Posts tagged how to do content marketing
5 Awesome Examples of Behind the Scenes Brand Content (That Actually Take You Behind the Scenes.)

When done well, 'behind the scenes' content offers a unique glimpse into the people, ideas and processes that make an organization tick.  And as the line between brand and culture grows increasingly blurred,  taking audiences "behind the scenes" is proof positive that a business isn’t just preaching values, but actively practicing them.

While many brands share their version of 'behind the scenes' content, for a narrative so entwined with a company’s unique culture, much of the content follows a pretty standardized formula.  Common examples include: generic group photos from the annual company day of service, badly lit shots of leadership speaking from a podium or the ever popular close-up of a half eaten donut platter.

The theme has become so diluted that in most cases, it conveys absolutely nothing about what actually happens behind the scenes.   Instead, “behind the scenes” content is often the default, low-effort means to filling up the company social media feed.  

But like any form of content, "BTS" still requires thought, creativity and intention, particularly when trying to convey something as proprietary as company culture.

Below are 5 examples of brands that have mastered 'behind the scenes' storytelling through their own distinct lens.

1. Zappos

The culture that powers online retailer Zappos, has quite literally been an open book, ever since CEO Tony Hsieh’s bestelling customer service manifesto Delivering Happiness was released 10 years ago. With their aptly titled Beyond the Box, Zappos turns the traditional website 'About' section into a dynamic newsroom of stories centered around the values that made them famous.  

Some highlights include:

The story of an endearing exchange between a Zappo’s CLT (Customer Loyalty Team) member and a caller ordering a new pair of Dansko’s for her nursing job caring for adults with special needs.


A post highlighting some of the books in the company’s in-house library, all of which encompass at least one underlying theme of the company’s core values and are free for Zapponians to borrow, and even keep.

A poignant video about an employee’s inspiring determination to live her best life, in spite of cancer.


To my favorite, an update on a former Zappo’s CLT member living her dream as a musician, from a series titled “Life After Zappos".

 2. 72 & Sunny
Agency content is notoriously unimaginative.  Most will claim it’s because they’re too busy making magic for their clients, but what better opportunity to demonstrate your creative prowess than on your own brand?
72 and Sunny does just that, using their one of a kind culture as the basis for beautiful content.

From their IG feed, the L.A. based agency offers a thoughtful glimpse behind the scenes from any of their five locations around the globe.  


3. J. Crew

It’s no secret that preppy fashion house J. Crew has struggled in recent years.  But if their social media feeds are any indication, the brand is aiming for a return to basics, taking cues from radically transparent disruptors like Everlane.  In their Behind the Design series, the iconic brand shares behind the scenes peeks into the creative and manufacturing process of some of their most lauded styles.  Each story, available from both their website and Tumblr,  offers a stripped down view of the craftsmanship and raw materials behind the clothes.  

A few highlights include:

A look at their limited edition paint splatter collection, all hand painted in NYC with the help of Parsons School of Design students.


A glimpse into the creative process of their head jewelry designer:


And an up close view of the Italian wool maker behind it’s merino sweaters:


4. General Electric
One of the hallmarks of GE’s creative strategy is their distinctive approach to photography.  Through powerful, architectural images of it’s technologies, GE has managed to make art out of industrial machines.  

In their Tumblr hosted From the Factory Floor series, GE gives users an ultra high def view of the parts that power their manufacturing process.   From thermal shields to turbine blades, everyday components come to life as sculptural works of art.

And On YouTube via a series titled In The Wild, GE takes viewers to the places innovation actually happens, from "behind the scenes of some of their leading facilities". Hosted by Adam Savage of Tested and Innovation Nation's Alie Ward, the series demystifies the backend technology helping to power GE’s latest innovations.

5. Adobe

'Behind the scenes' content can also be a powerful recruiting tool.

From it’s Adobe Life platform, the famed software company shares a view of what it’s like to work at Adobe, centered around the perspective of their employees.  They take an editorial approach to outlining employee benefits, like this post on their newly hired Executive Chef or a story about how a young associate was able to purchase her first home with the help of Adobe’s discounted stock purchase plan.

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The platform also features a real-time social media feed powered by the #Adobelife hashtag plus employee contributed blog posts, via the 'A Day in the Adobe Life' blog.   All of it is beautifully packaged inside their InDesign publishing software doubling as a brilliant product use case.

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5 "Un-Sexy" Brands Who are Winning at Content Marketing

I often hear from less than sexier brands, that they have nothing to talk about.

That their business doesn’t really lend itself to Social Media or content.  Or that they’ve already said everything that can possibly be said about their product or industry.

But in reality, every business has the capacity to deliver value-driven content.  The myth that content or Social Media is only possible for “certain” brands misunderstands it's actual role.  

Content is about shortening the distance between your brand and your customer.  It’s not about being the slickest, or the sexiest.  Done well it deepens the relationship your audience has to what you do, by inspiring, entertaining or informing.  

To prove it, I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite examples of content marketing underdogs in action.

IBM: Use New Mediums to Re-Imagine An Established Brand

You might not associate 'Big Blue' with creative inspiration, but then, you probably haven't seen their Tumblr feed.

Known as IBM’blr, the four-year-old channel is a consistent hotbed of original content, from the irreverent to the awe inspiring.  They’ve managed to turn everything from quantum computing to fractal geometry into irresistible bites of visual delight.  True to brand and context, IBM'bler celebrates their culture of innovation in Tumblr’s native language of gifs and snippets.  The channel is not just delightful to look at, it's a brilliant re-imagination of the ideas and people have powered 'Big Blue' for more than a century.


Can we teach computers how to smell?Rese...

Can we teach computers how to smell?Researchers from IBM and Rockefeller University are trying to sniff out the answer. Smell may be the least understood of the five senses, so the team trained software to identify scents in order to learn more about how our brains perceive them.


Turn Your Community Into Content Collaborators: Grand Central Station

When your brand happens to be a 100-year-old train terminal, maintaining a consistently fresh and inspiring content stream, might seem like a daunting task.  But Grand Central Station has managed to do just that, largely by tapping the photography skills of the entire city of New York.

Using #sharegct, commuters are asked to capture and share their perspective of the nation’s busiest train station in hopes of being featured on the official Grand Central feed.   From an ever growing stream of images (8,000+ and counting), Grand Central curates it's favorites, ensuring the photos that populate it’s feed are as diverse as the photographers behind them.   


Twilight views. #sharegct by @easternamigo

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Show What’s Possible with your Product: Fass Fuel Systems

Fass Fuel Systems is the leading manufacturer of aftermarket diesel lift pumps and fuel/air separation systems.  And while the systems are impressive on their own (to people that are into that stuff), Fass understands that it isn’t just about their products, but what their products make possible.  Fans of the systems don’t just love Fass, they love the diesel trucks, semis and other big boy toys that Fass helps to power.  Fass speaks directly to these passions, tapping into the culture that surrounds their products, and building a powerhouse brand in the process.  From funny memes to raw engine close-ups, content is the medium through which Fass let’s fans know, “we get you”.


#fassfriday #fass #fassfuelsystems #madeinamerica #dieseltrucks #diesel

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Become THE Subject Matter Authority: River Pools

You may not have ever heard of River Pools, but among inbound gurus, they are practically content lore.  In just over 15 years they turned a two-man pool installation start-up into the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world – a feat they largely credit to their blog. By putting the customer at the heart of their content strategy, River Pools became the singular, online authority on all things fiberglass pools.  River's content library expertly addresses the questions of pool owners and potential pool buyers alike, through educational blog posts and videos. By providing a specialized service (in the form of free content), directly informed by real customers, they've unleashed their business’ most powerful lead generation tool.


Provide A Public Service: Alabama Power

Alabama Power is 100-year-old electric and renewable energy company serving the state of Alabama.  With 6% of it’s power provided by water, they have a vested interest in the preservation of Alabama’s lakes and rivers.  They’re using this interest as the framework for a cutting edge content resource dedicated to Alabama's waterways.  APC Shorelines isn’t simply about promoting Alabama Hydro Power, it’s about promoting  and preserving Alabama’s natural water resources.  An educational, tourism & public service, the site (and free mobile app) provides detailed guides for each of Alabama’s 14 water systems, including real-time water elevation reports, weather updates, fishing coordinates and even a list of the species you can expect to catch.