Creating branded content for men can be a little tricky, but don’t be afraid. By testing the waters, taking a few calculated risks and focusing on the things they clearly want, brands will see ROI if they are willing to take the leap. Whether “zigging” when others “zag,” or being a little goofy and accessible, if men are a key part of your marketing strategy, there are effective methods for bringing them into the fold. Here are three tips to help guide your branded content targeted to men.
Go against the grain with channel choices: We all know that Pinterest skews heavily female, but the platform is currently trying to find ways of engaging male users, including hiring the man behind Axe’s marketing. There are a few trailblazers that have already made incredible headway, including ESPN, Sony and GE, but few have had the success on Pinterest as hasMen’s Health. The magazine has gained over 33k followers with 2,301 pieces of content spanning area-specific workouts; fashion, sex, weight-loss tips, and gift guides since launching two years ago. By posting frequently and keeping content fresh across multiple categories, they have clearly cracked the code in connecting with the ever-elusive male on Pinterest.
Don’t be afraid to get a little goofy, if it suits your brand: In 2013, the breakfast cereal icon, Cap’n Crunch, underwent a massive digital makeover, launching an animated late night talk show, much-loved Twitter handle and even stoking the fires of a large, but laughable scandal that questioned his credentials. Thanks to online banter with Jay Z and a frolicking beach rendez-vous with supermodel Chrissy Teigen, every move the Cap’n has made clearly resonates with a comedy-hungry male audience. The brand turned up the heat this summer with an online rhyme battle against ’90s rapper and retro kitsch legend, Vanilla Ice. The battle spanned from Twitter to a webisode that has already garnered thousands of views and retweets in less than a week, proving that sometimes laughter truly is the way to a man’s heart (and his stomach).
If at first you don’t succeed…: Gilt Groupe could have abandoned their male audience after the lukewarm response to and subsequent closure of Park and Bond. But the brand persisted, refreshing their content approach with Gilt MANual, a beautifully curated fashion and lifestyle site. The blog was originally launched in 2011, but the start of 2013 heralded a much richer experience, incorporating how to’s, designer profiles and outfit builders with top picks on sale at Gilt.com. The result is a media outlet that is ambitious, but effective in delivering relevant fashion content to a young, style-savvy male audience while helping drive sales in a more authentic and less branded way.
Put your audience first: And few brands do so better than Xbox. First, the brand sponsored The Guild, a comedy web series that reflects the attitudes and behaviors of the very consumers they target. Xbox has also proved that their love of gaming goes beyond brand wars, creating a video featuring employees talking about #myfavoritegame (including Nintendo’s Super Mario World and Playstation’s Heavy Rain, among others), inviting fans to share their own.
But their approach is not just about clever videos or helpful how to’s. Last year, Microsoft made drastic revisions to the Xbox One after receiving backlash from fans before its release. Recently, the brand has developed a library of apps such as ReddX (Reddit), GoPro Channel, Maxim and more, proving that Xbox is committed to turning their system into a content delivery platform that fans truly love.
When trying to market to a male audience, it’s not just about babes in bikinis, high fives and belly laughs. If tackled in a thoughtful, but innovative way, brands both big and small have the opportunity to create legions of loyal fans. Just listen to what they want, be bold and break a few rules along the way.