Content at the core

16:00 Nov 15th - Anthony

These days, brands are fighting to give consumers the most engaging and interesting content imaginable. This is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. Recently, however, I’ve noticed that brands are using more mature methods than ever before. The result is some really compelling content that sits perfectly alongside a brand’s image and values.

Alfred Dunhill

John Hurt - Image courtesy of Alfred Dunhill

John Hurt – Image courtesy of Alfred Dunhill

I recently discovered a brand I’ve known of all my life, but never really interacted with, or been interested in: Alfred Dunhill, the British luxury men’s lifestyle brand. It wasn’t their clothing that got me, though, it was their website. I was first drawn to them by an exceptional interview given by their CMO, Jason Beckley (an enviable character in his own right) on Forbes. So I  checked out their dot-com site and found myself sucked into the video content, which included interviews with  the likes of John Hurt, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Iain Percy. What really interested me was that these are such aspirational people without a hint of celebrity status, this alone was refreshing. Furthermore, celebrity doesn’t even factor in to the stories they are telling (nor, for that matter, does Dunhill). The subjects are simply relaying their personal stories of luxury, in their own words (or so it seemed to me). I watched a few, and presto, I was interested and aware of Dunhill’s brand, when I’d never been before.

House Seven

House Seven is the digital space for Soho House  members. They send me regular email newsletters full of content, from their latest events, to screenings and interviews with their members or celebrity advocates.

Natasha Corrett co-founder of Honestly Healthy. Image courtesy of House Seven.

Natasha Corrett, co-founder of Honestly Healthy. Image courtesy of House Seven.

I recently found myself reading an interview with Natasha Corrett. Who the hell is that, you may ask. Well, she’s a chef and the joint founder of Honestly Healthy, a vegetarian food brand. Quite frankly, I find vegetarian food one of the least interesting subjects in the world, and yet I couldn’t help but read her interview. Her views seemed somehow perfectly aligned with my personality and social status (trust me, it was no accident). When asked what her favourite meal was, she pointed to Heston’s new restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, a recommendation I’ll   likely  act upon simply because, after reading Natasha’s interview, I came to value her opinion. Well, maybe I just figured if she’s cool enough for the Soho House, she’s already infinitely cooler than me. Maybe, just maybe, I could become cool by this very far removed association.

The point I’m trying to make is that as a form of marketing, this is pretty sophisticated. Soho House probably does’t really care about Heston’s new restaurant, or even Natasha’s brand, but by figuring out what brands would appeal to me, they managed to get me thinking about their brand (way to use subliminal advertising).

The content alone is not enough

House Seven and Alfred Dunhill websites.

House Seven and Alfred Dunhill websites.

Of course, the content is only half the game. What these brands are doing really well is packaging this content in a really high-quality manner. The interviews are excellently scripted, shot, edited and then housed on websites that draw you in, making them easier to consume, and making you — the viewer — spend longer on the sites. So what’s the lesson? It’s no longer enough to send out a message. Today’s successful websites engage with their audience and target them. In doing so, they create a stronger bond between their brand and their customers.

Maybe the content worked on me, or maybe I’m trying to gain a level of distinction as a edge closer to 30. Either way, I did end up buying a  a custom-made Dunhill shirt, which I wore to a fantastically pretentious party at Soho House!

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The Author

Anthony Fairweather

Anthony is a creative technologist with many years experience delivering innovative & creative marketing campaigns for a variety of worldwide brands. Anthony's professional background and experience spans production, UI development & design.

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