10 inspiring consumer retail brands who excel at content marketing
The retail sector has provided some of the best examples of content marketing in recent years. Companies that need to drive visitors to a website to attract sales, harness social media, print and video to create brand awareness have lead the way with vibrant, exciting and often innovative examples of content.
The quality of retail based content is often reflected by the Content Marketing Awards with many winners emerging from the sector each year.
On April 24th the CMA team, with guests from across the industry, will be examining the role of content in retail in our monthly breakfast. Tickets are available here. To give you a taste of the type of topics they will be discussing that day, here are ten excellent and diverse examples of how brands use content in retail.
Beardbrand is a classic example of how a company with a niche product can use content to literally ‘own their online space.’ The company, which was formed in 2012 in the US, sells beard management products from styling balm through to moustache wax. Yet visit the company’s website and you are met not with product but with an interactive quiz asking ‘what is the best beard style for you?’ From there on in are videos, blogs and social posts dedicated to providing the last word in facial hair care. They also work extensively with beardy influencers to get their message across. The content is also executed with a knowing wink in a way that smartly has you exploring the company’s products without necessarily being aware of it. The company, which has also been in business in the UK since 2014, are just brilliant at content.
Created for the brand by CMA member John Brown Media, MyVIP is a standard setting consumer magazine distributed to people who become VIP members of the Pets at Home loyalty scheme. The company claims an astonishing readership of seven million. Each issue never misses a beat offering a compelling mix of tips and news alongside profiles of celebrities and their furry friends. The magazine has consistently been there or thereabouts in the CMA Awards over the years, and this year scooped top prize in the prestigious Best Use of Print sector.
So how do you promote a shopping centre without constantly talking about its range of retail options? That was the challenge facing Dear Friends agency in Sweden when they were commissioned to promote Frölunda Torg, the biggest shopping centre in Gothenburg. To drive lots of footfall to the centre before Christmas they came up with a very smart idea. They invited 24-year-old Alonnika to live there for two weeks in a small cottage in the shopping centre, shopping, eating, trying out different products, participating in events and meeting with visitors and customers. Her every move was followed by users of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
The campaign proved to be a huge success with the centre recording its highest sales figures in 51 years. Not only that but it scored Best Consumer Campaign in the 2018 CMA awards.
The supermarket magazine is produced by the branded content wing of Hearst Media. It is hugely successful, and after The National Trust is the most read magazine in the UK boasting a circulation of 1,971,667 for its six issues in 2018, It is accompanied by a website that features superbly executed, beautifully created recipes, fashion and beauty tips family articles and loads more.
Another high profile, best selling supermarket publication, the Tesco Magazine is created for the company by Cedar Communications. The food section pairs some stunning photography with recipes for both the beginner and the bold. The magazine also showcases a living section that features makeup, beauty and health tips. Cedar recently undertook extensive research to find out more what its readers wanted from the magazine and the results have helped to bring the brand and the consumer ever closer. The magazine also has a lively and engaging social media output with the company’s Pinterest output, again operated by Cedar, a recipient of awards.
A good example of a way that a website is using content to sell product is provided by Unilever’s site All Things Hair created by Green Park Content. It regularly posts content that subtly promotes products in listicle form, a good recent example is 20 Easy Hairstyles For Long Hair That You Can Do In Seconds which offers readers top tips on how to get various contemporary looks and cleverly promotes the products that enable them to do this. Readers can order the items directly off the page.
One of the longest running, most respected and most successful of all the branded content titles, Sainsbury’s Magazine has been inspiring its readers for the best part of a quarter of a century. Constantly refreshing a part of the magazine establishment can be a tricky task, but Seven C3 which publishes the title has consistently reinvented it adapting to changing tastes and attitudes. Over the years it has won many CMA awards.
Many style and fashion brands could have made this list for their expertise in both content and social output. The gold standard though is arguably Mr Porter, the men’s style retailer. Billing itself as a style destination the sites mixes its items for sale with high quality editorial via its sections like The Daily and The Journal (its weekly magazine). As you would expect there are lots of shopping roundups, but the site also delves into more cerebral and esoteric topics bringing its audiences high-end travel videos and interviews with influential celebrities.
This is a really good example of how a company can use content to generate brand awareness and loyalty to a product that otherwise might be tricky to retail. Yeti is a lifestyle brand that sells high-end hard and soft coolers, drink tumblers and other outdoor accessories. To promote the items the company has created a series of content in words, images audio and video that describes the lives of people living interesting and adventurous lives. So, for example, their most recent post looks at the life of a cowboy who grew up on a Navajo Native American reservation. The content is expertly created, the video brilliantly edited and the brand weaves their items subtly into the story.
As you might expect there are lots of good examples of content marketing in the publishing industry with the likes of Penguin, Waterstones and others creating imaginative high quality blog posts and podcasts. Unbound, which is a book publisher with a twist in that it crowdfunds books, stands out in a very competitive field for its unique, and rather novel approach. Sure it has in Boundless a superb blog that features book excerpts, chats with authors, publishing tips and a whole load more. However, it is the Backlisted podcast which makes it so special. The brilliant listen, which has amassed a significant and devoted audience, features the show’s hosts – one of whom happens to be John Mitchinson one of Unbound’s founders – talk about novels that have been forgotten or are in some ways underrated. Each episode is a wonderful listen with the Unbound range being subtly promoted via the odd message and occasional mention of books that the company has recently published.
If you would like to hear more about how you can maximise your content for the retail & luxury retail sectors, tickets start at just £25 for the next Content Breakfast on 24th April. Our panel will explain what they believe is the best method for creating and distributing content on a large scale.