Anyone who attended elementary school in the States can likely tell you a little something about George Washington Carver. He was a respected scientist, botanist and inventor. While his greatest contribution to American agriculture was probably his research on the methods and importance of crop rotation and the promotion of farming alternative crops to cotton, Dr. Carver is most well known for his work with one plant in particular — the peanut.
According to the National Peanut Board (yes, there is such a thing), Dr. Carver researched and developed more than 300 uses for peanuts. Naming them one by one sounds like a scene out of Forrest Gump:
- Peanut Oil
- Peanut Brittle
- Peanut Shampoo
- Peanut Glue
- Peanut Shaving Cream
- Peanut Lemon Punch
- Peanut Dyes & Wood Stains
His obsession with this little legume was legendary. Dr. Carver’s peanut passion even led him to discover methods to use it for axle grease, printer’s ink and laxatives.
Marketers can learn something from this approach.
How often do we toil over a concept, a topic or idea that will bring our brands closer to customers only to promote it and present it through one or two channels? To truly introduce a message to prospects, we must be prepared to bring it to life in a variety of ways and in numerous venues. Only then can we enable our audience to experience our brand position on their terms and in settings that are aligned with their unique interests and habits.
Imagine if Dr. Carver had just settled to focus his efforts only on peanut massage oil? Lame and boring.
Content marketers must be willing and able to break down big ideas into smaller chunks, suited for different audience segments in different places.
Here’s an example. At the time of this writing, Craftsman Tools is running a contest titled, Makecation. Leading up to Labor Day weekend, they are encouraging loyal customers to share an image of something they have made with a Craftsman tool. Tool brand loyalists who provide proof of product purchase and share their image on social media will be entered to win a Labor Day Weekend getaway to Lake Arrowhead, California. There they can spend time grilling red meat, rolling cigars, making whiskey, blacksmithing and taking survival training courses. I’m not kidding. It’s a goddamned manly man’s euphoric jungle gym where testosterone flows like a natural hot spring.
To promote and share information about this hairy-chested contest, Craftsmen has created several smaller productions such as videos, graphics and social media posts. Take a look.
Here’s a special microsite dedicated to the contest:
They are also actively promoting it on Facebook,
and on Instagram.
These are just some of the methods Craftsman have used to generate contest awareness and participation. They have taken little pieces of their BIG content production and created bits of value elsewhere for their diverse audience to recognize, experience and enjoy.
Did they stop there? No. Craftsmen also enlisted the help of their pals at Ace Hardware, who also shared it on the Ace Hardware website,
the Ace Hardware Facebook page,
and @AceHardware on Twitter.
They even had comedian, hollywood actor and knuckle dragger extraordinaire, Rob Riggle, tweet his plans to meet up with the winners of the Makecation. Yes, he’ll be there too.
Imagine the impact of Craftsman’s results if they had relied solely on Instagram or any other singular promotion channel for this campaign. Their return would have probably been the equivalent of…well…peanuts.
To take it a step further, Craftsman could also benefit by bringing more relevant content executions to life:
- Images on Facebook and Instagram depicting real participant projects.
- Tweets to instructions and tutorials about how to complete common and seriously virile projects with Craftsman tools before Labor Day.
- Video snippets of the survival training, whiskey making and blacksmithing sessions at Lake Arrowhead. I want to see it all.
- A series of photos and posts showing projects completed with restored, refurbished and repurposed materials — true measures of a modern day handyman.
Craftsman’s efforts to seek out all the different possibilities to share their message and provide intrigue and allure at every touchpoint is truly marketing in the spirit of George Washington Carver. Throughout multiple owned and borrowed venues, Craftsman have transformed their simple peanut into content-rich particles. If Carver could find 300 different uses for the peanut, we can surely find a few dozen methods to extract valuable developments and productions from a single big idea.
Don’t stop at peanut brittle. Break that nut down, and explore the content marketing possibilities.
And thank you, Dr. Carver.