The goal of any marketing team is to tell a great story. Products and services that come complete with an interesting, heartfelt, or compelling narrative stick better in the minds of audiences, and facilitate brand recognition and growth.
The idea of content-driven commerce made its debut in 1825 when farm equipment company John Deere began publishing a consumer magazine to advertise as well as narrate its products. Since then, this brilliant and efficacious strategy has taken off, and especially in the digital age where ecommerce businesses dominate the global marketplace.
Content, including email, blogs, social media and influencer posts, memes, etc., etc., is currently being leveraged to the advantage of online retailers of all shapes and sizes. In the following article, you’ll find their names, and how content is working to support their brand.
12 Examples of Content Driven Ecommerce Programs
Zach Kornfeld, alias @korndiddy of Try Guys fame, launched a small-batch tea company in mid 2020 which exemplifies the content-driven online retail model. Earlier this year, Zach released a limited video series which followed him through the process of creating a business (the original goal was to remain within a tiny $500 budget, marketing and manufacture included.) On personal social media accounts as well as his shared YouTube platform, Zach often talks about his love for tea, and his struggles with the auto-immune disease Ankylosing Spondylitis, and his product speaks to this. Zadiko currently offers two teas, one caffeinated and one herbal, each of which incorporates anti-inflammatory plants that are known to soothe some of the effects of his condition. The brand is deeply personal, accessible, and appealing to audiences through its use of content and narrative.
This infamous camera brand is all about allowing viewers to experience their footage. Who needs iMax when you’re watching POV video of a snowboarder leaping off of powdery mountains? The company’s YouTube channel is chock-full of both consumer-made and brand content which demonstrate the inspiring and limitless possibilities offered by life when you have a GoPro strapped to your helmet.
Cooperative outdoor gear brand, and environmental advocacy powerhouse, runs their content creation using a similar strategy to their business. Their microsite “REI 1440” features photographs which can be uploaded by anyone — not just customers — so long as it features an image of adventures in the great outdoors. They take content-based engagement to the next level by encouraging audiences to truly engage with their own material. REI’s blog, too, features advice for outdoor play and survival, including everything from orienteering to how to blow your nose while riding a bike.
This activewear company crowdsources their content, and similarly to REI encourages their audience to be their models by inviting customers to send in photos and videos of themselves in Betabrand clothing. The company also crowdfunds both designs and finances from their audiences, making shopping with this brand truly collaborative experience in all respects. And you don’t need to be a customer to contribute — Betabrand invites anyone to upload a photo with their signature “B-Glasses” sticker for a 10% discount.
Uk-based craft beer brewing company packs their website full of content, including blog posts, downloadable content, and their aptly named Brewdog TV. This banner feature takes viewers to an extensive playlist of beer-related content, from a list of favorite craft-beer-slinging-pubs across the country to behind-the-scenes tours of their brewing facility. And customers can have content delivered right to their inbox after accepting Brewdog’s invitation to “Join the Craft Beer Revolution.”
Nail artist and YouTuber Simply Nailogical got her start in the world of content creation by making nail art tutorials, but soon found herself a celebrity of the popular video site. After 7 years on the platform, Simply created and released her own brand of nail polish Holo Taco, so named after her favorite sparkly polish, and her cute mispronunciation of the term “top coat.” Each new collection release usually sells out within the first day, and to date there have been 5 of them. Simply’s two pet cats often feature on her channel, as well, and she has released special polishes dedicated to each of them, the profits for which are donated to animal charities in her native Canada.
Think Geek (Since shut down)
This novelty retail company featuring products just for the nerds among us put entertaining content in every nook and cranny on their website. Product descriptions are put to use as creative outlets and entertaining reads for serious shoppers: a rubber t-rex mask is described as “[representing] a take-no prisoners approach.” The company also posts outlandishly priced April-fools products, including a Klingon language-learning program, and dragon’s blood perfume.
This miracle-working phone case company boasts the ability of their super-strength cases to keep your device safe even under the most extreme circumstances. As a result, their blog almost completely ignores the product, and instead makes regular posts about all the exciting and dangerous (for phones) places you might take their products. Recent posts include lighthouse destinations, soldiers with otterboxes in their fatigue pockets, and more!
Luxury women’s sleepwear brand Lunya sticks to a tried-and-true but nonetheless elegant and entertaining content strategy of blogging. Their best features involve sticking an interesting person into some of their products, and then interviewing them. Guests tell their stories, most of which have a segment about getting ready for bed or their sleep routine, and pose for photographs. Lunya concludes each post by informing the reader which products the interviewee is wearing, and where they can find it on the site.
Popular wearable fitness technology company FitBit populates their content section with informative and interesting buying guides which help consumers understand, learn about, and choose the right products for them. The goal of content is to make a sale, and FitBit aims to do so with as much transparency as possible. One piece, “Find your Fit” helps audiences to choose the right product for them, based on their lifestyle and body specifications.
This women’s footwear brand is known for their weird and wonderful style, which is as accessible as it is unique. The brand’s main content strategy is to give audiences a better idea of how to style their funky shoes. One series, “How We Wear These” shows employees modeling the shoes in a number of different outfits, to inspire their buyers to get bold with their products.
This company offers beautiful home-furnishings with which to decorate your house, and also inspirational style guidance that helps you learn how to do it effectively. Sold with the help of this flavor of content, a lampshade becomes a centerpiece when placed in the right context: audiences shopping with One Kings Lane become interior decorators after checkout. And OKL also posts DIY blogs which show visitors simple building projects that can help them to truly customize their home.