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Mission Control / Strategy

Master Class: Marketing Lessons from 4 Best-in-Class Brands

Year after year, these four companies manage to raise the bar for marketing teams everywhere. Learn how to use their marketing strategy to inspire your own.

Master Class

By Paul Peterson

The Ritz-Carlton: Elevating the User Experience

The luxury hotel company recently unveiled a comprehensive redesign of its 100-plus websites that taps into the brand’s reputation for delivering unforgettable experiences and legendary service. With Casual Astronaut’s help, the new websites were envisioned to offer sophisticated, engaging digital platforms and promise a seamless experience for users. The sites’ typography is a subtle nod to the brand’s collectible key cards, while video components enhance the experience by transporting guests to unique destinations around the world, and the integration of editorial content with conversion points provides a seamless pathway from planning to booking.

The takeaway: Use restraint when it comes to design. Typography, visuals and longer-form content should be used strategically to support the user experience, not detract from it.

Subaru: Content that Highlights Brand Values

Historically, public outdoor spaces like the U.S. National Park System haven’t been very welcoming to communities such as ethnic minorities and people with disabilities, but the National Park Foundation’s largest corporate donor, Subaru of America, is helping to change the narrative about who belongs in the outdoors. A recent campaign documents Emmy-nominated deaf actor Keivonn Woodard as he travels to Yosemite National Park with his dad. The pair, who are Black, use ASL to communicate as they hike to a waterfall.

The takeaway: Highlighting your brand’s commitment to social change can foster brand loyalty, especially among Millennial and Gen Z consumers. But be sure you’re walking the talk before you start touting a commitment to a cause or giving back — 72% of people are tired of brands pretending they want to help society when they just want to make money.

Marriott Bonvoy: Simplified Travel Planning for a Global Audience

There are a dizzying 35 brands under the Marriott umbrella, totaling over 7,300 hotels spread out across a whopping 131 countries. The brands vary across the board, ranging from opulent hotels around the globe to affordable, extended-stay accommodations within North America. By creating a singular rewards program, Marriott Bonvoy™, and an app that encompass each of these distinct properties, Marriott has managed to morph into an owned online travel agency of sorts. Bolstered by destination-centric content and immersive itineraries, Marriott Bonvoy integrates inspiration, planning and booking tools into one easy-to-use hub.

The takeaway: Consider integrating compelling content throughout your site rather than keeping it siloed off in a separate blog or content hub. High-quality editorial content builds trust with the consumer while also offering useful information that can drive conversions.

The Ford Foundation: Making Philanthropy More Accessible

As a decades-old organization with a recognizable family name, the Ford Foundation’s name alone conjures images of charity auctions in swanky hotel ballrooms — but a visit to the foundation’s website invokes just the opposite. The branding, site design and longform news stories merge to create a website that is thoroughly modern and remarkably engaging. But perhaps most notable is what you won’t find on the foundation’s website: prominent donor profiles or headlines written around a dollar amount. In their place are deeply reported news stories, eye-catching illustrations and photography, and a focus on the impact of the money they raise, rather than on the money itself. And a bonus? Clear and concise copy that explains concepts like endowments, governance policies and financial statements in layman’s terms.

The takeaway: Think outside your industry when it comes to website design and content strategy — take inspiration from magazine and news outlets, browse consumer product sites and click on the ads you see on Instagram. Evaluate content from a journalist’s perspective: What’s the hook? Why does this matter? Why should people care?

Elevate Your Marketing

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Paul Peterson
Paul Peterson Chief Client Officer

Paul oversees client service at Casual Astronaut, working with our account management team to shape content and digital marketing strategies for clients. His nearly 20-year career in marketing and public relations ranges from healthcare to hospitality, consumer products to government relations, high-tech communications to entertainment. Paul’s worked with brands such as Nike, Disney, Johns Hopkins and Cleveland Clinic to build measurable, audience-engagement strategies.

A father to two boys, Paul usually spends his weekends at flag football games, chess tournaments, bowling leagues and coaching soccer (all of which may happen in the same Saturday). And when snow starts to fall in the mountains, he looks for any excuse to hit the slopes.

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