There are over 5 billion internet users as of July 2023. 59.9% of them are social media users. These numbers indicate that gone are the days of solely relying on offline marketing. You must incorporate a digital marketing strategy to access your target market.
Digital marketing allows you to increase brand awareness and even compete with bigger, more established brands. For instance, on TikTok, we’ve seen little-known businesses grow overnight due to one viral video.
But how do you know which marketing strategy to follow for your brand?
Analyzing the strategies of leading brands who’ve achieved success can give you an idea.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 11 companies that have successfully undertaken dynamic digital marketing campaigns, elevating their return on investment (ROI) and delivering exceptional value to their customers. We’ll also present five companies that are using social media to increase brand awareness and build a community of loyal customers.
Skillshare is an online platform offering courses in photography, visual arts, business management, and more. As of 2023, over 115,000 students have enrolled in courses on the platform.
Most of Skillshare’s popularity can be attributed to its well-structured affiliate program. Many YouTube and Instagram influencers have embraced the program, increasing awareness around Skillshare.
The affiliate program is attractive to the influencers for a couple of reasons:
- Affiliates earn commissions on paid subscriptions and free trial signups, maximizing their potential earnings.
- Skillshare offers affiliates a personal, real-time dashboard to monitor all their affiliate activities, such as traffic, referrals, and payouts, in real-time.
- The assurance of regular, reliable monthly payouts keeps affiliates satisfied and motivated to continue promoting the platform.
- Affiliates can access Skillshare’s complete course catalog and select the courses that align with their audience’s interests.
- The 30-day cookie life allows affiliates to earn commissions on purchases made up to 30 days after a user initially clicks on their referral link.
The Lesson: A well-structured affiliate program with comprehensive features and a focus on empowering affiliates contributes to the brand’s visibility and popularity. Providing influencers with the right tools and incentives creates a relationship that benefits the brand and its affiliates.
Nike’s marketing success over the years is tied to their masterful use of influencer marketing, often featuring popular athletes in their campaigns.
Utilizing athletes as influencers resonates strongly with Nike’s target audience of sports enthusiasts and active individuals. Athletes embody the spirit of dedication, excellence, and determination that Nike aims to instill in its customers.
For instance, over the years, Nike has collaborated with iconic athletes like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo, and many others. These collaborations have resulted in memorable campaigns that showcase the athletes’ prowess in their respective sports and emphasize Nike’s commitment to pushing boundaries and achieving greatness.
Nike’s “How We Do” campaign, featuring fashion and lifestyle influencer Nella Rose, emphasizes inclusivity and trying new things. In this ad, Nella Rose explores various sports, such as boxing, encouraging young individuals to break barriers and participate in sports.
Nike still stands as the most valuable global apparel brand for the 7th consecutive year as of 2022. Holding the largest market share in sportswear at 15% as of 2022, Nike remains an industry leader. Their financial record is robust, with a valuation exceeding 33 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, a substantial increase from 2021.
The Lessons: Nike’s sustained success lies in its ability to evolve and embrace new approaches to marketing. By staying at the forefront of trends, utilizing influencers effectively, and encouraging experimentation, Nike has managed to keep its brand on top in a fiercely competitive market.
Dove is a prominent personal care brand that offers a wide range of products like shampoos, conditioners, body washes, moisturizers, deodorants, facial skincare, and self-tanning items.
Since 2014, Dove has been focused on promoting its “Real Beauty” campaign, emphasizing self-esteem and challenging the unrealistic beauty standards often perpetuated by social media.
They developed the Dove Self Esteem Project Toolkit, a resource offering articles and materials to aid in building better self-esteem, especially among the youth.
To facilitate distribution, Dove and its media agency, Mindshare, crafted a Body Toxicity Index. This tool allowed them to identify receptive and vulnerable audiences, categorizing media channels based on their potential toxic effect.
They then used this index to place the campaign on TV shows that often portrayed unrealistic beauty standards, like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Love Island, and Real Housewives.
Careful media planning ensured that the campaign reached its intended audience effectively while avoiding irrelevant or counterproductive placements.
The results were impressive, with the Dove Self Esteem Project Toolkit achieving over 4,000 downloads, exceeding the target demographic by 134%.
The toolkit promotion led to a 21% brand affinity uplift within the target demographic and an 11.9% overall uplift. Additionally, Dove saw an increase in brand power index amongst 18-34-year-olds during the promotion period.
Dove’s campaigns have garnered attention, earning them accolades like the Social Purpose category award at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA 2023 and 19 awards at the Cannes Lions.
The Lesson: Understanding and aligning with the brand’s values and mission is essential for success. Dove’s commitment to promoting real beauty and self-esteem is at the heart of all their campaigns and resonates well with their target audience.
Sephora was founded in 1969 and has emerged as a powerhouse in the beauty industry. It’s a one-stop shop for skincare, haircare, fragrance, and makeup.
The brand has a massive customer base with over 2,600 stores across more than 30 countries.
According to Statista, Sephora’s eCommerce sales grew from $580 million to $3 billion between 2016 and 2022. The fourfold increase lies in Sephora’s adept utilization of digital marketing strategies that have allowed them to stay ahead of the curve and connect with their audience effectively.
Sephora emphasizes user-generated content, particularly from influencers and makeup artists. They leverage the reach and credibility of these beauty enthusiasts to tap into a vast and engaged audience.
On Instagram, visual appeal is paramount. They’ve taken advantage of this and used the platform to captivate audiences by allowing renowned makeup artists, like Nikkie Tutorials, to temporarily take over their Instagram page, which has over 21 million followers.
Their recent campaign, dubbed Sephora Squad, is aimed at celebrating diverse talent within the beauty industry. All applicants who were selected get to collaborate with Sephora in different campaigns and events.
The campaign has generated excitement among their substantial following, with the #Sephorasquad being used over 82,000 times on Instagram. It has helped the brand showcase the latest makeup trends and beauty products creatively.
Sephora’s adeptness in using digital platforms and leveraging influencer marketing has played a major role in solidifying its brand’s image and fostering a devoted community.
Sephora continues to be a dominant force in the beauty industry by attracting a diverse and loyal customer base, embracing modern marketing approaches and prioritizing user engagement.
The Lesson: Collaborating with influencers and encouraging user-generated content impacts brand visibility and credibility. Amplifying your customers into influencers provides authentic endorsements and helps in reaching a wider audience.
Younger generations of 18–25 notice the use of inclusivity during advertising. Due to this, many brands have embraced inclusivity based on gender, religion, and ethnicity, among other factors.
One brand that has been propelled by inclusive advertising is Fenty, a beauty and fashion brand launched by Rihanna, the international music icon, in 2017.
The brand gained widespread popularity for its focus on inclusivity and diversity, particularly in its digital campaigns. Their visuals feature models and influencers representing diverse ethnicities, sizes, genders, and abilities.
Their campaigns often highlight a wide spectrum of skin tones and unique features, promoting self-expression and self-acceptance.They’ve challenged traditional beauty standards and connected to their target audience, who have previously felt left out by top brands like Victoria’s Secret.
The Lesson: Brands should aim to reflect the diversity of their audience in their advertising, demonstrating an understanding and appreciation of various backgrounds, identities, and experiences. This way, they’ll connect with a wider customer base, increase brand loyalty, and positively impact society by promoting acceptance.
According to Verints 2023 State of Digital Customer Experience report, today’s consumers expect higher standards of online customer service year after year, demanding swift resolutions in a single interaction.
Zappos is a leader in online shoe commerce. They’re known for their exceptional customer service and have utilized social media to amplify their customer care efforts.
Zappos recognizes that social media is a space where customers seek assistance and engagement. They’ve, therefore, positioned themselves as a brand that prioritizes solving problems over direct conversions on these platforms.
Rather than solely focusing on pushing sales messages, they actively engage with their customers, providing support, advice, and solutions to inquiries. Zappos understands that the true value of social media comes from cultivating connections with their audience.
The lesson: Value in social groups is driven by meaningful connections and interactions, not just conversions. Engaging with customers, addressing their concerns, and providing assistance on social media positions the brand as approachable, responsive, and customer-centric, fostering trust and loyalty.
Airbnb has transformed the way people approach travel and accommodations. Their digital marketing strategy focuses on engaging travelers and hosts for their platforms.
Airbnb relies heavily on user-generated images and videos across social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Posting authentic content from travelers and hosts helps them create an organic and relatable connection with their audience.
Their digital marketing involves a mix of content types – from showing properties and cities to how-to videos for hosts and popular city guides. It helps them cater to the different needs and interests of their target audience.
Airbnb Instagram and TikTok campaigns show captivating images of travel locations. Their marketing is not just about services but also a platform for travel enthusiasts to explore various travel experiences.
During the pandemic, the tourism and travel industry was hit hardest. Airbnb introduced Online Experiences, an initiative that allowed hosts to earn income while providing a virtual connection to local cultures.
This innovative product not only generated revenue but also showcased Airbnb’s adaptability to market needs, especially during the pandemic.
The Lesson: Create demand for your product or service by finding an interesting and relevant topic related to your business. Airbnb’s content revolves around travel, destinations, and experiences that align with its brand identity. Generating interest around travel destinations helps them attract hosts and travelers, resulting in the growth of their platform.
8. Barbie Movie
The Barbie movie by Warner Bros premiered in July 2023. It has achieved massive success, reaching a staggering $1.4 billion in earnings as of September 2023. This makes it Warner Bros’ highest-grossing film ever in the global box office.
The Movie’s marketing team recognized the power of TikTok and Instagram, especially among the younger demographic, and used these platforms for their marketing efforts.
TikTok provided an excellent avenue to create a buzz around the Barbie movie. Nikki Minaj and Ice Spice created a Barbie-themed song, which became a viral sound on TikTok, with hundreds of thousands of fans around the world using it.
The Barbie Movie TikTok account, which has over 1.5 million followers, was used to share trailers, movie clips, and snippets, keeping the audience excited and building anticipation for the movie’s premiere.
The Lesson: Building hype before a product launch is essential. Engaging with influential individuals and creating a buzz with engaging content can impact the success of a product. Teasing the target audience with snippets and exclusive previews generates excitement, anticipation, and a sense of exclusivity, driving them to await the product’s release eagerly.
Spotify is a music streaming platform that uses algorithms to curate personalized playlists for users. Their digital marketing strategy has contributed to its success as a leading music and podcast streaming platform.
Spotify uses email marketing for personalized communication with customers. They also use YouTube ads and stay on top of social media trends, helping them maintain a strong connection with users.
Regular updates and staying ahead of trends in the music and tech industry keep the platform fresh and appealing to its user base.
The Lesson: Make use of social media trends to build your content. When using email marketing, personalize the emails to each customer to make them feel heard and to create a connection with your brand.
HubSpot is a developer and marketer of software systems that help in inbound marketing, sales, and customer experience. They are renowned for their top-tier software and influential and informative blogs.
Beyond their corporate mission of empowering customers to “Grow Better with HubSpot,” they’ve leveraged their blog readership to align with current trends, product launches, and digital marketing strategies.
If you’re into marketing, sales, or service blogs and guides, chances are HubSpot’s content has crossed your path. They’ve used their online presence and blog strategy to showcase new tools and industry trends through digital marketing initiatives.
In the early months of 2023, HubSpot embraced the growing trend of AI tools, introducing an array of AI-powered tools, including an AI Content Writer and Blog Writer.
HubSpot shared AI-centric content, enlightening their audience about the merits and considerations surrounding AI tools. They highlighted how tools like ChatGPT can be harnessed to enhance content creation and expansion.
Their strategy helped them amplify the visibility of their products and demonstrated how content marketing, SEO, and digital marketing can blend into a powerful campaign.
The Lesson: HubSpot’s emphasis on high-quality, relevant content through blogs and guides demonstrates the importance of a robust content strategy. Quality content attracts and educates the audience, supports SEO efforts, and builds credibility.
UNIQLO is a renowned global apparel retailer known for its trendy and functional clothing. The brand caters primarily to the 18-35 age group,
UNIQLO’s clothing is a blend of fashion-forward designs and practicality, appealing to a wide range of individuals who value both style and utility.
The brand uses various Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to connect with its audience. They create engaging content, run targeted ad campaigns, and interact with followers to build relationships.
UNIQLO frequently collaborates with influencers and celebrities to promote its products. These partnerships help them enhance brand credibility and expose the brand to the influencer’s audience. This approach is particularly effective in reaching the younger demographic.
UNIQLO’s digital marketing emphasizes the quality and innovation inherent in their products. They showcase advanced materials, innovative designs, and manufacturing processes through their content, highlighting what sets them apart from competitors.
The Lesson: UNIQLO’s success lies in deeply understanding and catering to its target demographic, ensuring that products and marketing strategies resonate with their preferences and needs. Maintaining a consistent brand image and experience across various platforms is crucial for building trust and recognition.
Other Social Media Superstars
Duolingo is a renowned language-learning app with over 100 million downloads worldwide. Their business model caters to individuals aspiring to learn a new language but may face barriers in accessing traditional language courses due to cost or availability.
Initially, Duolingo ventured into educational content on TikTok, aiming to tap into the platform’s vast user base. However, this approach didn’t resonate as expected with the TikTok audience. Undeterred, Duolingo pivoted its strategy and found success by leveraging viral memes and TikTok videos.
Crafting a quirky and playful brand image captured the attention of users and spread the word about the app. They went from 2,000 followers to a million in a few weeks. They now have over 7.7 million followers on the platform.
2. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s social media strategy is a blend of authenticity, relatability, and activism that connects with her massive fanbase, affectionately known as Swifties.
Through her posts, she opens up about her life, sharing not just the glitz and glamor but also her vulnerabilities, struggles, and genuine emotions. Her authenticity makes her relatable and endearing to her audience.
Furthermore, Taylor effectively utilizes her platform not only to promote her music and projects but also to voice her opinions on critical societal issues. She addresses topics ranging from social justice to mental health to politics.
Her social media approach plays a role in her world tours, which draw massive crowds of 70,000 people in sold-out stadiums.
Chipotle, a popular fast-casual restaurant chain, has achieved remarkable success on TikTok.
Chipotle encourages its customers to share their experiences and creative content related to the brand. They stitch the videos, amplifying their reach and engaging with their audience authentically.
They use hashtags to involve the audience. For example, #guacdance and #Chipotletok are popular hashtags that the brand has used to trigger user participation and brand recognition.
Chipotle effectively utilizes TikTok to showcase its menu offerings, including meals and drinks. They partner with food influencers to implement giveaways in order to attract more followers and drive engagement.
Through consistent engagement and interactive campaigns, Chipotle has successfully built a loyal fanbase on TikTok.
You may be interested in listening to the Social Pros: How Chipotle Got 1 Billion Views on a Single TikTok Promotion
Ryanair is an affordable airline that has gained popularity for its exceptional social media presence, particularly on X, where their witty responses have propelled them into the limelight.
With over 770,000 followers, Ryanair’s X account is a hub of promotional content, customer service engagement, and, most notably, humor-laced tweets.
They consistently respond to customer inquiries with clever and witty remarks. When customers make fun of the ariline, Ryanair will quote the tweet with a hilarious comeback gannering retweets, laughter emojis and positive reactions from fellow X users.
Apple emphasizes creating exclusive and impactful content rather than flooding platforms with daily posts. Their approach to social media content is marked by its deliberate restraint.
Unlike many competitors, Apple opts for a more strategic and refined content strategy. Each piece of content is carefully crafted to maintain a high standard, ensuring it aligns with the brand’s image and resonates effectively with its audience.
Apple’s content strategy primarily revolves around genuine user experiences. They focus on showing how their products enhance users’ lives, placing their consumers at the forefront.
Despite limited content, Apple’s branding remains clear, cohesive, and consistent across all platforms. It reinforces the brand’s identity and message, making it instantly recognizable to consumers.
The exemplary digital marketing campaigns we’ve discussed above shed light on the many ways you can approach modern marketing.
These companies have not just embraced but mastered the art of digital engagement. Their innovative strategies, driven by creativity and consumer-centric approaches, have proven to be the catalysts for their roaring success.
The dividends they are reaping from these efforts demonstrate the potential and power of strategic digital marketing.
As businesses continue to evolve and adapt, these success stories should inspire and guide future marketing campaigns, paving the way for even greater achievements.