A new report from Grindr’s publication “Into” found that only 12.6% of brand marketers include the LGBTQ community in their year-round media planning, even though LGBTQ buyers have $5 trillion in spending power and make up 20% of the highly desired millennial population.
Evidently, many brands may not be considering all of their available market segments, and their audiences may be bigger — or at least more nuanced — than they realize.
And what’s really interesting is the way that content can be very effective at opening up these segments for marketers.
This isn’t just happening with LGBTQ audiences. RV brands are seeing a lot of surprising interest from millennial and Gen X buyers seeking a wanderlust lifestyle — a niche market outside of their usual Baby Boomer audience. As a result, they’re starting to include young faces in their ads and launch experiential marketing events at music festivals, where young buyers are rampant. Airstream is also letting Instagram influencers borrow their vehicles in exchange for social content.
More brands are also starting to cater to country music fans and use data to figure out which country artists are most popular with their audience, as we covered in a previous newsletter. For example, Ford partnered with Brantley Gilbert on audio, video, social, and live music content to better reach country music fans.
Content provides a way to present an alternative brand message and reach specific audience segments. It lets marketers branch out from their universal slogan or broad-based, 30-second television ads and create more personalized messages that authentically speak to a specific audience group.
As the “Into” report found, many marketers only try to reach LGBTQ audiences during Pride Month in June. But those are just one-off campaigns that don’t keep customers coming back for more. If these brands want to reach LGBTQ buyers, they have an opportunity to create always-on content campaigns on distribution channels specific to this audience.
“I find the bare minimum pretty frustrating,” said Michelle Tobin, vice president of brand partnerships and advertising at Grindr and Into, “when brands just slap a rainbow on their bottle or wave a rainbow flag during Pride, and then call it a day. Because surprise, surprise, people are gay all year round and continue to need to buy laundry detergent, and diapers, and clothing, and cars.”
There’s a major opportunity for large brands to use content not just as a complement to building their core segments, but also as a way of building a long-term relationship with secondary or tertiary segments. Expect to see a lot more of this, particularly targeted to millennials.
At SimpleReach, our product runs off the world’s largest content data network of branded content publishers and brands. After doing a deep dive analysis of our entire dataset for 2017, we discovered three major trends that are worth considering as you plan your future branded content strategies in 2018.
The Drum published an interesting piece on how craft beers are using content to tell their stories, connect with audiences, and add value beyond the four Ps of product, place, price, and promotion.
“A growing consumer segment wants a lot more from their beverage brand,” Josh Kelly wrote. “They may not decide whether they enjoy what they’re drinking until they get a true feel for where it’s made, how it’s made, what’s in it, what’s its story, and even how it’s personally served.”
Particularly in CPG, advertising has been oriented towards reaching large markets with large budgets and simplified messages. Some categories — spirits in particular — do of course have a long tradition of building a sometimes-dubious historical narrative (our favorite: St. Germain’s over-the-top backstory about bohemian French bicycle-riding farmers picking elderflowers by hand).
However, newer craft brands are proving that you can also engage audiences by using content to create a rich brand story and impact perception in an authentic way.
Craft beer brands go beyond just showcasing their products to actually telling you the story of how they were sourced and made. Anchor Brewing, for example, fills its website with photos of the brewing process and video origin stories for each beer. They also partnered with label artist Jim Stitt to create YouTube videos about his drawing process.
Annie’s Homegrown organic food brand uses content to hold its own in the Kraft-dominated mac-and-cheese market. Its website features a section called “Farm to Yum,” which includes behind-the-scenes information about how the brand sources its ingredients, makes its food, and even tackles climate change with internal initiatives.
UK-based food chain Pret A Manger also prides itself on its sustainability and natural products. That’s why the brand published shareable recipes on postcards and Facebook graphics for its dairy-free, gluten-free soups. And its CEO Clive Schlee runs a blog covering Pret A Manger’s eco-friendly programs.
Meanwhile CPG company Brandless taking a different tack — taking the branding out of marketing — which is actually a form of branding itself. They’re trying to simplify the buying process by making minimalist, to-the-point labels and selling everyday household products for just $3 each. They’re also removing the brand tax (additional costs of the traditional CPG distribution model) and going straight to the consumer. This allows them to forge direct relationships with their audience through both commerce and content.
Smaller craft brands may not have the budgets of their big-brand counterparts. But they’re proving that they can use content to showcase their missions and values, and inspire consumers to buy in favor of a great story.
It’s been a tough week for Facebook. The social network recently suspended analytics company Cambridge Analytica for misusing the personal information of 50 million users. The news has sent the company’s stock plummeting and the hashtag #DeleteFacebook trending. Facebook’s chief information security officer Alex Stamos also announced that he’d be stepping down due to disagreements about how the social network should deal with its role in the fake news debacle.
Marketers have to wonder if Facebook is going to change the way they share user data via API, or if the government will change it for them. This could have a surprising effect on content marketers. Since paid distribution is more important than ever for advertisers after the algorithm change put a dent in organic reach, an crackdown on a primary content distribution channel could make content teams’ lives tougher.
Emarketer predicts that the Facebook-Google duopoly’s digital ad market share will drop in the next few years, and it may already be starting. As Digiday reported, many media companies are shifting their attention from Facebook to YouTube. Thirty Five Media encouraged NBA star Kevin Durant to launch a YouTube channel after switching teams. And House of Highlights went to YouTube without even considering Facebook to reach its 12-to-24-year-old audience.
Meanwhile, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack told reporters: “Facebook doesn't have value for publishers really. I call them Fakebook." The channel no longer creates original content for the platform because “you can’t have a relationship with them.”
So, yes, Facebook is feeling the heat — but they’re not likely to disappear anytime soon. Remember that they still host 2 billion users, a massive set of audience data, and the best targeting capabilities available.
Curated and published by Adam Orshan, Amanda Walgrove, and Matt Levin in New York City.