Standing Out in a Crowded Marketplace: 6 Disruptive Content Marketing Examples

Content Marketing Examples

Whisper it quietly, but there is a storm brewing in the world of content marketing.

We are referring to the emergence of disruptive content marketing, which is revolutionising the way in which brands position themselves in 2018. This is a tactic which utilises innovation and unique values to change traditional marketing methodology, creating an unusual proposition that engages customers in the process.

The mobile platform is undoubtedly leading this charge, with smart devices like tablets, watches and even AR headsets like the HoloLens allowing brands to displace existing technology and create new rules of engagement.

In this article, we will look at some of the best disruptive content marketing examples of recent times and the results that they were able to achieve.

Sephora – Changing the Delivery of Content in the Beauty Industry

We can remember before the age of content marketing, when brands would have to spend huge amounts of money on promoting themselves. This is no longer the case, with Lauren Luke’s ground-breaking Sephora brand providing a template for disruptive business success.

While working as a taxi dispatcher in England back in 2007, Lauren decided to scale her earning potential by selling make-up on eBay. As sales stalled,  she decided to increase engagement by sharing how-to videos and tutorials online.

Take this one video tutorial for example, “how to choose and apply foundation” which has accumulated over 155,992 views to date.

This video demonstration also inspired thousands of women across the globe to buy their products, which Sephora were easily able to promote through providing call to action links within the video description (see below).

Youtube Calls to Action

The emphasis that Sephora placed on video content was ahead of its time in the beauty industry, while it afforded them direct access to an online consumer base. Given than video content will represent 74% of all Internet traffic by the end of this year, this disruptive approach proved crucial in building loyalty and long-term commercial success.

After establishing a channel on YouTube, Lauren has built a following of more than 818,000 while her brand is now more popular online than industry giants like Estee Lauder.

Learning Heroes – Making Learning Fun

Logic would suggest that e-learning platforms have to be serious, particularly when marketing their services to potential customers. The issue with this is that it can prevent customers from feeling engaged, while it makes it extremely difficult to distinguish one learning platform from another.

In this respect, Learning Heroes are probably one of favourite disruptive brands. Having a developed a mission to ‘save the world from boring e-learning’, the group has embraced an all-or-nothing approach to disruptive marketing and created a value proposition that is entirely different to anything else within the marketplace.

Learning Heroes

Make no mistake; Learning Heroes have not just used disruptive marketing as part of a single campaign, they have adopted it as a defining feature of the brand and its online interactions. Whether this involves wearing capes, deploying cartoon imagery or using humour when commenting on others’ social media posts, it drives an energetic brand that achieves the almost impossible goal of making learning fun!

Learning Heroes has recently been acquired by global operators CallidusCloud, so the brand will soon by growing its presence further and adding to the 180 exciting modules available!

College Humor – Building a Brand Through Content Alone

We have already touched on the notion of building a brand through content alone, and how video plays a pivotal role in this. This is something that a growing number of marketers are beginning to appreciate, with an estimated 60% having increased their video spend this year.

College Humor is a brand that learned this lesson along time ago, with its huge online presence having been cultivated largely through YouTube and shared video content. This approach and heavy emphasis on video content has paid huge dividends too, with the brand currently delivering its zany brand of humour to more than 11 million subscribers.

Take this hilarious video for example, which has garnered nearly one million views and has already been embedded on a number of external websites for optimised exposure.

The structured nature of the sketch, in which balding men are transformed into Walter White look-a-likes with shaved heads and goatees, is extremely engaging while the outlets unique brand of humour also runs relentlessly throughout.

Pan n’ Ice – Taking an Alternative View to Product Placement

If there is one brand that screams fun and fashionable in 2017, it is Pan n’ Ice. Not only do they sell a unique, handmade product and boast an extremely active social media presence, but they have also turned disruptive marketing into something of an art form.

While many brands tend to adopt a single minded approach to marketing, Pan n’ Ice have partnered with affiliates to create a number of innovative social promotions. One of the latest brands to join forces with Pan n’ Ice is Topshop, which from 2nd July will begin selling a limited product range in-store at Oxford Circus.

This type of promotion has proved to be extremely successful for the brand, but it is not the only way in which they have looked to disrupt the food sector.

In fact, they also use their Instagram profile to mash handmade ice cream rolls with other products, creating unique (if slightly disgusting) videos that have the potential to go viral. One of our own particular favourites saw an ice cream roll mashed with a Big Mac, which has created a huge amount of engagement online, whilst most of their Instagram videos are their delicious ice cream rolls mashed with other scrumptious snacks such as Doughnuts.

This approach is diametrically opposed to common logic, as food brands have spent years ensuring that images and videos present their food in the best possible aesthetic light. By disrupting this methodology and presenting their products in a fun and unusual manner, Pan n’ Ice have built an extremely engaged and loyal following.

The DollarShaveClub – Taking on the Big Brands

We can’t be certain, but we think that much of The DollarShaveClub’s success can be attributed to the fact they are partly owned by a comedian. After all, this is bound to introduce a disruptive thought process to proceedings, and this has proved pivotal in the ongoing battle with huge brands like Gillette and Schick.

While brands like Gillette and Schick have created a slick and stylish identity on the back of traditional marketing efforts, for example, The Dollar Shave Club have utilised humour, concise messaging and a unique value proposition to achieve growth. This strategy is embodied by the brands video marketing efforts, which has generated more than 33 million views on YouTube since joining in March 2011.

More than 24 million of these views came from the now legendary ‘Our Blades are Fu**ing Great’ video published in 2012, which reportedly earned the brands around 12,000 new customers in just two days.

The use of bold and outrageous humour is just one of the ways in which The Dollar Shave Club has used disruption to gain a competitive advantage. It has also taken the unusual approach of selling unbranded razors at extremely competitive prices, while investing in high-end packaging and outstanding customer service.

This has further reinforced the difference between The Dollar Shave Club and its rivals, while helping the brand to grow from a low-budget start-up to a California-based company that employs more than 20 people.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – Becoming an Offline Authority

We finish with U.S. ice cream brand Jeni’s, which decided that it needed a more radical approach to achieve its desired growth. After delivering solid (if slightly unspectacular) sales for nine years, owner Jeni Bauer took the unusual step of creating and publishing a traditional recipe book in a bid to drive growth.

Jenis Ice Cream Book

This certainly represents disruptive marketing in the digital age, as most entrepreneurs solely focus their efforts online and through social media channels. The book was also a huge success, landing on the New York Times bestseller list and turning the brand into a household name and one of the fastest growing ice cream brands in the U.S.

Jenis Ice Cream

Bauer also promoted the book through prominent influencers after it was published, helping her to build on her newly-acquired status as a thought leader and build a strong, online presence. Her unique methodology certainly resonated in the eyes of customers, who consider the brand to be a true authority that has something unique to offer.

Jenis Ice Cream Van

Over the time, the brand should also grow to develop a huge online following, building on the 530 YouTube subscribers that it currently has by possibly taking a similar route such as Pan n Ice, creating engaging online videos which give their products a creative edge.

The Last Word: Why Disruptive Marketing Represents the Future for Brands

Ultimately, it should come as no surprise that disruptive marketing has come to take the business market by storm.

After all, this is a strategy that actively embraces change and innovation, while enabling brands to leverage these to achieve success.

It is also no coincidence that the concept of disruptive content marketing has taken hold in the current climate, as the World Wide Web has become increasingly saturated with blog posts, infographics and videos over the course of the last decade. This has made it increasingly difficult for brands to differentiate themselves in certain markets, meaning that disruption is the only viable way to stand out.

Hopefully, this guide will help you to use content disruptively and successfully, as you look to gain a competitive edge over your rivals!

If you still need help with marketing and don’t know where to start, we’d recommend you take a look at our guide to a marketing consultant and what to expect in 2018.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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