meet the greatest example of content marketing of all time – WAU

What do you mean by content marketing? If you thought about videos, newsletters, social networks, blog articles and downloadable materials, you are right. But this is the modern view of the topic, which takes into account only the digital elements that we use in content marketing strategies today. What you […]

What do you mean by content marketing?

If you thought about videos, newsletters, social networks, blog articles and downloadable materials, you are right.

But this is the modern view of the topic, which takes into account only the digital elements that we use in content marketing strategies today.

What you probably don’t know is that long before the term content marketing existed, the concept behind it was already in use – and with great success!

An example of this is the Michelin Guide, which was created more than 100 years ago.

Are you curious to know the story behind this guide?

So let’s go back in time and understand what the Michelin Guide it’s so special!

What is the Michelin Guide

O Michelin Guide it was launched with the aim of offering quality information to car drivers in London at the end of the 19th century, when there were only 3,000 vehicles in the country.

The rich information about hotels and restaurants served as an exploration guide for travelers – who, in doing so, would use their cars a lot and spend more on tires (the company’s main product).

Over time, the guide gained popularity – as did automobiles – and expanded to other countries.

Today the Michelin Guide, with its star rating system, is the world’s most respected publication in ranking of high quality hotels and restaurants.

The story behind the Michelin Guide

The year is 1900. The London brand led by brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin has been in existence for 12 years and is recognized as an innovative company in the field of bicycle tires.

But with the twentieth century approaching and the auto market still in its infancy, they decide it is time to take the next step: making tires for cars.

How to generate demand for a product that is still so new, with only 3,000 cars running across London? Creating content to help drivers use their new cars well!

The 1st edition of the guide had 35 thousand copies and was distributed for free. It contained maps, information about restaurants and tips on how to plan trips.

The guide was a success and continued to be launched in the following years, in ever-increasing runs – in addition to expanding to other countries in Europe and, finally, to the rest of the world.

From 1920, some radical changes defined the future of the guide, which was already a success: the publication stopped showing ads and started to be sold.

The restaurant section, the most popular with readers, received more space, and a team of critics began to visit the establishments in secret to assess the experiences and report them in the guide.

In 1926, they started to give a star to restaurants that had an incredible experience and, 10 years later, they started to adopt the famous 3-star system, used until today.

We have reached the present day.

The printed guide continues to be published in several countries, firm and strong as the largest reference for recommending top quality hotels and restaurants in the world.

But the guide is also on the internet, with functions for locating and booking in the highlighted establishments.

3 benefits of Michelin Guide for the brand

O Michelin Guide it was not an empty project, but it brought – and continues to bring, more than a century after its creation – great benefits for the company.

In fact, the guide has never been more popular and reliable, so much so that it continues to grow in reach and popularity.

See 3 benefits that the brand achieved with the guide, both in the past and in the present:

1. Educate the market

Michelin’s mission was not an easy one: making the transition to a changing market, generating demand for a segment that is still small, but that would clearly be the future of transportation worldwide.

It was necessary to educate prospective customers and generate demand for the product that the company offered, and the guide was the perfect way to offer all the information that people needed.

In fact, can you think why the Michelin brothers published 35,000 copies of the guide, more than 10 times the number of cars in the country?

The idea was not only to educate those who already had a vehicle, but also those who wished to have one!

2. Establish yourself as an authority

Important decisions have been made since the initial version of the guide, all of which have succeeded in placing Michelin as a tourism authority.

Choices like abandoning the ads and selling the guides, placing critics to evaluate the sites more carefully and focusing on the most relevant content for the public were right and increased the strength of the guide.

3. Become a historic case worldwide

The guide’s case is extolled worldwide as one of the greatest examples of content marketing in history.

Think about what this means in terms of branding for the company.

It is likely that, after reading this post, you and many others will never see the brand the same way again or remember it whenever you have to change your car tire.

The return of this type of advertising, in particular, is impossible to measure, but you can be sure that it helps Michelin to remain one of the largest and most respected tire manufacturers in the world.

Because the Michelin Guide is one of the greatest examples of content marketing of all time

It seems a strong statement to speak of this as one of the greatest examples of all time, especially with so many impressive cases emerging every day.

But there is no better description than this to talk about the Michelin Guide, and we will explain the reasons:

Centennial relevance

The relevance of the guide and, consequently, the brand has lasted for more than 1 century.

What other marketing action do you know that has remained stable and has brought results for so long?

By producing content when nobody thought to do it, Michelin went so far ahead that it reaps the benefits of it so much later. And you shouldn’t stop harvesting anytime soon …

Social long before the internet

If asked about a marketing channel that is consulted by demanding consumers from around the world and disputed by the main tourist and gastronomic establishments in the world, what would you say?

Maybe answer Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor or similar.

They are all acceptable answers for our day.

But let’s change the question a bit and ask for such a marketing channel 100 years ago.

The situation changes a lot, doesn’t it?

This shows how the Michelin Guide it was already social (a lot) before the emergence of the internet.

3 stars that change lives

The 3 stars of the guide can literally change lives. It is not an exaggeration!

The publication’s evaluation criteria are extremely demanding, and receiving such an evaluation can make any restaurant explode with success.

The reverse is also true: losing a star can represent a huge decline in prestige and sales.

Want an example?

In 2003, chef Bernard Loiseau committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

The reason was the extreme pressure he suffered due to rumors (that’s right, rumors) that his restaurant would lose its 3-star rating.

A tragic case that shows the incredible power of the guide in influencing the consumer who accompanies him.

4 lessons you can learn from Michelin Guide

In the midst of the digital transformation era, it is impressive to see how a product launched so long ago is still such a success and draws so much attention.

It would be a waste to speak of Michelin Guide and don’t take any valuable lessons that can help any current content strategy.

So here are the main ones:

1. Content marketing doesn’t have to be obvious

The guide did not offer information on how to repair vehicles or anything. Your brand message does not need to be directly linked to the product you sell.

2. Relevance is more important than promotion

Quality content was what elevated the guide to the status it achieved today, not promotions of tires or materials about its superior quality.

3. Content marketing is a strategy that takes time

The brothers knew that it would take time for the guide to give results, and even so they set out to create it with the highest possible quality. It worked!

4. Assessing what works is essential

Highlighting the restaurants and removing the ads gave the seriousness and depth that the guide lacked to become the reference it is today.

O Michelin Guide proves important points:

Innovating and putting aside what everyone else does is always the best way out, and establishing yourself as an authority brings great results.

But above all, it proves that content marketing is not a passing trend, but a strategy that works for a long time.

The incredible example of Michelin Guide shows how content marketing is a long-term strategy.

Despite everything changing fast in the digital world, see why this is not a bad thing!