Virgin

Virgin Media: the paragon of brand storytelling?

The top 10 list of storytelling brands in the UK usually includes Apple, Cadbury, IKEA and Walkers.

But looking at the annual list from AESOP, it’s Virgin Media that jumps out at me as a storytelling brand that breaks the mould.

Here I round up some of its activity that falls into my nebulous understanding of storytelling.

Let me know if you agree. 

Why do online retailers need live chat?

Just 14% of UK online retailers offer live chat as a customer service channel.

In a recent survey by idealo, only a small number of UK retailers offered live chat as a customer service channel, and in the rest of Europe, an average of 18% of retailers offered access to live chat.

Live chat is the online support service that provides instant help for consumers who are seeking immediate help from a customer service assistant in real time. It normally appears on ecommerce sites or service providers in the form of a little text box that says “how can I help you?”

As you would expect, the most popular method of contact from the survey is by writing, with an average of 91% of all online shops offering contact via email or contact form. Although I’m surprised this figure isn’t even higher.

Perhaps this is down to many European retailers preferring customers to pick up the phone. Italy for example goes heavily against the email trend, with 98% of their online retailers offering phone contact, but only 56% offering email contact.

This leaves live chat somewhat in the doldrums.

Six case studies that prove the power of content marketing

In October 2012 Econsultancy ran a survey which found that 90% of brands felt that content marketing would become more important over the following 12 months.

One year on it is hard to argue against the fact that content marketing is now among the most important trends in digital.

However when we published the Content Marketing Survey Report with Outbrain, just 38% of respondents had a defined strategy in place.

That is likely to have changed by now, however just to add more weight to the argument in favour of this discipline I have rounded up six case studies from various brands that have seen real results from content marketing.

How Virgin used big data to inform its new content strategy

Richard Branson’s Virgin empire incorporates a broad range of brands and companies that take in travel, TV, music and spaceships.

All these disparate businesses have their own websites, but the overall corporation is represented by Virgin.com.

This site has undergone a huge transformation in the past 10 years, morphing from a simple web portal into a content-rich site that aims to epitomise the Virgin brand experience.

At Econsultancy’s JUMP conference last week, which formed part of the Festival of Marketing, Virgin’s Bob Fear described how the site was redesigned by the content team working hand-in-hand with data scientists.

Fear’s team consists of journalists and writers, so the thought of working with big data appeared somewhat confounding at first.

How Virgin uses big data to create engaging branded content

Bob Fear is Digital Content and Marketing Manager at Virgin, and he recently been involved in the relaunch of Virgin.com. 

He has devised the core Virgin brand’s digital content and social strategy from scratch, and will be speaking about using data to create engaging branded content at our JUMP event on October 9. 

I’ve been asking Bob about the presentation, and Virgin’s approach to content and social media…