Red Bull has caught the brand journalism virus.
So have the Intel geeks and the pinstripe bankers at HSBC.
As the social media revolution gobbles the remains of failed news and publishing empires, brands are becoming powerful media companies in their own right by publishing free content that we care about.
In short, the marketers have become storytellers, and they’re engaging us with non-promotional stories through a web of social and digital channels.
Redbull’s website features clips and stories on surfing, motorsports, skateboarding, bikes, snowboarding and music – stuff that Red Bull buyers love.
This content dominates their go to market strategy.
Intel has gone the same way – their old product-centric site has become a news and entertainment hangout for techies and geeks.
Meanwhile, over at HSBC, they’re competing with Forbes and The Wall Street Journal by positioning themselves as a premier news source for global business.
Storytelling is back in style and clever media types who were sacked by companies like News Limited and Fairfax are getting a new lease on life as “brand journalists” at non-media companies like Red Bull et al.
Turns out that good storytelling is still a bit of an art and done well, it can set companies apart from their peers (and traditional news outlets) by giving people what they want – short, sharp, engaging stories that they’re happy to watch and share – for free.
Smart brands have embraced this trend – known as ‘content marketing’ and ‘brand journalism’ – and they are building networks of writers, designers, photographers and filmmakers to make stories that invite participation.
Some brands have put their toes in the water by getting external agencies and writers to operate their blogs and social media channels.
But those who get the fundamental nature of the social media revolution have transformed themselves by becoming serious publishers of journalistic content.
There is no turning back.
Image source: pscldot