Content-Marketing Barbie: Authentic Storytelling Lessons from a Plastic World

content marketing barbie - cursive content marketing
When I was little, I had every Barbie doll imaginable. Ice Capades Barbie? Check. Magic Makeup Barbie? Of course. Hollywood Hair Barbie? Duh. It was the 80s.
But even I could have never dreamed up the Barbie of my adult dreams: Content Marketing Barbie. Yes, the doll who is simultaneously a doctor, a police woman and a rock star is now also using engaging content to make all her dreams come true.
OK, so Content Marketing Barbie is not a real thing (or believe me, she would top my grown-up Christmas list), but Barbie content marketing is. And that’s close enough for me.
The Barbie brand is now using content marketing to show global fans that life in plastic, it’s fantastic. Barbie is successfully creating fabulous original content and using social media to reach her audiences young and old.
Using social media is nothing new for the Barbie brand. Back in 2011, Barbie received lots of attention when she rekindled her love affair with Ken on social media after the duo’s high-profile breakup in 2004.

Since then, Barbie’s social influence has continued to grow. From Entrepreneur Barbie kicking corporate butt on LinkedIn to Fashionista Barbie traveling the world on Instagram, Barbie knows how tell a compelling story.
So what can brands learn from Barbie, the social media butterfly?

1. Create context, not just content.

Barbie’s social media accounts exist within larger Barbie brand narratives. For example, during the fall 2014 global fashion weeks, the Barbie Style Instagram account chronicled Barbie’s behind-the-scenes access to the hottest shows and designers. Barbie traveled from New York to Paris and back again, giving fans a plastic-eye-view of the latest fashion trends – some of which were even Barbie-sized.
This approach, and the overall inspiring fashion showcased on this Instagram account, demonstrates the sophisticated, timeless side of the brand. It’s reaching an older audience, one that perhaps still holds fond childhood memories of Barbie but has grown up and away from the iconic doll. It’s highlighting a completely new narrative for Barbie, yet one that feels genuine to the core brand.
The takeaway: Make your brand relevant by showcasing how your brand story fits within the larger context of your audiences’ needs and interests. Don’t just tell your audiences what your brand is all about – show them. Make it real and authentic.
barbie style instagram
(image: Barbie Style Instagram)

2. Know your audience.

Yes, ok, Barbies are dolls for children. However, the Barbie brand aims to transcend age. And the brand is successful at doing so because it knows its audiences and provides audience-appropriate brand content.
The Barbie LinkedIn page is a great example. This is a professional platform, and Barbie knows it. No Malibu Beach Barbie here. Instead, Barbie describes herself: “I got my big break in 1959 to inspire girls to dream big. Since then I’ve had 150+ careers, but my true calling remains – encourage generations of girls to place no limitations on their ambitions.”  She’s appealing to women entrepreneurs, promoting her work and the work of other strong female business leaders.
The takeaway: Shift your brand story to fit your audience. While you can have one overarching brand positioning, it should be flexible enough to allow you to highlight different aspects depending on the specific audience – and platform.


3. Don’t start – or stop – the story on social.

Barbie Style is the Instagram account for, a website that not only sells collectible and current Barbie dolls, but also provides Barbie brand and product news and an active community for Barbie aficionados. Here, fans can chat, share photos and get information on sales and events.
It’s a strong content hub that houses lots of original content yet also has its own robust presence on Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and of course Instagram. It’s the centerpiece for Barbie Style and again, it’s appealing to an older audience than the main site.
The takeaway: Social is not the place to tell the whole story. While the Barbie Style Instagram account is in itself a compelling narrative, it all links back to a larger hub of information and the ever-important ability to purchase products. Take a lesson from Barbie, and don’t focus solely on the social platform. Instead, use those social platforms to drive audiences to the REAL story – and the place where they can take meaningful action. content marketing
Barbie may be plastic, but her content is anything but fake. If you’d like to take a lesson from this brand icon and bring your brand story from dull to fabulous, we can help. Check out our Script Your Story sessions, or connect with me over on LinkedIn.


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