We all like to feel a sense of belonging. From the early years of making friends with others who have similar interests, we feel comfortable and secure in our surroundings because of this sense of belonging. It carries on through our lives: through changing schools; entering into higher education or skills acquisition; joining sports and social clubs; being active in the community. This feeling we experience, the sense of belonging that makes us happy and provides us with emotions connected to accomplishment and purpose, is what content marketing exploits for the benefit of business.
I don’t want my sense of belonging exploited!
That may sound pretty negative, but this is a misunderstanding of exploitation. When harnessed for good, and for content marketing to work it has to be good, the benefits to content marketing as the driver of all marketing efforts are staggering. If a brand can convey a sense of belonging throughout its marketing plan, and the product or service delivers, then you have the core recipe for Raving Fan conversion. Like all businesses, we want to build an army of followers who tell the world how great we are. Think about the biggest brands in the world that have Raving Fans; you may not like the products or services yourself but you can appreciate how the process works for the likes of Apple, Disney, RedBull and Starbucks. These 4 companies approach content marketing in vastly different ways, mainly down to the fact that they are so intuned with their customer base. They know what works for their Raving Fans and what doesn’t.
How do they know what to do?
Apple knows that their raving fans love a new product. They love the launch of a new product. They even love the build-up to the launch of the new product. The hype that Apple produce gets people talking; everywhere!
Redbull push the limits of human ability through motorsport, winter sports, aero-sports, world record attempts, and just general hair-raising stunts. Everything they do backs up what their drink supposedly does: It gives you wings! The ability to better the competition, better humankind, better yourself. They are so in touch with their Raving Fans that Joe Pulizzi quoted as saying “Redbull aren’t a drinks company, they are a media company who happen to make energy drinks”.
Idolisation is the key
This feeling that brands are desperate to tap into can be found in our sense of attraction and devotion. Think about the teenage years of your life and what consumed your thoughts. Was it a singer or a band? Maybe it was a female or male actor? Were you (and still are) devoted to a sports team or individual? There is a raw emotion that is difficult to shift. Rationally thinking, it is just a game, but I love football, and my team of choice is Liverpool. As a supporter, you ride the highs and lows, but it is the continued story that attracts so many people to the game.
Content marketing isn’t driven by selling, it creates its momentum through a blend of education, entertainment, and professional opinion. People don’t want to be sold to any more, they want a sense of belonging. The feeling that you once had as a kid, playing with your mates. Once you are in, at the content marketing continues to positively exploit you, you become moulded into a Raving Fan.
This time you find yourself ‘playing’ amongst likeminded people, engaged to the brand you love.