Why Red Bull and Patagonia Are Winning the Content Race

by Mack Collier

Digiday had a nice article today profiling Patagonia’s content strategy.  I found this quote from Patagonia’s Creative Director Bill Boland to be very interesting:

 “Our content stays away from the hard sell,” said Bill Boland, Patagonia’s creative director. “But we are finding that our customers are interested in talking about our products. Even with the climbers out at Patagonia, customers want to know what gear they are wearing, what works for them and what does not, so that is something we are looking into for the future.”

By focusing on the activities and themes that are relevant to Patagonia’s customers, the brand earns their trust and a role reversal takes place.  Instead of Patagonia trying to sell to its customers, the customers are coming to them and asking for more information about the products they sell!

This is the new model of digital content creation.  Don’t focus on your products, focus on the ideas and themes that relate to your products.  Red Bull also does a masterful job of this in its commercials:

That commercial now has over 4 million views.  But note that you never see the energy drink itself until the last few seconds, and barely see the brand’s logo.  The spotlight is on the athletes and the activities they love to engage in, not the product itself.

Patagonia and Red Bull have discovered what your brand needs to:  That you can create relevant and compelling content for your customers by focusing on what their interests are and how your product relates to those themes and ideas.  It’s exactly why both brands are used as case studies in Think Like a Rock Star, because they understand how to create content that’s so popular with its fans that they seek out not only the brand’s content, but its products as well.

If your content strategy isn’t working, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you’re focused on your products and services, or how those products and services relate to the ideas and themes that are most important to your customers.

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