'There isn't anything new about what we're helping people to do' my colleague at Passle Adam Elgar told me. 'Take Michelin (tyre company) - they have been doing content marketing since the year 1900'.
He is right. Tyres are not the easiest product to market so the entrepreneur brothers André and Édouard Michelin had to think a bit differently on how best to sell them. They came up with a restaurant guide. Not only did talking about great food and service at restaurants get people out using their cars (and therefore tyres) it reflected amazingly well on their brand and products. It still does.
Michelin continue to advise their potential customers about restaurants, hotels and travel in order to sell them tyres. Now, one hundred and fifteen years later the Michelin Guide - and the prestigious 3 stars it awards to only the very best restaurants - means that the tyre brand is mentioned pretty much every day via all forms of media all over the world. Now that's content marketing!
When your restaurant is awarded a Michelin Star, it is a sign that you've succeeded at the highest level as a chef. Two Stars and your restaurant is excellent. Three Stars and your restaurant is worth traveling to. And it's actually for that last reason, traveling, that the Michelin brothers Ándre and Édouard started the Michelin Guide in 1900. The French entrepreneurs had started a tire company 11 years earlier, and they decided that a ratings guide for hotels and restaurants would compel the limited number of drivers to use up their tires and buy more.