Brand Publishing

July 19th, 2013

Best of Branded Content: Slate and GE Capital

Every week, we want to highlight an example of a brand that’s telling amazing stories through content. This week, it’s GE Capital and Slate magazine, with an in-depth look at Flying Food Group, the middle-market business that keeps the nation’s air travelers in chicken cordon bleu.

When Slate and GE Capital decided to partner on a multi-month campaign called The Roadshow for Growth, they had no idea they’d wind up writing about airline food. But a willingness to experiment is what makes the partnership work. “Both advertisers and content creators need to be able to take risks” to make a content campaign effective, says Lindsay Nelson, the VP for Integrated Programs at Slate. “Publishers need to be able to color outside the lines a little bit, and not just the give the client what they want but what they need.”

Slate found a willing partner in GE Capital. “GE Capital has been adamant that they want us to be the expert in the spaces that we know,” said Nelson. That means editorially interesting stories that raise awareness of middle market companies – which also happen to be GE Capital’s core customer base.

Nelson works with GE Capital to come up with broad themes to cover (think Job Creation, Competitiveness etc.) and then has a team of writers come up with specific story ideas based on the theme. She get’s about 20 pitches on each theme, and picks 10 to turn into full-length stories. What’s nice, she says, is that GE Capital trusts her team to create content that’s both interesting and relevant.

“The more flexible (a brand) can be, the more responsibility (it) can cede to a publishing partner.. and the more they can use data and experience to optimize the content in real time,” she told me.

Which is where the chicken cordon bleu comes in. Flying Food Group is a story of middle-market success, but what GE Capital published is anything but boring business speak. They key, says Nelson is finding the hook that highlights middle market businesses, but can appeal to a larger audience as well. And who doesn’t have an opinion on airplane food?

All of which fits into GE Capital’s greater goals. “They’re positioning themselves as an advocate for a section of the economy that gets no attention… and happens to be their core customer base” says Nelson. “(The stories) allow them also to have conversations with customers that are not just sales oriented – which is invaluable when you consider that the retention or acquisition of one customer would make this whole program demonstrably worthwhile.”

Read the whole story here: Airplane Food: Who’s Really Behind That Chicken Cordon Bleu Served at 30,000 Feet?

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