Gini Dietrich Discusses Content Marketing in 2014 and Beyond

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What does the future of content marketing look like? According to Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, succeeding with content in 2014 and beyond means being visionary, practicing brand journalism, embracing native advertising, and telling employee stories.  The co-author of Marketing in the Round and publisher of the Spin Sucks blog delivered her points October 17 via a keynote presentation at Content Jam, an annual event where marketers discuss the state of the art in content marketing.

Before looking forward, Dietrich looked back. She reminded everyone that content marketing is not new: John Deere started publishing a magazine for its customers in 1895, and brands like Michelin and Betty Crocker became publishers of useful content long before digital came along.

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By 2007, seven out of 10 publications in the United Kingdom were produced by corporations. According to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 93 percent of marketers use content marketing, and more than half of marketers are going to increase their spending in this area. So what are the forward-thinking brands doing with their content spend? According to Dietrich, successful content looks like this:

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Feeling the Pull of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity”

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I knew Gravity was something special when my Facebook wall exploded with awe-struck mini-critiques from my friends (especially my Baby Boomer friends) the night the movie opened. Alfonso Cuarón’s meditation on life and death in space went on to enjoy the highest-grossing opening October weekend of any movie and an amazing 98-percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (the kind of overwhelming critical approval that is generally reserved for Pixar’s best movies, such as Toy Story 3).

Within two weekends, Gravity has racked up $123 million in the United States and (for once) has given audiences a reason to shell out more money to see a 3D film. And before all is said and done, Gravity may very well rescue the science fiction genre from the clutches of the young male audience. Here are three major lessons of Gravity‘s success (warning: plot spoilers ahead):

Audiences Reward Risk Taking

Americans are equal opportunity movie goers: we’ll turn out in droves for Adam Sandler, schlock, but we’ll also reward ambitious movies that take risks and challenge us, too.  Gravity does a number of things that challenge our expectations of the sci-fi genre.  It’s not action packed. The entire movie takes place in essentially one location. One of the major stars dies Continue reading

How Louis Vuitton Appeals to Upscale Baby Boomers with Music

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Louis Vuitton knows how to target an audience with rock celebrities. The iconic luxury brand is working with another iconic brand, David Bowie, to produce the second television spot ever aired in the company’s 160-year history. The ad, an installment in Louis Vuitton’s “L’Invitation au Voyage” series, will feature the Thin White Duke in an as-yet undefined role. But given Bowie’s well-known sense of style and visual storytelling, you can be sure the ad will be memorable — and another smart musical pairing that positions Louis Vuitton as a classic, upscale choice for the affluent Baby Boomer generation.

Louis Vuitton’s advertising relationship with musicians is somewhat complicated. On the one hand, hip-hop artists such as Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa have name-checked the company in their song lyrics. West is a self-proclaimed Louis Vuitton Don and designed his own line of Louis Vuitton sneakers. In fact, the 2000s have been cited as “the decade of Louis Vuitton” in the hip-hop music industry, so often have hip-hop artists attempted to appropriate the brand in very public ways.

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But just because hip-hop loves Louis Vuitton, it doesn’t mean Louis Vuitton loves hip-hop. In 2008, the company (along with Gucci) stopped rapper TI from releasing a video for the song “Swing Ya Rag,” because the TI used the company’s products in the video without Continue reading

Brookfield Zoo Fumbles on Facebook

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Sometimes the best PR strategy is to keep your mouth shut. Case in point: the rapidly unfolding Brookfield Zoo Facebook fiasco.

Here’s the scoop: on October 3, a Chicago CBS News affiliate published a story indicating that the zoo was making safety repairs after CBS news ran an undercover report exposing unsafe conditions such as the existence of splintery benches and railings.

The story was prompted by an incident in which a zoo guest named Ashley Lionberg claimed she contracted a debilitating case of tetanus from a decayed Brookfield Zoo park bench. CBS News reported that Lionberg will likely file a lawsuit against the zoo.

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How Black Sabbath Creates a Tribal Bond with Its Fans

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One of the miracle stories of rock music is the resurgence of Black Sabbath. In 2013, the band overcame serious setbacks — substance abuse, internal strife, and cancer among them — to release its first-ever Billboard Number 1 album and complete a successful tour of North America that will continue to South America and Europe. Three of the band’s founding members, now in their 60s, are playing with renewed passion and energy even as one of them, lead guitarist Tony Iommi, receives treatment for lymphoma. I believe the success of Black Sabbath demonstrates the power of tribalism – a mysterious but effective form of audience bonding.

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Tribalism occurs when people or organizations create a cult-like bond with their followers, often through the use of visual symbols, language, and rituals. Tribal brands (and musicians are brands, too) make their fans feel like they are members of a special club, no matter how big that club actually is. Harley-Davidson creates tribalism through events and In-n-Out Burger through its Not-So-Secret Menu.  Tribal branding is essential to the success of many pro and amateur sports teams.

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Black Sabbath embodies a special kind of tribalism that combines a heavy dose of attitude, powerful music, the appeal of a Satanic jester and a lot of good old-fashioned head banging.

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