Guest blog through Kathelijne van Essen
Nowadays you no longer count as a company without a good content marketing strategy. Yet content marketing is not new: the first modern brand to do effective content marketing was the John Deere farm. In 1895, this company was the first to start publishing content marketing in the form of a magazine called "The Furrow." 'The Furrow' is currently available in 40 countries and is published in 12 different languages. John Deere is seen as one of the first founders of modern content marketing. In this article we will look at the distinction between high and low involvement content marketing and how they relate to each other.
John Deere's 'The Furrow' 1897. Source: SnipView.com
High and low involvement
Products or services can be divided into two categories according to the Elaboration Likelihood model of Petty & Cacioppo (1986): high involvement and low involvement. High involvement products can be described as products that the consumer makes a well-considered decision about before purchasing. Examples of this are: cars, designer clothing or white goods. You can probably now imagine what a low involvement product is. This is a product where the consumer does not think before making a purchase. For example, think of your weekly shopping. Often you get this at home without weighing all the pros and cons against each other.
Increasingly, content marketing is being used by companies as a strategy in combination with the existing communication strategy. However, applying content marketing for low involvement products is a lot more difficult than for high involvement products. It is also not always effective in all cases. Content marketing is about meeting the information needs of consumers. You can imagine that consumers have a greater demand for information when it comes to buying a new car than when they need a bag of macaroni mix.
On the basis of the above, you may ask yourself: how low involved is a consumer nowadays? Based on the Petty & Cacioppo model (1986), Fast Moving Consumer Goods definitely fall under low involvement products. But the wishes of the consumer are changing and the boundaries are blurring. Take bread for example. In the past, a loaf of bread was a loaf of bread and you opted for white, brown or whole grain. Nowadays, more and more compositions and different grains are coming onto the market. And what if your child has a gluten allergy? Then it suddenly becomes very important what kind of bread you buy and what's in it. For example, it may not be important for one person, but another may be very involved with a product.
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For many people, a product such as bread remains a low involvement product. Just like other daily groceries such as soft drinks and chewing gum. Yet brands such as Sportlife, Red Bull and Coca Cola managed to get something out of the consumer with the help of a content strategy, while initially offering a low involvement product. It is therefore possible to generate more attention for a product that does not receive much attention at first sight. Nevertheless, they have clearly conquered a place in the consumer's mind through their well-thought out content strategy. This ensures that these brands are better in the head and have formed into a high involvement product in recent years. These three success cases are explained below.
In his journey, Red Bull focuses on everything that is extreme. Consider the sponsorship of extreme sports events such as 'Red Bull Crashed Ice' or 'Red Bull BMX'. When you visit the website of Red Bull it is never about their actual product, but you only see all content that in principle has nothing to do with energy drinks. So without focusing on its product, Red Bull has nevertheless built a large and very successful empire around their globally known can.
Red Bull front page. Source: redbull.com
Last year the chewing gum brand launched a playful campaign as part of their strategy. They were the first brand to organize a true shopping cart race. The race was between different extreme athletes who competed over a 125-meter course with ramps. This playful manner certainly increases brand awareness and affects the target group of Sportlife. Sportlife promotes its various chewing gum lines in different ways. They all appeal to the target group: young people between 13 and 35 years old (RTL, 2014). Sportlife's strategy is in offline and online areas.
Coca Cola decided in 2012 to do it completely differently. In that year they completely changed their strategy. That year they presented their Content 2020 plan. The core values of Coca Cola are "happiness" and "family" and this is reflected in all their expressions. By coming up with the 2020 plan, coca cola decided to be completely open and honest about their future plans and content marketing strategy for the coming years.
The four current Coca Cola lines. Source: e-marketing.fr
Content marketing for SMEs
Above brands all three are basically simple products, which focus in their content marketing strategy on special achievements and talents and often also have as core values "family", "friends" and enjoying life. What can you get out of here as a small business? All three brands have well understood the rules of content marketing. They have all incorporated the most important points in their strategy, namely:
- Orphan clearly and be honest with your target group
- Orphan innovative: make sure you bring innovative content in relation to your competition.
- Pull the attention of your audience: speak to your target audience with what is interesting and relevant to them.
As an SME you will probably not achieve the desired ROI or successes that these brands have achieved. They are simply too big for that. Yet these three are a good example of how you can become a valued high involvement product as a so-called "meaningless" product. Read more about this content marketing for SMEs.
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