Remember when every brand was racing to get on Twitter? While its numbers continue to grow, for most companies, Tumblr remains an unexplored frontier. Some guesses at why: People are confused by what it is exactly. They’re not sure how to translate their product into a blog — let alone one that expands, rather than weakens, their brand. Communicating with your community can be intimidating. But in spite of the challenges, there are some people out there doing it right. After the jump, we’ll look at 10 big brands on Tumblr, and tell you whether or not we think they deserve a follow.
Ann Taylor Loft
In April of this year, Ann Taylor’s Loft brand launched Live Love Loft, its first blog. Here’s where they were extremely smart: They hired Jessica Schroeder, who already had already built a strong following with her own blog What I wore, to guest edit for the first month, ensuring both quality and audience. Our only critique: Live Love Loft is no longer around. Bring it back!
Note: In other Ann Taylor/Tumblr news, we’re currently co-sponsoring a project with them called The Smartest Thing She’s Ever Said. We’re obviously biased, but it’s a cool rotating gallery/chain story that’s definitely worth checking out.
Comedy Central’s Tumblr goes way beyond just promoting their own content (unlike, say Travel Channel) and instead aims to cover the comedy scene at large. Among the things we learned during a recent visit: the meaning of the word “scilf” (think Stephen Colbert-related) and where to buy a pair of Mystery Science Theater 3000 cufflinks.
Sure, a blog that’s basically just a mix of new music videos, news updates on artists, and a few free downloads isn’t exactly innovative. But when you consider the fact that EMI is one of the only major record labels attempting to figure out what’s up with Tumblr, you’ve got to give them credit for at least trying. (From the looks of it, Universal, one of the only other labels on Tumblr, abandoned ship a while ago.)
While we’re not surprised that a tech-savvy brand like FourSquare knows how to handle itself on Tumblr, it is refreshing to see a company offer up exactly what its audience is looking for: advice on how to better use and enjoy its product. From tech-specific tips to reminders on how Mayorships work, we can see why if you’re Foursquare obsessed, you’d want to add this one to your RSS feed.
IBM first launched A Smarter Planet back in the fall of 2009 as part of an initiative put forth by its CEO, Sam Palmisano. The gist: if we’re all interconnected, we’ll be able to find better solutions to shared global problems ranging from gridlocked cities to poor health care. While we’re not sure a Tumblr can live up to all of that, the site is nicely curated and updated frequently.
Iconic photography in an easy to scroll through format = instant follow.
When Mark Coatney, a senior editor at Newsweek (who incidentally, now works for Tumblr), launched the media company’s Tumblr, it was one of the first big publishers to sign on. Now it’s considered one of the best out there for a number of reasons; not only is it well-designed, but the editorial voice is smart and sassy — like the precocious younger sibling of the magazine version of the brand, thanks these two bloggers.
Full disclosure, Flavorpill is partnering with Standard Hotels on the launch of their new culture site. Doesn’t it look awesome? The idea is to deliver up culturally-relevant tidbits — from photo galleries featuring the work Bruce Weber, Steven Klein and Olivier Zahm to free downloadable playlists to event listings (curated by Flavorpill!) — that will appeal to the sophisticated urbanites who love the brand.
Clean design. NSFW photos. Enough said.
On the opposite end of the sexy spectrum we have Woman’s Day’s Things My Mom Never Told Me, a Tumblr that spins the magazine’s content to appeal to an 18 to 30 demographic — or in other words, the next generation of readers. While it’s not exactly our cup of tea, we love that they’re trying something different, and it’s definitely a useful site, especially if you’re a sucker for easy-to-digest tips on everything from beauty (“4 Steps to Perfectly Groomed Eyebrows”) to nutrition (“4 Exceptionally Nutritious Nuts”).