Examples of Brand Journalism
In a world with omnipresent media, people are looking for more than a quick sell. They want stories that speak to them, and you can provide that experience with Brand Journalism.
With a journalistic approach, brands can produce higher quality narratives and, subsequently, content that creates stronger connections.
Still not exactly sure what we’re talking about? Here are three brands engaging in great Brand Journalism.
Also, don’t miss our webinar where we cover how brand journalism can help you 10x your content ROI!
You’ve seen Red Bull’s commercials. At least, you have if you own a TV or computer. They’re the idiosyncratic cartoons that promise an energy drink will give you wings. However, Red Bull has gone to great lengths to immerse itself in a whole other world.
Red Bull is now synonymous with action sports and motorsports. This is partly due to high-profile sponsorships of contests ranging from skateboarding to motocross. They’re doing more than shelling out money for banners, though.
Red Bull is connecting with that community via excellent Brand Journalism. For instance, they publish the Red Bulletin, a branded magazine that “…Honors those who have a passion for adventure, push the limits, and don’t play by the rules.”
It targets young, adventure-seeking men and focuses on telling stories about “exceptional personalities.” There’s also an emphasis on visual storytelling, which is to be expected when you’re covering subjects like skydiving and kitesurfing.
They also produce several original series on Youtube, like MX Nation and Miles Above, that follow real athletes on their journeys.
Beyond branded media, Red Bull has also been successful at creating news by sponsoring extraordinary events. The most famous example is skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s free fall from the stratosphere, during which he broke the sound barrier.
Red Bull covered the event with in-house writers like a major publisher, pushing features and social media updates. They upped the ante with an interactive website and thrilling livestream of the jump. In the process, they also created a piece of news that scores of other outlets covered.
Of course, Red Bull itself isn’t essential for any of these activities. The stories being told don’t focus on the brand, either, but Red Bull is now more than an energy drink that will “give you wings.”
Patagonia is well known to those who prefer to spend their weekends and vacations trekking nature. The outdoor clothing and gear retailer plays to an active audience who cares about the environment and preserving natural beauty.
Patagonia speaks to this stewardship ethos in numerous ways. The most accessible is their blog, the Clean Line, which has been delivering content on the outdoors, activism and culture since 2007. Patagonia says the goal of the Clean Line is to further the company’s mission by sparking dialogue about their products, outdoor sports and environmental issues.
If the brand loyalty individuals feel toward Patagonia is any indication, it’s worked.
Then there’s the Patagonia catalog. It’s almost an insult to call it a catalog because, in reality, it’s much more. The catalog features awe inspiring visuals from around the world and depicts real people. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard claims they were the first company to do that.
Furthermore, you’ll find more than product descriptions for fleece pullovers in Patagonia catalogs. They also include informative essays from experts, and they have since the original Chouinard Equipment catalog, the predecessor to Patagonia, in 1972.
To this day, climbers and marketing veterans still reference Sierra climber Doug Robinson’s essay on “clean climbing.” It definitely begins with a bang:
There is a word for it, and the word is clean. Climbing with only nuts and runners for protection is clean climbing. Clean because the rock is left unaltered by the passing climber. Clean because nothing is hammered into the rock and then hammered back out, leaving the rock scarred and the next climber’s experience less natural. Clean because the climber’s protection leaves little trace of his ascension. Clean is climbing the rock without changing it; a step closer to organic climbing for the natural man.
Perhaps without knowing it, Patagonia was a forerunner to modern Brand Journalism, and they continue to innovate with efforts like FISHPEOPLE, a feature film about how the ocean affects the daily lives of people around the world.
Wearing Patagonia isn’t only matter of fashion or function, it’s a statement about your worldview. And it’s reinforced with every catalog, every blog post.
With the rise of the sharing economy, Airbnb has positioned itself as alternative, more authentic experience to hotels. The platform allows people to set their own rates and rent their apartments and houses to travelers.
Airbnb caters to Millennials who increasingly value experiences in life and want to travel without the stuffiness or price tags associated with hotels. It’s no shocker that a company so connected to a younger audience has a blog. What sets it apart, from a Brand Journalism perspective, is its utility and quality.
The blog includes fairly typical posts that promote tips for hosts, but it’s also a treasure trove of regular series that get to the heart of traveling. For instance, the “When Strangers Meet” series focuses on real stories about people who met someone special through Airbnb.
Their “Local Lense” features are guides to locations and events, not written by freelancers who have never actually been to Copenhagen but by locals. “Not Yet Trending” is an investigative series that uses Airbnb guest growth data to identify destinations on the verge of becoming new vacation hot spots. By the way, the Azores are the next Iceland if you’re looking for an adventure.
It’s a little more surprising that Airbnb puts out a branded print magazine, Airbnbmag. But only on the surface. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the main reason they started a magazine was because most existing travel magazines had no people in them. To Chesky, meeting new people is the “real magic” of traveling. Airbnbmag focuses heavily on exploring the world through the experiences of locals and hosts.
Again, all of their content gets to the core of an authentic experience, traveling like a local rather than a tourist. They deliver on the romantic promise of travel.