Until recently the words ‘General Electric’ didn’t conjure images of a particularly engaging or current brand. But if you take a look at any of their social media accounts, be it Twitter, Instagram, or their onsite content – you’ll find a raft of content exciting and creative enough to make digital marketers everywhere go green with envy.
But what is it specifically that makes GE’s content marketing campaigns so successful? Well, rule one of General Electric marketing is: make it interesting, creative and intelligent.
If there was no motive to sell a product or service at the end of the marketing process, the content would still be as successful and engaging on its own merit. Here’s what you can learn from their success.
Who are General Electric?
So admittedly, General Electric are a fairly large conglomerate company, and contemporary SMEs are only going to have access to a certain amount of the funds that they do. But the genius of GE’s content marketing campaign is largely down not to its resources, but to its creativity.
You can throw all the money in the world at a marketing campaign – but if it doesn’t seek to pique people’s interest before their wallets, then you’ll only find yourself going so far.
So while you may not have the resources and scope of GE – we can all learn from them and compete on creativity.
The well-established business specialises in electronics and engineering – but in truth has its fingers in a fair range of industrial pies. It was founded in 1892 by none other than Thomas Edison – so this is by no means a trendy tech start-up. If this old dog can learn new tricks, then your business certainly can as well.
Over the last decade, GE has gone through a substantial rebrand – and not just from a digital perspective. The entire company now focuses on what it refers to as the “digital industrial” market, perhaps better known to most of us as ‘The Internet of Things’.
In an attempt to attract a vibrant workforce to join the rebranded company, GE began the first of its new digital marketing campaigns in 2015, with the following commercial, entitled ‘What’s wrong with Owen’. It was so successful it increased interest in the careers section by over 800 per cent.
What’s so successful about the campaign?
The success of General Electric’s digital campaign can be boiled down to two fairly fundamental points.
- It engaged people on a human level.
The recruitment campaign in particular, created a character – Owen – an actual person who could become the personification of the brand identity. This character featured in numerous videos, adverts and even social media, right down to posting ‘snaps’ of his first day at work. As we mentioned in our focus on Tesla – audiences and customers are people at the end of the day and people interact with other people far more naturally than they do with a faceless business.
- The second success is down to the fact that the content is genuinely interesting and engaging.
It pays careful attention to the medium through which it’ll be viewed. Instagram posts, for instance, are first and foremost aesthetically pleasing, whilst also being interesting, engaging and relevant. The brand takes care not to stray far out of its, admittedly quite broad, remit, and always creates content that says something – rather than that which exists for the sake of existence or a tick box in a campaign plan.
There’s also something to be said for good old fashioned intelligence. This ad, for instance, requires the viewer to clear virtual ink from the screen by using their smartphone’s touchscreen, in order to ‘unlock’ the advert’. Making an interactive game out of viewing digital content goes down a treat.
They even create digital content that’s translated into the native language that’s most relevant to the project they’re working on. As language translation service providers, here at Bubbles we can’t help but admire this approach.
How can you incorporate all this into your marketing?
Whether you have the same resources as GE or not, what GE’s campaigns demonstrate is the power of creativity.
The moral of the story is that in 2018, consumers are increasingly inundated with and cynical about, marketing campaigns. It’s no longer enough to put an advert online and wait for the clicks to roll in. If digital content wants to stand out from the crowd, it needs to be a fundamentally interesting and useful article, video, picture or infographic, in its own right first – and a marketing tool second.
There’s little chance that many of the hundreds of thousands of followers on GE’s Instagram account are there from a genuine interest in what an electrical engineering company gets up to. Chances are they’re there because the pictures are stylish and striking, the projects are interesting and the captions are entertaining.
But we all know who they’ll be thinking of first when they’re on the hunt for ‘digital industrial’ solutions – the posts themselves don’t have to say it explicitly to do their job.
We could go into reams of detail about what’s specifically great about General Electric’s content marketing. It’s funny, creative, aesthetic, intelligent – and more. But to boil it right down to the basics, the success of their international marketing strategy is down to the fact that they paid careful attention to the first rule of content marketing: make it interesting.
The challenge for global businesses, of course, is in replicating this in multiple countries, finding the topics and stories that local audiences are most interested in and adjusting the language and phrasing you use to connect with people on different sides of the planet.
If you’re looking to write fantastic content in other languages, you’re going to want to take advantage of first class language translation services – to make sure your clever and engaging message translates. Luckily, Bubbles can help with that. Find out more about our entire range of services today.