Brand partnerships are producing better results when it comes to catering the expectations of internet-savvy consumers. Although there is no dearth of content-driven engagement strategies but it is really difficult to get the real value out of the investment.
Content marketing eats up a lot of money especially in today’s era when you need to connect with your target audience almost every moment. With high production budgets and content marketing costs, when businesses fail to make the mark or produce desired ROI, it comes as news that they didn’t even have an ounce of business sense when it comes to connecting and engaging the audience online.
The key to deal with it is to keep the costs low and develop long-term and mutually beneficial partnerships with other brands having some portion of same target audience. It is one of the most popular and effective ways to gain instant attention of socially-savvy consumers; keep production costs low and improve ROI. Such alliances between brands and content producers not only result in creative campaigning but also lead to more refined content, which automatically is quickly searched by search engines.
Forbes recently ran an article about this. Let us take a look at how famous brand partnerships are catering the expectations of consumers and how remarkably they have improved their presence online while optimizing their content marketing budgets.
L’Oreal’s Garnier Fructis Partnership with Rolling Stone
L’Oreal’s Garnier Fructis has been in partnership with Rolling Stone for over two years. Their content marketing is dedicated around discovering new and emerging musicians or artists and particularly their styles. In 2011, they developed content around searching new artists and asking consumers to vote for the first unsigned artist to be featured on the Rolling Stone cover. Under this program, the winning artist signed a contract with them to connect and engage the consumers in order to develop a stronger emotional connection and affinity.
In 2012, they again invited customers to vote and decide emerging female musician to be featured on the cover of the Rolling Stone, leveraging Rolling Stone’s Women Who Rock’s annual issue. Through this content series, they have achieved stronger results in terms of page views and customer base expansion. They actually surpassed their target and earned greater impressions and connections with their audience.
American Express’s Partnership with Musicians
According to Walter Frye, Director of Entertainment Marketing and Sponsorships at American Express, content is one of the most important elements of their marketing efforts. They believe in extending their message through content to their current and potential customers through their partnerships with musicians, sports persons or groups and other entertainment properties.
American Express although has participated in many content-driven programs but till now American Express Unstaged is their most successful program. It is a program that live-streams concerts by some of the most popular and biggest names in the music industry. They presented ColdPlay in 2011 under this program and it became the largest single-artist program on YouTube. The main aim of the program is to exposing more people to the brand and developing an emotion connection with the existing and potential customers.
Converse’s Partnership with Guitar Center
Converse and Guitar Center have a unique partnership as they haven’t created any dedicated content for Rubber Tracks. The content is the recording sessions that echo with the personality of their buyers. Not only this, the recordings are not one time or short advertisings but are long term and permanent assets. The music recordings are available on YouTube and social networking sites.
Converse cashes in on with the affiliation between their products and the ability of artists to drive consideration for converse products and establish a connection with customers. This is why Converse sponsors either a major tour or a series of tours for Guitar Center.
Renaissance Hotels Partnership with the Navigators Platform and RLife Live Program
Renaissance Hotels are especially designed for business travelers, who are interested in exploring the world when on business trips. Renaissance Hotels is an experiential lifestyle brand of Marriott, which has designed two platforms to help guests discover the city as well as its culture.
The Navigators Platform helps travelers in discovering the local city outside the hotel, whereas the RLife Live Program helps them discover local food and drinks inside the hotel, art, films and new music. Both these programs are based on rich content that keeps guests engrossed in local life and culture of the city they are traveling to.
In May 2012, they launched a new website that is not concentrated on hotels but projects itself as a discovery site. Not just through this site, the brand has also made use of social networking platforms such as Facebook to start engaging conversations where business travelers can share their experience or their views and opinions. Now their site is experiencing record traffic and exponential growth on Facebook.
According to the hotel management, the content is the currency that drives consideration and makes customers feel more attached to the brand. This is why they keep on exploring new ways to content marketing and connect with their customers. Content always comes first, in the form of conversations online and experiences in the offline world.
Vanguard’s Campaign – Vanguard at the Movies
In 2011, Vanguard launched a campaign called Vanguard at the Movies, which took-off classic movie genres of suspense, drama and horror to extend the brand as well as cross-merchandising its existing video content on the YouTube. According to them, movies are the most watched video content across the globe. So, they thought of using movies to extend their visibility online.
The initiative brought record traffic to their website and their YouTube channel got hundreds of thousands views from tens of thousands in just a few weeks. Now movies have become the central point for them to create awareness and increase traffic to their website.
While the most prolific brands are becoming publishers and discovering innovative ways to connect with their audience, it’s become an established fact that brand partnerships offer new opportunities to companies to keep their content marketing costs low while producing more effective results.