Digital MarketingContent MarketingBrands as publishers: What makes Casper, Airbnb and Red Bull outstanding content marketers

Brands as publishers: What makes Casper, Airbnb and Red Bull outstanding content marketers

People would rather learn about a brand through content than ads. Creating their own publications, Airbnb, Barneys and Casper take that and run with it.

As a travel magazine, it’s got it all: Eye-catching cover art, beautiful images, a certain look to it. An interesting mix of articles that run the gamut from an insider’s guide to Nashville to the electronic music scene in St. Petersburg, Russia, to the chile pepper’s evolution as a culinary staple in such a diverse cross-section of countries. The magazine isn’t Travel + Leisure or Condé Nast Traveler; it’s Airbnbmag.

Airbnb launched the publication in 2017 with a physical magazine published by Hearst and a digital version hosted on Medium. Airbnbmag is all about the “celebrating the human element of travel” and the culture of places, as Hearst Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles put it. It also happens to be great content marketing for Airbnb, which has more than 4 million listings in every country but North Korea, Syria and Iran. If you’re traveling just about anywhere on the planet, Airbnb is an option.

Airbnb- Airbnbmag

According to MDG Advertising, 70% of consumers would rather learn about a brand through content than ads. And that statistic is from 2014.

Five years later, 93% of the most successful B2C marketers consider themselves extremely committed to content marketing, per the Content Marketing Institute. That commitment often means acting like digital publishers and sometimes even going as far as to create their own newsrooms. These five brands, including Coca-Cola and Casper, are also particularly good at it:

Equinox: Furthermore

Equinox is a luxury gym, but Furthermore covers far more than fitness and nutrition. Topics also include science and style content, as well as celebrities’ workout playlists on Spotify. The purpose of Furthermore seems to be cementing Equinox’s image as a lifestyle brand.

In fact, Furthermore is barely recognizable as a brand publication. Ctrl+F brings up exactly two mentions of the word “Equinox.”

Equinox- Furthermore

Coca-Cola: Journey

Launching Journey in 2012, Coca-Cola was an early adopter of this strategy. With a goal of “humanizing the company,” Journey has since evolved to encompass two dozen regional versions in 14 languages.

The branding is much more blatant than that in Furthermore, but that’s what the reader wants. Across all nine categories, Journey’s “most popular” section is very Coke-centric and includes stories about how Coca-Cola helped during Hurricane Michael and the company’s sustainability efforts.

Coca-Cola Journey

Casper: Woolly

In 2015, Casper launched a digital publication to “make sleep journalism a thing.” The mattress brand has since expanded coverage to all things comfort and wellness. Woolly does a good job incorporating a wide variety of topics under that umbrella, including muumuus, cannabis oil potions and what we can learn from Jewish Sabbath traditions about the benefit of a “digital detox.”

One of Casper’s key differentiators is personality, which helped the company become one of the fastest-growing consumer brands of all time. Woolly enhances that personality, marketing Casper subtly.

Casper - Woolly

Barneys New York: The Window

The Window is like a cross between Vogue and a Barneys catalogue. Do you need New Year’s Eve outfit inspiration? Is it possible to casually wear sequins? Those are the kinds of questions Barneys’ content answers, appealing to its stylish readers. The brand uses its platform as a way to portray its employees as the definitive fashion experts. Another article features the store’s beauty executives sharing their favorite products.

More than Journey or Furthermore, The Window is very commerce-driven. Product recommendations are everywhere, but it fits with the nature of the Barneys brand.

Barneys: The Window

Red Bull: The Red Bulletin

On the other hand, Red Bull doesn’t lend itself to being so commercial. Red Bull essentially sells one product and how much could you possibly read about energy drinks?

Instead, the publication is more about the brand’s “give you wings” tagline, focusing on sports, culture, adventure and achievements. The Red Bulletin is part of Red Bull Media House, the brand’s own multi-platform media company, underlining the importance of content to the Red Bull brand.

Red Bull: The Red Bulletin

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