14 Brands Who Owned Tumblr This Year

If you’ve been paying attention to Tumblr, you may have noticed the micro-blogging platform and social networking website has been making some tech headlines recently.

On November 25, the Global Web Index announced Tumblr surpassed Instagram as the fastest growing social platform. According to their research, Tumblr’s active user base has grown astoundingly 120% within the last six months. GWI has also found that Tumblr, along with Instagram, have the youngest users. In fact, 70% of Tumblr users are under the age of 35.

This wasn’t the only news regarding Tumblr, either. Around the same time, Tumblr announced they would be introducing a mobile-only ad unit called “Tumblr Sponsored Apps.” The idea behind this initiative is to use creative posts to drive Tumblr users to either Google Play or iTunes.

Tumblr also introduced a “buy” button similar to what Facebook and Twitter have done in the past. Tumblr’s button will be placed in the top right corner of posts and will only connect to four sites: Artsy, Etsy, Do Something, and Kickstarter.

What does this all mean for you?

Screen Shot of Tumblr 12/5/14

There’s a lot of potential for brands and marketers when it comes to Tumblr. In fact, it’s been that way ever since Yahoo acquired the service in May, 2013. And while some brands – like these 21 brands – have been owning Tumblr for well over a year now, a number of other brands have proven how powerful and awesome Tumblr can be through original and innovative story-telling.

To see how you can use Tumblr to your advantage and tap into the Millennial market, check out what the following 14 brands have done in the last year.

Screen Shot of IBM Innovation Culture + Tumblr = IBMblr 12/5/14

How much does IBM love Tumblr? The brand actually calls its Tumblr blog IBMblr. Creative title aside, IBM has a colorful and informative Tumblr account that does the impossible. It makes learning complex subjects fun through animated visuals and GIFs.

For example, take a look at the Ninjas vs. Superbugs page. Essentially, this was IBM’s way of explaining what certain superbugs, like MRSA, can do the human body, and how IBM is attempting to fight them off. IBM also created the How to Not Work Smart page that features a number of counterproductive work techniques.

In short, IBM uses Tumblr to explain everything they’re working on in an informative, educational, and fun way that also engages its fans – they created the Play Machine this past year out of gears, electronics, 3D printed plastics and popcorn that “responded in real-time to the likes, follows and reblogs of our Innovation Through PLAY content.”

Screen Shot of Red Bull Handcrafted Tumblr 12/5/14

I really like how Red Bull keeps its Tumblr page clean, simple and organized by breaking it into four content categories; Play, Fly, Create, and Inspire. Within each category, Red Bull delivers a perfect blend of photos, GIFs, videos, and pop culture that tie into the brand’s overall message

For example, the Play channel includes everything from action sports to people submitting clever images of Red Bull cans. The Fly channel features skateboarding, surfing, skydiving, and even some old-school images of the originators of extreme sports. Create includes some amazing artwork from fans and a little bit of branding. Finally, Inspire contains amazing images and motivational quotes.

Screen Shot of From Out of the Blue by Tiffany & Co. Tumblr 12/5/14

The official Tumblr for Tiffany & Co., titled “Into the Blue,” is a great example of how to showcase your products. The blog is clean, simple and features the brand’s products on celebrities, models, and even against season backgrounds. The brand currently has a GIF of a Tiffany & Co. box being wrapped with the tagline “Tis the season for Tiffany”.

Under each image or GIF, the brand also includes links to its official shopping page so you can purchase the featured item. I also like how the company promotes other platforms on its Tumblr page. For example, the brand just hosted its first Google Hangout and later posted the video onto YouTube. Guess where else you can watch the clip?

Screen Shot of General Electric Tumblr 12/5/14

Just like IBM, GE uses Tumblr to help explain what exactly the company does by breaking it into categories like Moving, Curing, Powering, Building, and Badass Machines. So, what exactly can you expect in these pages? Moving, for example, is currently focused on jet engines. The content for this subject is broken into videos and animation that provide facts and detail how exactly jet engines work.

GE also features retro images and videos, such as a photo from 1941 that show a very unique electric flying suit. GE also shares stories from employees and welcomes submission from followers – there’s a convenient submission tab in clear view.

Huffington Post

Screen Shot of Huffington Post Tumblr 12/5/14

Huffington Post has an advantage most other brands don’t – it’s all-encompassing and doesn’t have to focus on a product or service. That may sound like a disaster waiting to happen, but HuffPo pulls it off nicely.

The Tumblr account uses GIFs, inspiring images, and graphs to grab your attention on the latest news, trends or recipes. If you like the teaser, then you can click on the link and view the full story on the brand’s official website. A current example would be using a GIF of the character Eric Matthews from “Boy Meets World” to announce he will be featured in the second season of the spinoff “Girl Meets World.”

Screen Shot of Barbour Tumblr 12/5/14

Currently, Barbour has been using Tumblr to celebrate its 120th anniversary. The brand accomplishes this by having a sleek layout that doesn’t really resemble a Tumblr blog and features important figures and products that have helped shape the brand. Barbour has also been asking its customers to share their memories from over the years.

Another interesting feature is the simple drop down menu that takes you to either its official site, the latest seasonal collection, or a page featuring customers. Overall, Barbour does an excellent job of maintaining its reputation of producing quality craftsmanship while embracing a younger demographic.

Screen Shot of Denny’s Diner Tumblr 12/5/14

Denny’s relies on Tumblr to give its audience a more lighthearted and casual vibe through goofy images. For example, don’t be surprised if you see an stop-motion video of a pancake fortifying a Denny’s booth because there are no locks on the doors or an image of a mermaid with bacon as a tail. This use of visual humor is really effective when used correctly on social media – think of Taco Bell’s awesome and humorous approach.

While there’s a ton of content, it comes together very nicely. In fact, the layout looks like a table at Denny’s complete with a cup of coffee, order slip, and receipt with links for other relevant pages.

Screen Shot of Kate Spade New York Timblr 12/5/14

Kate Spade is a brand that is not only active, but effective on almost every social media channel. On Tumblr, the brand highlights its latest fashion products, as well as lifestyle images that its fans may find appealing – such as cooking and cocktail recipes. Other content includes videos, like holiday films starring Anna Kendrick, and behind the scenes looks.

This vibrant and whimsical blog also makes it easy for fans to locate its shop – there’s an easy-to-find “shop” button on the top, right-hand corner – as well as links to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Screen Shot of Disney-Pixar Tumblr 12/5/14

The official Disney-Pixar Tumblr blog is a great example of how brands should approach Tumblr. It focuses mainly on visual content – which isn’t that difficult since we’re talking about Pixar. However, it is what accompanies this visual content that illustrates how effective the brand is using Tumblr.

The content includes early sketches of iconic characters, facts from the artists behind the movies, behind the scenes looks, and even inspirational quotes. Somehow throughout all of these nostalgic and heartwarming images and GIFs, Pixar is also able to promote things like upcoming television specials in a completely seamless way.

Screen Shot of M.A.C. Tumblr 12/5/14

What makes this Tumblr interesting is that it utilizes a scrolling image feature to give more of a magazine feel. So, if you wanted to check out the backstage images of the Broadway production of Disney’s Aladdin, you could just scroll through previews of that album without leaving the main Tumblr page.

M.A.C. Cosmetics also uses Tumblr to share videos and run contests. Even with these unique features, M.A.C. is able to maintain a clean and stylish page that matches well with the image of the brand.

Screen Shot of NPR Fresh Air Tumblr 12/5/14

NPR’s Fresh Air Tumblr page pretty much does everything right. There’s the beautiful “Photo of the Day” feature, intriguing images, retro photos, and GIFs that tease you into listening to a full story NPR.org.

Fresh Air also includes its Podcast Playlist, along with video and audio files. In short, it’s amazing how well this Peabody Award-winning radio show has embraced the visual aspect of Tumblr to make an impressive online presence.

Screen Shot of Now You’re Cooking Tumblr 12/5/14

Kitchen appliance Electrolux created the “Now You’re Cooking” Tumblr to share its passion of food with fans. The blog begins with the Guide to Good Food, which contains a number of film recipes for viewers to try at home. There’s also the Beautiful Things section which contains images and animation that show everything from a completed meal to someone making freshly squeezed juice.

On top of all these intriguing and high-quality images, Electrolux also manages to sneak in links to other Tumblr pages that highlight the products that help you “cook like a pro”.

Screen Shot of Calvin Klein Tumblr 12/5/14

Whether it’s behind the scenes looks, runway shots, retro image,s or half-naked models showing off the latest CK products, the Calvin Klein Tumblr blog is another example of how a brand can use Tumblr to perfection. The layout is sleek and minimalist, just like the iconic black and white images CK is famous for.

Overall, this account has been designed to match CK’s well-known image.

Screen Shot of Hello, Cereal Lovers 12/5/14

While brands like CK and Pixar have an easy to execute approach on Tumblr, how exactly does a cereal company capture the attention of Tumblr viewers? General Mills figured it out, and the result is their Hello, Cereal Lovers page – which is “all cereal, all the time”. Their success is accomplished in part by asking community members to contribute content that involves only cereal.

This could mean a GIF tying cereal into an upcoming holiday, sharing delicious recipe,s or posting creative DIY projects that contain old cereal boxes. The brand also contributes by adding fun and original content that actually gets people excited about cereal. Impressive.

Are there any brands that you  follow on Tumblr that deserve special mention? Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image: Tumblr, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons