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2015: The Year of Consumer-Driven Content

Marketing is more personalized, social and technologically advanced than most of us could have ever imagined just a decade ago. More than ever, this year has been filled with open, honest and inclusive ad campaigns that have worked famously and gone viral with consumers everywhere.

Big brands are learning that getting back to their roots and reaching their audience on a supremely personal and emotional level is working with consumers around the world. And in a cut-throat, highly criticized industry like advertising, that’s saying something. Here’s to a new year of content truly customized to the customer and bringing the love back to advertisements.

Love Is the Answer

The olive branch ad approach has won the hearts of American consumers this year, and we have hamburgers, puppies and cellphones as proof. Burger King tried to make friends with McDonald’s this year, and it was priceless. The burger dynasty suggested a McWhopper collaboration to benefit the nonprofit group Peace One Day to raise awareness of the International Day of Peace. The company earned a ton of goodwill points with hungry humanitarians everywhere, even though the idea was promptly shut down by McDonald’s. Guess who consumers sided with?

Android made us all swoon with adorable animal videos of “Friends Furever.” This campaign matched animal duos, like a chimp and a hound dog, and included the emotionally charged caption: “Be together. Not the same.” It was a pretty serious jab at Apple, but consumers ate it up; it has over 20 million YouTube views.

And let us not forget the Zappos pet adoption promo. The company sponsored free pet adoptions from Black Friday to Cyber Monday across the nation in conjunction with Best Friends Animal Society. This promo not only drove insane amounts of traffic to the Zappos’ site on the busiest weekend of the shopping year, but it also saved animals’ lives. Now that’s inbound marketing with heart and soul.

Social Media Saves Lives Abroad

Social media has taken a lot of flack this year, but you can’t argue with the lives it saved or the families it reunited after the devastating floods in Chennai, India. An estimated 150 million social media users participated in a giant, mostly amateur search and rescue mission that was formed and coordinated almost exclusively on social media.

Teach a Man to Fish

Moody’s Analytics is teaching worldwide seminars in addition to offering financial services in an effort to educate and empower small business owners instead of just taking their money.

Bring the Good Feelings to Your Business

If you haven’t worked with a nonprofit organization or formed altruistic relationships within your community, you’re missing out. It’s important to look for ways that not only give back but also make sense with your brand and its ethos. Working with like-minded people makes generating revenue and promoting positivity feel effortless while benefiting all parties involved. Get employees involved with fundraisers and events to raise morale and eliminate any sign of the holiday blues.

Regardless of your business or current inbound marketing strategy, it’s important to always have your eye on the prize: serving your audience. Remember you’re not bragging about your humanistic efforts. You’re spreading positivity, raising awareness and promoting good will to all. It’s a marketing tactic you can be proud of, and that’s what your valued customers value the most.

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