In the week that Beyonce received a whopping nine nominations at the Grammys, cementing her position as the undisputed Queen of the Charts and beating Kanye “my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live” West, we decided to take a look at some of the best content marketing efforts of 2016. ‘Tis the season after all!

Beyonce Christmas

So, without further ado, we present to you four winning marketing campaigns of 2016 and the trends they managed to successfully tap into:

Best use of customer feedback: Pret a Manger for Little Veggie Shop

It may seem like a lifetime ago, but back in April when the weather outside was, well, slightly less frightful, everyone’s favourite lunchtime hotspot Pret a Manger decided to turn one of its central London venues into a Little Veggie Pop-Up shop. Why? Because Pret don’t just use their blog to churn out any old content all in the name of keeping it ticking over; they use it to gather information from their customers and put that information to good use. And when CEO Clive Schlee penned a post on the idea of a veggie-focused Pret store, 10,000 customers thought it was a rather good idea.

A report by marketingweek.com revealed that Pret’s former global marketing director Mark Palmer expected sales to drop by 30% when the venue made the shift to veggie. Fortunately, he’s no longer at the helm because sales actually grew due to this move, and Pret even won ‘Brand of the Year 2016’. Turns out that sometimes the customer is right after all. Who’d have thunk it?

Simpsons lamb

Best use of influencers: L’Oreal for The Beauty Squad

We like it when a brand makes a bold move because, let’s face it, it’s the much easier option to shuffle your way along the tried and tested road-more-travelled rather than try to beat a new path with an original idea. So, our ears pricked up when L’Oreal announced that brands were going about this influencer marketing malarkey all wrong, and that they had a much better idea up their sleeve.

This took the form of carefully selecting five British beauty bloggers to develop a long-lasting relationship with, rather than the flash-in-the-pan and (as L’Oreal saw it) inauthentic short-term contracts they saw other brands conducting with influencers. Using their influencers to not only speak about the brand but to develop content about new products as well as how-to guides and tips, L’Oreal was delivering value to followers and nurturing their influencers to use their own voices and opinions while representing the brand. We all know that millennials like authenticity – L’Oreal handed it to them in spades.

Loreal

Best viral video: Adidas for #Pogback

The announcement of Paul Pogba’s eye-watering £89m move to Manchester United back in August served as inspiration for one of our favourite viral campaigns of the year. The move was documented as any great story is these days: play-by-play on social media, from Pogba landing on British soil in his own private jet to his first tour of the new club. Then Adidas dropped the mic by releasing a music video by British grime artist Stormzy, featuring Pogba dabbing his way to viral heaven. Brandwatch claimed this video helped the transfer generate 153,000 social media mentions – rather impressive when you consider there were just 38,000 mentions about Manchester City’s move for John Stones. But that’s the power of social.

Pogba

Best use of user-generated content: Disney for #shareyourears

In the spirit of Christmas, let’s end with one of the marketing campaigns of the year that gave us a warm and fuzzy feeling. Our icy hearts were melted by the #shareyourears campaign which saw Disney team up with the Make-A-Wish foundation to honour the 100,000th Disney wish granted globally by using the power of marketing to raise funds for terminally-ill children. People all over the world got on board with sharing their selfies and pics on Instagram and Facebook, showing off the classic Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears to promote awareness for the cause. Disney themselves offered a $5 donation for each participant who used the Share Your Ears photo frame with the relevant hashtag on Facebook with a €1m cap. However, the success of the campaign was so great, Disney upped it to $2m. It looks like marketing can be used for the power of good, after all.

Disney

To revitalise your content marketing for the new year, contact us today at M2 Bespoke.

Ben Hollom

December 12, 2016