To kick off a brainstorm for our 2019 marketing strategy, everyone on our team shared a handful of brands they admire. As we went around the room, we were all gushing about campaigns we love, Instagram feeds that always catch our attention, and companies that strike us every time with content and experiences that actually mean something to us.
This list of brands got us so fired up for the new year, we decided we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves. Take a look at our list to inspire your own 2019 marketing strategy, and let us know who we should add! Share the brands that move you in the comments, or tweet them @psforbrands.
19 Brands to Inspire Your 2019 Content Marketing
The Wendy’s social media team is fun, playful and full of surprises. Their Twitter bio says it all: “We like our tweets the same way we like to make hamburgers: better than anyone expects from a fast food joint.”
They’re not afraid to take risks, like #NationalRoastDay – a full day of roasting their followers and other brands.
Ok, but don’t get handsy and we have to be home by 10. https://t.co/tQunlsqecG
— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 9, 2018
We just can’t get enough of their snarky tweets.
Spotify blew us away with their brilliant end of the year campaign. For the second year in a row (which meant I was waiting for it anxiously every day in early December), Spotify created an integrated marketing campaign based on data. Billboards on the New York City Subway platform joked about the massive number of playlists listeners created named, “Yanny” and “Laurel.” The brand tweeted GIFs sharing stats like how many people made “Calm meditation” playlists (367) and how many people made “Clam meditation” playlists (1).
Then, they personalized that data, giving individual users a personalized look at their own listening habits. How can I not be fascinated by the fact that I spent 78 hours with my favorite artist, Florence + the Machine, this year?
Bonus, the campaign drove users back into the app, because they created a personalized playlist of your favorite songs in 2018.
Vox creates videos that always make us smarter. Whether you’re curious about the NFL’s yellow arrow, the US bail system or those claw machines filled with toys, they’ve got answers to all your questions – and all the questions you didn’t know you had. They use a consistent style and format, and their signature explainer videos are always thorough and well-researched.
This video from UPS stopped me in my tracks one day as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. It’s a true story about a real UPS customer – 6-year-old Parson Blue Herrington. Parson wants to be a UPS driver, and thanks to her driver, Miss Tammy, and UPS’s “Wishes Delivered” campaign, her dream just came true.
Every brand has incredible customer stories waiting to be told, and I love that UPS found this one. Grab a tissue – this authentic, beautiful video is sure to pull at your heartstrings!
Starbucks has done an amazing job of creating the “third place.” It’s welcoming, comfortable and universal – you’ll feel at home no matter which location you visit.
Their mattresses might be soft and foamy, but Casper’s brand voice is rock solid. Whether they’re sharing a punny inspirational quote, an eye-catching illustration, or a simple photo that somehow conveys relaxation, Casper’s message is always concise and clever.
How do you visualize a concept like productivity? Just ask the productivity experts over at Slack. We love how Slack uses clean design to illustrate their product and its features, without getting too far into the weeds.
— Slack (@SlackHQ) January 4, 2019
Often when I think of Mailchimp, I think of the brand’s unforgettable 2014 ad from the podcast, Serial. Since then, Mailchimp’s product and features have changed dramatically, but the brand’s playful personality remains the same.
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Designer @kristiefeltner spent a lot of time researching vintage pinball machines for this recent illustration on our login page. Inspired by the word “boost,” she brainstormed a few different visuals before settling on this one. “It needed animation,” Kristie says. “Movement helps tell the story of sending an email, using a retargeting ad to bring back customers, and getting that exciting boost in sales.”
Bonus, the team often shares a behind the scenes look at their design thinking on Instagram.
Patagonia is a fearless, mission-driven brand. It’s a true example of how customers connect with a company’s values, rather than its products. Patagonia’s Instagram is packed with stunning visuals and incredible stories that encourage followers to join them in taking a stand.
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During a time when most wild animals are experiencing a decline in the face of development and climate change, the intrepid mountain lion—also known as a puma, a cougar, and other names—has experienced reinvigoration as well as expansion of territory. Their story is fascinating for the lessons it can afford the protection of all species in times of dire challenge and decline. 'Path of the Puma' by Jim Williams. Click the link in our profile to order now and join the tour. Photo: Darío Podestá
Wistia’s visual content highlights the team’s personality, which has helped them build a personal, relatable brand. Their videos are engaging and easy to understand, and they make learning fun.
— Wistia (@wistia) December 20, 2018
AppCues uses light, fun and simple design. Their brand personality always comes through, whether they’re surprising and delighting customers or sharing a picture of their staff (who they call “Appcuties”) on Instagram.
— Appcues (@Appcues) November 7, 2018
12. Schoolhouse Electric
Schoolhouse Electric uses customer-centric marketing to connect you to the brand. They feature real people in their inspiration guides and share user-generated content on Instagram, giving all of their photography a more personal feel.
13. Red Bull
Red Bull is a powerhouse that demonstrates how a consumer goods company can operate as a media brand. Their content is always packed with the one thing that drives their business: energy.
Bonus, their high standards extend to every facet of the organization. Be sure to follow Red Bull Music Academy, which empowers musicians through educational content, workshops and funding.
Everlane has clear brand standards. The apparel company’s social media personality is recognizable, purposeful and authentic.
Applegate’s mission is to “Change the Meat We Eat” – a message that comes through clearly in their photography on social media. The images are made by a creative team that pairs real recipes with natural light, making Applegate’s social media channels approachable and authentic.
YouTube has an unmatched ability to deliver digestible, clickable content that always makes you want more. For example, yes, we did need this video of a penguin protecting a group of baby penguins. How do they always know?!
— YouTube (@YouTube) January 2, 2019
Gizmodo knows its audience, and creates content that’s a perfect fit. Gizmodo’s YouTube channel is a great example of how to create branded video series your audience will love.
18. Artifact Uprising
Artifact Uprising is a brand that’s sure to make you feel something. After all, nothing is quite as nostalgic as looking at a printed photo album of real, meaningful moments. You can count on this team to pull at your heartstrings.
19. National Geographic
No matter your industry, you can look to National Geographic for inspiration. Using everything from print to social media to feature length documentary films, National Geographic wows audiences with stunning visual content. After more than 130 years, this organization continues to set a gold standard in storytelling.
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Photo by @PaulNicklen | A female polar bear stands with her two young cubs along the basalt shores of Spitsbergen, Norway. The cubs remain hesitant to enter the icy water, as they are not yet expert swimmers, and cannot last long in the cold. For now, the responsibility of feeding is left to their mother, who will likely swim out to drifting sea ice and try to catch an unsuspecting seal. However, with warming Arctic temperatures, sea ice continues to melt, making it more and more difficult to feed three hungry mouths. #FollowMe at @PaulNicklen for more photos of species from the #Arctic. #Norway #polarbear #family #climatechange
Looking for more inspiration?
Check out these stories to jumpstart your 2019 marketing strategy!