE has represented all kinds of home decor fans in their editorial features – not just your typical family homeowner, but also single mothers, renters and house-sharers.
Titled ‘Owning It’, one long-form series acknowledged that home-ownership isn’t realistic for everyone and told stories of renters who have made their spaces their own.
This isn’t to say that MADE’s products are a viable option for everyone who rents – but this approach diversifies the narrative around who can show off with home decor, and empowers smaller segments of their core market to feel seen and heard.
Using a strong brand voice and humour to be memorable.
As one of the first bed-in-a-box home delivery suppliers, Casper managed the steep feat of making boxed mattresses fun. A bit of a marketing hero, they did this with a myriad of strategies including an affable brand voice and memorable content that speaks to every stage of the sales funnel.
Casper also got great at sticky, trend-led ideas. There’s a wave of surreal ‘unboxing’ videos on YouTube, while the brand’s online commentary on sleep health and nighttime routine has established them as experts in all things bedtime.
Their tone of voice is strong throughout – subversive but with a nicely restrained humour. Check out this piece on dog sleeping positions or their Youtube sleep meditation, ‘Truly Boring Fairytales’ for evidence.
This well-maintained, personality-led content has allowed Casper to fight off lots of mattress competitors and remain a brand that people like and remember.
Filling the space for an already idle audience.
Seizing the potential of a bored audience, WePresent pops up in the browser while the user waits for files to upload, leading them down an enjoyable, educational rabbit hole of creative case studies.
As well as aesthetically pleasing editorial in WePresent, WeTransfer has since produced additional apps to facilitate the creative process: ‘Paste’, ‘Collect’ and ‘Paper’. They also launched a Youtube channel chock full of art tutorials voiced by guest artists demonstrating their skills.
WeTransfer thought about who was using their site, what their interests were, and how to grab their attention at an opportune time. They’ve since aligned themselves with social and political causes, donated millions to charity and achieved B-certification.
In making these moves, the company has ensured the brand is known for much more than its original service.
Big brands have big teams to create sparkling content campaigns. But if you’re a smaller business with limited funds, or you’re just starting out, simply writing a blog with a specific audience in mind is a step in the right direction.
Want to chat over content ideas?