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The masters of value-added content are CPG brands

content, value, variety

We’ve all heard the adage: Content Is King. With social media the discussions/ tips abound about creating content people want to engage with and using it to create a community of interest around your brand.

While the tips are correct, it isn’t actually anything revolutionary, Consumer Packaged Goods brands have been doing this for decades now, and have continued to expand their approach using digital channels. Looking at just two brands provides a stellar example of the right way to add value by creating useful and relevant content, build a community of interest and maintain top-of-mind awareness: Pampers & Kraft.

What sets these brands apart is how they’ve taken what their products DO and created content that doesn’t just list benefits or seek to sell the products, but encompasses real life and the needs that perhaps the products can provide.

For example, the Pampers site provides tips, tricks, expert advice, etc. surrounding each stage of having a baby – preparing during pregnancy, allergies, developmental milestones, sleep problems, baby names, etc. etc. They also provide a way for parents to communicate with each other and share experiences. Wrapped around all of that excellent content is a reward program for the products, but not much else in terms of a “sell”. The sell is the value they add as a trusted brand.

With Kraft it’s all about the experience of food – entertaining, recipes, feeding your kids, and time management to list a few. Their brilliant tool to help time-strapped families serve a meal in a crunch (list 3 ingredients you have on hand and Kraft will recommend a recipe) speaks to how much thought they’ve given to understanding their customers and providing value. Wrapped into what they’re providing is of course their plethora of products, but it’s not focused on “buy this now”, but on “how can we help”.

These brands have taken what they offer and provided solutions to help with free value-added content and no guarantee you’ll buy from them. But since it’s useful and relevant, you probably will.

There are tons of CPG examples out there – what are your favourites?

[photo credit: Martino! via Flickr]

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Use social bookmarking to gain deeper customer insights

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As part of my presentation at Search Engine Strategies NY this week, I talked about how social bookmarking services can help company’s gain a deeper understanding of how their customers (or prospects) view and interact with their brand. Social bookmarking isn’t incredibly sexy, but it is a powerful component of the social media mix.

Part of the beauty of social bookmarking is how individual, yet universal it is due to its non-hierarchical folksonomy. When people save pages to their delicious account for example, they are using tags that are not only universal (and part of the common lexicon), but can also choose words and phrases that are relevant to themselves as individuals. As an example, someone tagging the page www.bluefly.com would use keywords like “shopping” and “clothing”, but as is shown in the screenshot below in the “recent history” section, someone also thinks of the BlueFly site as providing “design inspiration”. Drilling into the types of tags people are using for not only your company or brand, but also for your competitors, can yield valuable, and sometimes surprising results that can help inform other aspects of your marketing and communication efforts, including SEM and SEO.

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Another valuable use of social bookmarking is to gain insight into how your brand is perceived by the users saving and tagging your (or your competitors) website or content. Using Dell as an example and digging into the “user notes” section you see not only references you’d expect, such as:

Create a custom computer configuration and then purchase it online. Includes and extensive download library of utilities and drivers for each Dell.

But also not so favourable comments, that even though they are negative provides valuable customer, product, customer service, and brand insight.

Fast fading as leading PC host. Due to bad quality of products and reluctance of tech support to actually support…

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Exploring and using social bookmarking is relatively easy, and along with many other terrific uses that I’ll explore in subsequent posts, can provide another window into perceptions and sentiments about your brand.

[photo credit: One on Flickr]

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For the community, by the community: The new AIMS resource library

I had the pleasure of helping AIMS Canada develop their new internet marketing resource utilizing del.icio.us. tagging. The concept is simple – every member of AIMS can contribute to building a large knowledge base of articles, research, etc. which can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. I love the idea of collectively sharing and adding to what amounts to an internet marketing library. Alone no one can find all the relevant information out there, but together we can collaborate to gather as much as possible.

It is now officially live and I encourage members of Canada’s online community to contribute and use the resource as much as you’d like. It truly is, as Kathryn says: for the community, by the community. For all the details & to get started tagging, check out the AIMS blog.

[photo credit: Arn?æ??r Sn?¶r on Flickr]

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