Marketing is a core part of any successful operation. But like all companies, you are forever carving out space to vie for your customer’s attention. The challenge consistently comes down to a question of how you can cut through the clutter and make yourself known to your market. The differentiating factor is that successful marketing is not just about showing what your product or service is, but it also needs to be bold and innovative in the way it communicates on your behalf. In order to achieve this, here are some key techniques that you can implement to add depth to your content, and pull ahead of the competition.
Quirkiness and humour
Everyone loves to laugh. Between the endorphins and smiles, a little humour goes a long way. Add this to your branding and your company will soon become associated with good vibes. This even has the power to strengthen the connection between the one that tells the joke (your brand) and the one who experiences the joy (your customer). Top companies like Nandos understand that humour increases engagement and have become famous for trolling other brands, and launching social and political commentary in a uniquely South African way. Following their lead, you too can harness brand equity with clever Tweets, Instagram photos and side-splitting blogs. When a consumer feels the humour they are more likely to engage, comment and share. The catch – you need to be funny. But if this feels natural to you or your marketing team, it can be a very effective communication tool.
This isn’t a new concept but has really been embraced by more and more companies lately. This comes down to a simple concept: Being human. By showing the personal side of your brand, people will start to become more connected to you, and will be more likely to trust you and what you are selling. Here, story sells your product. So if your brand has a reliable story to tell, it can be a very strategic to tell it. The story may be about those you are helping, it could be about how you source your product, it could even be about yourself and why you are in this business. The magic happens when people know you are helping, and by partnering with you on your quest, they in turn can feel good about themselves by supporting your business.
Addressing an important issue
Showing responsibility and aligning with an issue are good ways to position your product. With this in mind, many brands are dipping their toes into the social zeitgeist, and commenting on the times. Seen for example in the Always #LikeAGirl campaign. But remember that these are often hotly debated issues and can be risky. If you go this route, make sure you are well researched on the subject and are keeping up to date with this issue on a regular basis. Understand your audience through polls and market research and ensure that the selected social justice marketing fits snugly with your strategy, making it worth the budget investment and associated risks.
Start a conversation
If you can get this right, creating conversation can be massive in terms of garnering customer traction. To do this, you need to stay current. In South Africa this means that you need to be inclusive and think carefully about how various groups might read into the things you post and say. The skill here is to try and find ways to create conversation without taking sides, in an unbiased way. Heineken’s ‘Open your World’ campaign successfully achieved this.
Flip the narrative
Often really vital businesses fall into the cracks because they haven’t found a way to be relevant. Sharing dynamic stories around your unique solution is a clever way to increase brand visibility. For example, if you work in garbage collection, you can flip your offering by representing it as ‘green services’. If you work with unskilled labourers, you can shift focus to ‘essential workers’ or ‘social outreach’. By humanizing invisible positions in society, you can flip perception into memorable and heart-warming content. That in turn makes your brand noticeable and desirable.
The bottom line
You don’t need to be a big company to implement a bold marketing strategy. With these techniques in hand, you will be well on your way to making your mark on your industry. While each of these strategies involves some risk, it’s important to understand which one is right for your business. Once identified, you then need to spend time thinking carefully about how to build your brand identity around this mechanism, and watch your business grow.