Over the last decade, B2C marketers have been increasingly relying on acquiring customers through content, rather than advertising.
In fact, some brands have taken their content to a level where they can be considered full-scale media platforms, rather than just content marketing campaigns. That’s because they are not creating content to sell, but to entertain, inspire and create a following. They are also churning out substantial volumes of content - at a scale where it’s perfectly justifiable to call them media platforms.
These media platforms, mostly on YouTube, comprise a vital part of these brands’ growth toolkits. They are playing a huge role in influencing buyer sentiments and driving revenues.
Here are three brands that have turned into full-scale media platforms.
GoPro is one of the best examples of a B2C company that’s built up a reputation as an entertainment brand.
GoPro’s YouTube channel has more than 5.4 million subscribers. Its success lies in tapping into the power of user-generated content.
The company began by hiring professional stuntmen and athletes to record their feats on GoPro cameras - videos of skydiving, snowboarding, mountain biking and so on.
As the trend began to catch on, an increasing number of talented athletes began recording their own adventures and uploading them. Soon, thousands were uploading videos with ‘GoPro’ in the title of the video, providing the company with social proof and free advertising.
GoPro started creating a wider variety of sports and music videos too. One of its most popular videos ‘GoPro Music: Tony Royster Jr. - Drummer's Odyssey’ has more than 2.4 million views.
GoPro’s YouTube channel has been credited with having a huge impact on sales. In 2012, the company’s revenue doubled to $526 million from $234 million. In 2013, it grew to $985 million, and the company went public in 2014.
Most brands have crafted success stories with entertaining content by using YouTube as the platform. Lego redefined the game with the Lego Movie, released in 2014.
LEGO has been firing the imaginations of fans across generations with its innovative toys, and therefore a movie was the next natural step that the world was absolutely ready for. It starred top actors like Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman and Will Ferrell and scored a whopping 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie was the most successful campaign the company has ever produced in its history. It far surpassed other campaigns such as video games or new LEGO sets based on other brands.
In 2014, after the movie release, LEGO’s sales jumped by 14%, and the next year, it grew by another 25%.
Of course, the movie isn’t the only example of wildly popular content that LEGO has produced. The company’s YouTube Channel has more than 4.6 million subscribers. Most of their videos are of actual LEGO sets being played with and animations of LEGO characters.
The channel keeps churning out around 70 videos a week in several languages, and is hugely popular around the globe.
Barbie’s YouTube channel currently has more than 3.5 million subscribers. The brand is taking the storytelling approach in its videos, always a tried and tested approach for getting more eyeballs. This is in line with the Mattel’s new positioning for the Barbie brand - to inspire girls to become leaders as well as be more culturally diverse - after sales of Barbie had been falling for some years.
In 2015, Barbie launched a video series named ‘You can be anything.’ The first video, ‘Imagine the Possibilities' got more than 25 million views. Since then, the series is one of the most popular ones Barbie has produced. Here's a recent video from this series which got 36,000 views in just 4 days.
These videos drive substantial traction for Barbie's 'Career Dolls' product line which has dozens of SKUs for different careers like chefs, tennis coaches, soccer players, pilots, TV anchors, doctors and even presidents and vice-presidents!
Barbie's videos have been playing a key role in positioning it as an inspiring brand. The new strategy, combined with the move to storytelling with video, turned around the brand’s fortunes. In Q2 2016, Mattel’s revenues fell by 3%, but Barbie sales grew by 23% in the same quarter.
These brands are doing more than just generating revenue for their own companies. They are also reshaping buyer behavior. Their authenticity is reinforcing the expectations of a new generation of buyers who want to be entertained and inspired - not sold to.