Hannaford, L.L. Bean, Tom's of Maine, Bates College, and the Portland city government are a few Maine brands that are doing custom content well. Here's why.
How do you determine your branding and content strategy? Consider your image and customer demographics, and build something that suits both. Here are a few examples of well-targeted custom content from big and small brands based in Maine (my neck of the woods).
Hannaford’s Fresh Magazine - The New England grocery store chain has its headquarters in Scarborough, Maine, and prides itself on providing fresh, locally-grown fruit and produce. The store offers a custom magazine, Fresh, which features content such as profiles of local farmers and producers; tips on entertaining; nutrition advice; and plenty of recipe featuring products available at Hannaford. The magazine is available for a nominal $2 fee, or free with a purchase of $25 or more. Fresh is well-written and well-produced, and serves as a great outlet to help Hannaford get its customers inspired to do even more home cooking.
L.L. Bean’s “The First Hundred Years” - L.L. Bean has built its brand on traditional, durable, outdoors apparel and gear. So instead of following the latest trends, the company is building nostalgic value by focusing on the L.L. Bean story with an interactive timeline that harkens all the way back to the creation of the Bean Boot in 1911. Though L.L. Bean’s content marketing program is more self-promotional in nature than Hannaford’s magazine, it helps to place the company as a timeless brand in customers’ minds.
Tom’s of Maine - Tom’s of Maine (producers of natural toothpaste, deodorant, and other bath products) has an eco-conscious, hippie vibe, so it’s no surprise that the company’s blog focuses on clever tips for greening your life, such as “DIY Valentines from the Recycling Bin” for the upcoming holiday. Employees also show their ethics with posts about their volunteer activities, such as Bill’s story about bike-riding for MS. Tom’s of Maine’s blog fits its company to an all-natural, eco-friendly T.
Bates News - Bates College, the small liberal-arts school in Lewiston, has a clean, elegant web presence and compelling web content to draw in prospective students, engage current students, and keep alums connected to their alma mater. The site features multimedia profiles of students, alumni, and faculty, such as a recent audio slideshow of student David Longdon’s summer internship with a local sustainable agriculture program. The site also includes links to Bates-related news from other sources, which can help enhance the school’s credibility.
LiveWorkPortland - This site is funded by the Portland, Maine city government, with the aim of attracting qualified candidates to move to the Portland community and start businesses or work for area employers. The vibrant website includes profiles of up-and-coming “people to watch” in the Portland community; a blog that features trends, news, and events; resource guides for people considering moving to Portland; and a new in-person social network. In my view, it’s an ideal snapshot of a thriving creative community that I’m proud to be a part of.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than a decade.
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