communications strategy

Content marketing examples that taste great, in all formats

Sandra Stewart | July 13, 2016

Search for great content marketing examples and you’re likely to get video and more … video. Some will indeed be inspiring (I’ll admit we’ve found ourselves grooving on branded cat videos), but they’re not the only way to attract, educate and motivate the people you want to reach. Here are a few examples of emulation-worthy content in other formats. And some video.

Patagonia Provisions is touring its film to promote sustainable agriculture.

Patagonia Provisions is touring its film to promote sustainable agriculture.

Quizzes: they’re irresistible
Levi Strauss had a hit with its water use quiz because it’s simple, beautiful and eye-opening—and quizzes are highly shareable. It’s also unique: the company’s content team used data from Levi’s own lifecycle assessment, which studied the full environmental impact of a core set of products from cradle to grave, to give quiz takers an idea of whether they wash their jeans more or less often than their peers. (Details are in this interview with senior digital manager Michelle Wright.)

Another example, from our own files: RoseRyan’s tongue-in-cheek “What Kind of Finance Pro Are You?” personality quiz. We let our funniest writer loose on the world of finance to create a piece that earned the Silicon Valley finance consulting firm coverage in CFO Magazine. It proved that finance pros can have a sense of humor—and many users have told the firm they found it weirdly insightful. (It appears that many finance pros are artisans, which could be a cause for worry or celebration.)

Want to be a star? Make your own movie
Patagonia is introducing its new line of trail food, Patagonia Provisions, with a 25-minute film—a length and format that allows powerful storytelling. Unbroken Ground explores agricultural approaches that could change our relationship to the land and oceans, seen through the stories of the company’s suppliers. The company is touring the film around the country at events that feature the food and people who appear in the film. It’s too soon to assess results, but it’s one of the most thoughtful introductions of a sustainable product we’ve seen.

Substance: it’s what a white paper needs
Edison Energy’s The New Energy Future – Challenges and Opportunities in Corporate Energy Management is a model of what a white paper should be. Based on extensive survey and interview research, the paper explores corporate perceptions of the energy savings opportunity—and why that opportunity is still largely unrealized. Clear, readable prose and graphics make the data easily digestible, and The New Energy Future makes a case for the company’s services without explicitly promoting them—as a good white paper should.

Can you include ice cream? Go for it
Perhaps the ultimate in content marketing for a sustainable brand, the Ben & Jerry’s Democracy is in Your Hands Campaign uses the ice cream maker’s brand power to promote a public good, employing nearly every tool in the kit. There is a video—and it’s a real, rousing call to action. There’s also a website that provides background on the campaign’s twin issues of expanding voting rights and getting big money out the political process, helps people register to vote and take other actions, and includes a frankly worded FAQ that answers real questions (“Aren’t you a corporation getting involved in the political system?” for one). And of course, there’s a campaign ice cream, Empower Mint.

Few of us can deliver content via ice cream (it’s hard to beat that for visceral appeal), but whatever your secret sauce is, it can flavor your content marketing in whatever format fits—and leave people craving more.


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