Here are four examples from US brands or the US wings of global brands.
Ford Social - One of the biggest mistakes brands can make in content marketing is to expect consumers to create lots of content for them without giving them a steer or offering some ideas. Basically sparking the debate. Ford Social is a good example of a brand with a site that majors on both specially created editorial and user generated content The site is regularly updated with a mixture of news and advice from the maker, alongside a series of helpful and informative videos. Yet at the same time the company encourages its drivers to submit ideas and videos about the cars they own, or would like to own. The site succeeds in illustrating that the company has a powerful and clearly defined voice, yet appears willing to listen to its customers too.
Toyota - The site for Toyota's Camry car is unlike any other in the auto sector. It is largely user generated content, but the reason that it is compelling is the way that it has been curated and edited by the Toyota team. Firstly its design is distinctive, in many way it looks more like a Pinterest page than a traditional website. Also innovative is the way that Toyota has used blocks in mixing in real users' stories and videos with interesting snippets about the Camry - which are accompanied by very prominent ‘share on social media' buttons. Overall it is a brave move presenting content in this way and it won't appeal to everyone, but it certainly breaks new ground. Interestingly Toyota has pioneered creating content in association with the mega US website BuzzFeed. Its branded content for the site - which is sometimes brilliantly executed - is here.
Audi - The German car maker has taken a slightly different, and arguably less social approach to its content marketing. On its US website it has chosen to focus on video content where it displays an excellent selection of tutorials that are well crafted and simple to use. Audi also has a magazine that in its iPad guise features some innovative and groundbreaking interactive features.
Volkswagen - VW in the US has a reputation for doing things a little differently. Its advertising last year for the Beetle aimed to move the perception of the car away from being a model aimed just at women. So the brand crafted a version of the car that was designed to be placed underwater so the driver could go swimming with sharks. It used the content in both advertising as well as across its many social platforms.
Volkswagen's US site has a huge amount of content marketing material. There's a lively blog which features some very compelling video content. There's also a dedicated blogger who is on the road covering VW events and exhibitions. Users can upload their stories and the brand is on just about every social platform there is including this very stylish looking Instagram page. It is a shame then that so much content is hidden by a rather corporate looking website.
Posted by: CMA