Retailers’ favorite channels for branded content


Retailers today have to perform as content creators. But just as important as the content they create is the channel they promote it on. While some companies find their stride through witty banter on Twitter, others are more comfortable sharing visual photos on Instagram than posing as cool teens “on fleek” in 140 characters.

At the Digiday Retail Summit in Nashville, we asked attendees to share the channel that serves as the best platform for their content strategies, be it Snapchat, Instagram, a native blog or a Tumblr.

Here are their responses, edited for clarity.

Brian Beitler, CMO, Lane Bryant
All channels. Any channel can be used to create a digital impact as long as you have something worth talking about. We tried to go on television and got banned, so social media became our go-to. For our “I’m No Angel” campaign, we put ads on the subway and then we saw user-posted Instagram pictures follow. The last campaign was all about the partnership with Sports Illustrated — a men’s magazine for a women’s brand that reached every social media and digital platform. It’s not about one best channel: we watch what people are saying in real time across all of them and respond accordingly.

Nina Alexander Hurst, vp of customer experience, Baublebar
Instagram. We have a team of stylists posting photos of every item before it goes live on the site, and then we use those photos for the product pages. Then we can say to a customer, here’s this product photo, it’s not on a model, the stylist wore it here, it went with this outfit, and this is why we think you would like this product. It puts a face to our team and gives us personality in an industry where a customer is expecting a call center. Instagram has been really great for that level of service, as well as building out the personalities for our stylists. We also generally try to be where our customers are, for instance, if a customer sends out a request for a wedding look and says she’s putting ideas together on Pinterest, we’ll respond with our recommendations with a Pinterest board.

Kira Clayborne, senior manager of digital media, Church’s Chicken
Facebook. There have been amazing ad-type-expansions that have helped our different digital integrations flourish. Particularly, around our mobile app, video and with canvas ad exploration.

Joy Chen, CEO, H2O+ Beauty
H2O+ Beauty’s newly launched website is our best tool for branded content because it serves as the brand’s flagship store as well as a key tool for communicating with our customers. In addition to helping us reintroduce the public to our brand, our story, and our new products, its interactive features enable customers to communicate directly with H2O+ Beauty employees for real-time questions.

Ethelbert Williams, CMO, InstaNatural
Personally, I’ll be first to confess that my team is learning our way to developing the right strategy, content and engagement approaches around social. I recognize the importance of social interactive content in our consumer experience — allowing consumers to discover, try and sometimes purchase in our category. We need to do better here and are putting stronger capabilities in place to win in the future as social is an important channel for engaging consumers and opportunity to bring to life our branded content and storytelling.

Kelly Goldston, vp of marketing, Eloquii
At Eloquii, we’re seeing great success with branded content on our new editorial hub, Style & Substance. Customers love seeing our lookbooks, blog posts and stories about real customers, and the proof is in the metrics: visitors who engage with Style & Substance spend twice as long on site as those who don’t.

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