Traditionally, brands with the big budgets won the marketing turf war. The deeper the pockets, the more ads they could buy in TV, radio, outdoor and print. However, we’ve entered a new age of marketing fuelled by emerging digital technologies. Audiences now only see and hear the content they choose to see and hear. Any unwanted messages that can be avoided will be avoided, and those that can’t will simply be ignored.
This is the post-advertising age, but it’s not an age where marketing is dying. No. It’s an age where brands have the opportunity to thrive. The marketing landscape has been leveled. Simply from a monetary standpoint, the cost of telling your brand’s story in the post-advertising age is a fraction of what traditional advertising costs. That’s not to say that there’s no place for traditional advertising, but traditional (paid) media now jump starts owned media, which fuels earned media (the best kind). Those brands who are willing to create content that audiences will find useful and/or entertaining are being rewarded with fierce brand evangelism in an age where our circles of friends are amplified like never before.
Here are five brands that are thriving in the post-advertising age:
Warby Parker’s social efforts have turned it into one of the hottest companies in eyewear these days by emphasising a crowdsourced approach, right down to the typically laborious process of choosing the right frames. Here’s how it works: Choose as many as five pairs to try on; send back the pairs you’ve decided against. Still having trouble deciding which look is best for you? Post shots of yourself wearing each style, and let Warby Parker’s Facebook community decide for you. (The brand itself also frequently chimes in, offering kind advice.) The concept is wildly successful, and the company’s Facebook page bustles with activity generated by happy customers who’ve turned into unlikely brand advocates by helping others decide between pairs.
What’s a musical quartet doing in our top 10? It’s simple. In an age where music videos are rarely watched through traditional avenues (a stark contrast to what made MTV so successful in its early years), OK Go are the poster children for creating videos with content so unique and amazing audiences are compelled to share it. They’ve been so successful that 10 of their music videos have eclipsed the 1 million-view mark, including one video with over 34 million views. Their popularity led Chevy to partnering with them on their latest video for their song “Needing/Getting.” In less than a month it has garnered over 16 million views.
Denver, Colorado–based Blue Moon Brewing Company is deeply involving brew buffs in creating its next seasonal, limited edition beer, to be released in the fall. It’s not simply a one-week one-off contest; participants absolutely have a say in the proceedings. Thus far, through the brand’s Facebook page, fans have whittled down a field of overall flavours to three. Voting on a choice of label art for each of the finalists—Caramel Apple Spiced Ale, Blackberry Tart Ale and Dark Chocolate Bacon Porter—has just ended. Sampling events for fans are up next, and the final decision will be made in April. If anything, it recalls past efforts from non-alcohol bev brands, like Vitaminwater, that have previously crowdsourced a flavour, although it’s more elegant and structured better engagement-wise.
The months-long effort will culminate in one beer emerging fully formed and appearing on store shelves everywhere. It will be a product that’ll no doubt make anyone who’s been involved in it at any point along the way proud. Think they’ll buy a six-pack and gloat to their friends about their involvement? You’d better believe it.
NBC: The Voice
Of all the television shows gracing major networks these days, nobody is capitalising on our addiction to the second screen—laptops, tablets, smartphones and the like—than NBC’s The Voice. They’ve done a ton of work to actively incorporate social channels into the actual cable broadcast and encourage real-time discussion during showtime every Monday evening as well as before and after the main screen action. Having launched its second season hot on the heels of the 2012 Super Bowl (another huge event for the second screen), it’s since made tightly integrated social components, including a unique Facebook application allowing viewers to be the 5th Coach and pick their fantasy team, part of its value proposition to new fans and part of the way it hopes to hook fans and transform passive viewers into active participants.
While the other four brands mentioned here utilized digital channels, we wanted to recognise a brand doing post-advertising right simply by utilising brand storytelling and…sticks. The New Zealand-based cider brewer wanted its drinkers to know how fresh their ingredients really were, so they decided to place real apple tree twigs into their boxes. Once customers started complaining about the unexpected décor, Monteith explained what it was all about in an “apology.” Take a look:
Post-advertising isn’t about the channels. It’s true that digital channels are changing the way we engage with consumers, but content marketing has been around for over a century. In order to succeed in the post-advertising age, you have to have a story to tell and those that tell it best, win.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.