In the battle of the brands, there are few as heated as the fight for dominance in the mobile carrier business. Brands try to win customers by doing everything from deeply discount competitors’ rates to outright vilifying their foes in ad campaigns (with varying results). However, one thing is certain: mobile carrier brands across the board have adopted content marketing to enrich and enhance their online presence. Here are eight noteworthy examples of how carriers are using content marketing to connect with customers.
1. Verizon Inspire Her Mind
2014 was the year of the Girl Power message, and Verizon was no exception to the trend. Last year’s Inspire Her Mind campaign went beyond talking the talk to grow into a full blown inspirational initiative that encouraged young women to pursue their love of science, technology, engineering and math. The platform highlighted notable brilliant women such as sustainability pioneer Robyn Beavers (Google’s Green Business & Operations) and Reshma Saujani (Founder, Girls Who Code). The program included videos, sharable, bite-sized infographics and a variety of content that linked back to supporting 1.75MM in prizes to support innovation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
2. Verizon The Call
This video series chronicles the journey of the NFL draft and the emotions and excitement around making the cut. The videos give background to draft prospects’ personal histories and passion for the game, capitalizing on the tension and joy they experience as they wait for the call of a lifetime. The reason why it’s so effective? It builds excitement around America’s favorite sport while not being too obtuse and still tying back to the heart of Verizon’s services and product offering.
3. T-Mobile Pets UN-Leashed
April Fool’s Day prank: When it comes to April Fool’s Day activations, they usually bank on a silly trope and are used by brands to do SOMETHING on a calendar day. This one by T-Mobile, however, was actually very clever and created some funny content. The idea was simple: to promote a family plan that included subscribers’ pets using a goofy spot, fake press release and more. What’s more, T-Mobile donated $1 to the Humane Society for every person who visited the campaign site, tying a stunt back to a worthy cause. All in all, we give this two paws way up.
4. T-Mobile Break Up Letter
Usually, we’d think tackling a competitor is risky for a brand of this size and magnitude, but this campaign proved to be both successful and smart. Using a custom Facebook app, users created a custom break up letter to send to their carrier in order to have their early termination fees paid by T-Mobile for making the switch. The results were pretty astounding, resulting in more than 80k break up letters being created and shared via social media.
5. Sprint Business Channel
Smart content isn’t just for consumers, as proven by this B2B powerhouse channel developed by Sprint. Content features a weekly thought leadership podcast about retail and technology, microsite, blog and in-person events like the CIO summit The concept isn’t necessarily new (deliver insights and tools for small business owners to find success and empower their teams to work more effectively), but the tone is decidedly fresh. One standout message is “Empower your weirdos”, confirming that brands can change voice across mediums and audiences to deliver maximum impact.
6. Sprint puts CEO Claure in the spotlight
Most brands make broad brushstrokes when trying to appeal to the Hispanic market, but Sprint put their Bolivian CEO at the forefront, highlighting his career path in a number of pieces of online content. The brand also signed a content deal with Latin TV station Univision May 2014. Both are great examples of really walking the walk when it comes to targeting a Hispanic audience while still humanizing the brand by putting a story and a face to their leadership.
7. AT&T Mobile Movement & Millennials
It makes all the sense in the world for a mobile brand to woo the tech savvy, yet world weary Millennial. But AT&T has developed a multi-pronged content approach that speaks to this tricky audience’s ideals without seeming trite or overtly pushing the hip factor. In the past year alone, the brand has developed a short film called The Network Diaries (highlighting a contemporary love story created through mobile moments), Nice to Meet You (quick documentaries made with VICE that interview Millennials about their connected lives and habits) and a carefully curated Tumblr blog.
8. AT&T Upwardly Mobile
This is a web series through a partnership with VICE that showcases world-changing, innovative ideas from how an app can help track your concussed brain to urban planning and more. It’s a great example of big, blue sky thinking that feels very in line with Intel’s The Creators Project in terms of accessibility, scope and vision, looking to the future of how mobile can affect global and societal changes.
While content marketing isn’t a silver bullet for even the savviest and most highly regarded brands, these trail blazers prove that experimenting with online content can play a significant and leading role in activating brand strategy in a highly competitive field.