In today’s society, consumers search for information online, use word of mouth (WOM) referrals from friends, peers or networks and as a whole, don’t trust advertisements. So how do companies and/or brands grab their attention in this cluttered market?
Companies need to know their audience. What is the insight into their target market that they can connect to, as in:
- What is the lifestyle that sets them apart
- What is their opinions
- What is important to them, ie family, money, lifestyle balance, image
- What do they do in the ‘free’ time.
The more companies know about their target market, they can develop tactics or campaigns that will grab the attention of the target market, make a connection with them so that they will purchase the product.
But once the companies know their target market, they also need to think outside the boxand use the insight to be able to make that engaging strategy that stands out from the crowd. Consumers want to engage with brands as a way of finding out more information on the product or brand.
Two companies that have thought outside the box in developing tactics that will enhance the value of their brands while being consistent with their messageing and other marketing channels are Heineken and Coke.
Heineken with their slogan ‘made to entertain’ use sponsorship of major events as part of their marketing strategy, and they use that strategy well. Take for example an event they developed for the AC Milan and Real Madrid football game.
These fans are fanatical and love their football (soccer) and the game is part of their life/lifestyle. Heineken created an event that was engaging but also a little different so it was able to get fantastic viral media coverage as well. Heineken knew their audience, thought outside the box to add value to their normal sponsorship of the football match and was successful in making a connection with their audience.
Coke or Coca Cola is a unique brand in that the majority of consumers are aware of it. Coke has been consistent with their messaging ‘Open happiness’, ‘creates life’ etc to build a relationship with their target audience. The inclusion of the happiness machine in their marketing strategy adds value to their campaign and creates a connection to their target market, in this case, university students.
The Happiness machine is about engaging with their audience in a way that their target market thinks positively towards Coke and when they think about soft drink next, they will have Coke front of mind.
Not all companies have the budget for events such as Heineken and Coke do, but it is not always about the money being spent, what it is really about, is how can that company engage with their audience on a level that the audience will connect with and keep their brand front of mind. Advertising is not obsolete but companies need to use advertising as one part of their marketing strategy, with the main aim being engagement and adding value and synergy to each communication channel.