Content marketing plays key role for GE

24 October 2012

NEW YORK: General Electric, the conglomerate, is utilising an increasingly targeted approach to content marketing and "storytelling" as a means of engaging consumers and business clients more effectively.

Speaking to DigiDay, Linda Boff, executive director, global digital marketing for GE, stated this channel played a particularly central role for the company as it trades in complex and unusual categories.

She said: "We are involved in renewable energy in transportation, healthcare and natural gases. These are inherently interesting. We use storytelling, which is critical, to make sure we bring to life what we do in ways that are inherently interesting."

More specifically, Boff suggested storytelling was vital as it enabled the organisation to communicate "what we do, not what we sell" in an engaging and stimulating manner.

"Content is important because it helps people relate to what it is we do," she added. "We obsess about content. We think of it as a way to tell the great stories of GE. The GE approach to content is: We completely lean into who we are."

"Most consumers don't want to read product specs. Understanding that the transportation is more efficient than before or that there are new ways to care for newborns: these are interesting stories."

Among the key values GE seeks to demonstrate in its content marketing are the mix of traditional and advanced manufacturing at its heart, alongside a focus on technology, innovation and invention.

"We have a clear compass as to what it is we find interesting and what our voice is in our space. We have a curious, passionate and optimistic voice," said Boff. "Using this compass, we make sure we have consistency on our content channels."

Even though the broad tenor of communications is similar, GE does tailor its output depending on the individual media property being deployed.

"Good stories, well told, have always been at the heart of the greatest brand activations. The difference nowadays is the tremendous proliferation of channels and platforms," said Boff. "There is an ability to be micro-targeted and relevant."

A GE video about a locomotive plant yielded 101k hits in under a week, showing this trend in practice. It has also created a mobile game, "Patient Shuffle", demonstrating the challenges of running a hospital.

"GE has used the mobile device for storytelling," Boff said. "We need to be moving into content and context on mobile where we are serving and connecting with people in relevant and natural ways."

Data sourced from DigiDay; additional content by Warc staff