This summer in Colorado was absolutely beautiful. The days were warm. The nights were cool. The flowers were abundant. Nothing burned down and only a few things flooded. On one of those gorgeous summer evenings, I took the kids to an outdoor concert. In addition to the live music set-up at the front, there were a few booths where vendors hawked their wares. One of them gave my daughter a balloon. As soon as she was out of earshot, she looked in disgust at the “CenturyLink®” logo printed on the side and asked, “Advertising again? Whatever happened to just being nice?”
Now, then. The for-profit telecommunication company in question is not required to hand out balloons to children as they frolic in the grass. So, maybe she should just enjoy the free balloon already and stop fussing. On the other hand, she represents the viewpoint of others who are fed up with being bombarded with advertising at every turn. Does every interaction with public life have to be interrupted by needy, nosy demands to pay heed to someone’s brand?
I’m thinking the short answers are yes. Yes, stop kvetching and enjoy your balloon and some fresh air. Yes, public life has been infiltrated by marketing and there’s little likelihood that we’re going to get that toothpaste back in the tube so we’re probably going to have to deal with it. But also yes, maybe there’s a better way. Maybe, at least one of those ways is content marketing.
Content marketing differs slightly from simple promotion because it offers customers something useful but related to your brand. When Tollhouse includes the recipe for chocolate chip cookies on the back of the package; that’s content marketing. When AAA or CostCo send magazines with interesting articles about travel or tires; that’s content marketing.
The cool thing about content marketing is it forces companies to think more broadly and relationally about their brands—not just about their products but the context of the lives of the people who use their products. On the flipside, content marketing feels less pervy to customers who will therefore be more likely to use the content and even share it with others.
Consider these two tips for good content marketing.
In the next post, we’ll talk more about Berger’s excellent book. For now, though, have you seen any genius examples of content marketing you care to share with us?
Kyndra Wilson, KW Brand Translation