Over the past few years, the way people consume information and communicate has changed tremendously. Fueled by the adoption of social media, this transformation in consumer behavior has forced marketing strategies to evolve across industries. Content marketers have risen to the challenge, and we’ve seen some remarkable campaigns as a result. However, the companies behind these campaigns might surprise you.
Technology companies, while creating innovative and brilliant products, aren’t always associated with emotional or whimsical campaigns. This might lead consumers to believe that technology brands are cold or impersonal. But despite these labels, tech brands are actually leading the way with their content marketing strategies, especially in terms of reach, frequency, and engagement.
Here are three examples of technology brands that are knocking content out of the park.
Humanizing a massive company like General Electric is no simple task, but the brand has successfully done so for years. Visual storytelling and social media have played vital roles in that process, making the company’s technology digestible and relatable.
GE has mastered social storytelling with campaigns like #PiDay on Twitter, #6SecondScienceFair on Vine, #SpringBreakIt on Instagram, and its ‘Hey Girl’ Pinterest board. Through these initiatives, the brand has proven to audiences that it’s about more than just appliances.
— General Electric (@generalelectric) March 14, 2014
Beyond social, the company uses its multiple content properties to illustrate the aviation, energy, health care, and transportation industries. Using GE Reports, Ecomagination, healthymagination, Txchnologist, and GE.com, GE is able to weave its short-term social efforts together with long-form content. The brand is now featured on countless content marketing lists and remains an inspiration for other companies.
Content has been at the forefront of IBM’s strategy since the early 1990’s, and the company’s passion for and strategy around content has continued to evolve since then. Through IBM web properties and employee blogs, the brand digs deep into trends, challenges, and advancements made in relevant industries.
Rather than rely on promotions or hard sells, IBM positions itself as a thought leader, focusing on building trust and credibility through its content. In doing so, IBM places a lot of emphasis on infographics, videos, and photos. The best content across its web properties is showcased on IBM’s Voices website. Everything from company news to tweets from its engineers are funneled through here.
IBM’s social team works efficiently and effectively to support this content. What’s unique about this team is that it’s fluent in the brand’s social media guidelines, so it doesn’t have to run everything past legal. This enables it to produce timely, relevant, and sharable content.
This doesn’t mean that IBM never weaves its products into its content. It does, and it does so wisely. A fantastic example of this balance can be seen, or rather heard, in the U.S. Open Sessions which features music made with tennis data. It’s a beautiful example of how technology brands can take advantage of real-time or live events and still maintain relevancy across diverse audiences.
Lenovo is one of the most popular computer makers in the world, but in 2012 it was still trailing behind rivals HP and Apple in terms of brand recognition. “The business is way ahead of the brand,” said Lenovo’s Chief Marketing Officer David Roman. “We’re No. 2 in the industry, yet outside of key countries like China and India, and outside of key markets like industrial, the brand is not well-known.”
There was a tremendous opportunity for the brand to catch up, and that’s just what it did. Through targeting the 18- to 35-year-old consumer market, and leveraging partnerships to gain credibility, the brand was revitalized. This was achieved, in part, due to Lenovo’s willingness to connect with many of the brands that resonate with younger consumers, including Google, YouTube, Southwest Airlines, and MTV.
More recently, Ashton Kutcher joined the company as a product engineer and now helps promote the brand’s new line of notebooks. Kutcher, who also helped promote Nikon’s product line, appears in promotional videos that receive anywhere between 25,000 and 87,000 views on YouTube. The company found that the youth market valued most what they’re doing with technology, and so these 30-second videos focus less on the product and more on what the user is doing with it.
Although the examples above might not have all reached viral status, each one has helped these behemoth brands stand out in an overcrowded social space. Brands like General Electric, IBM, and Lenovo prove that size and industry don’t hinder success. Content marketing done right can help companies step out of the shadows and become a household name among their target audience.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.