When it comes to marketing, change is the name of the game. The most successful brands are not those that stick to their guns and never change; instead, they adapt to what the audience wants, doesn’t want; likes and dislikes.
Of course, big brands don’t always get it right. For every successful social media campaign and well-timed Google Ad, there are Twitter rants and marketing misfires.
While it may not make you the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos (overnight, at least), you can help your business to grow if you:
Let’s take a deeper look at these four tips:
Your brand is more than a marketing tool, it is the way people perceive your company. More than just to sell things, the most successful companies have created a distinctive brand identity that resonates with their demographic. This means associating your business with a clear characteristic that sets you apart from competitors.
Nike and Apple, for example, have become two of the most recognisable brands, establishing strong brand identities that have resonated with millions. Nike’s transition from shoe company to athletic and lifestyle brand have made them synonymous with performance and the world of sport, while Apple encourages their customers to ‘Think Different’ through its focus on luxury and innovation. Both companies have transitioned from high street retailer to celebrity brand, a journey which had very little to do with the actual product.
In your rush to make something cool and unique, it’s easy to forget who you’re doing it for. Never-mind how good your brand looks, if your business doesn’t resonate with its target audience, you will quickly empty your pockets through your attempts to appeal to everyone.
Tailor your image around your target audience, ensuring all your content, messaging and advertising, speaks to your specific audience.
A good example is American food retailer, Taco Bell. Their produce targets a youthful demographic, something that is represented through the tone of their adverts and their fun and colourful social posts. A petition was submitted in 2015 for a taco emoji, which was not only successful but easily demonstrated their connection with the younger generation.
Social media is a key tool in engaging audiences. With the majority of modern consumers scrolling through Facebook and Twitter feeds at an impressive speed, businesses have to try hard to grab audiences’ attention.
This focus can prove successful, and sometimes not. The popularity of Facebook and Twitter fluctuates dramatically, with negative attitudes always enhanced online. This is the same within the business world, with some of the world’s biggest brands delivering some of the world’s biggest blunders.
The beauty brand, Dove, is a key example, with their controversial ‘RealBeauty Bottle Shape’ campaign which they’d intended to inspire body diversity, but instead inciting criticism. Other examples include McDonalds and their Donald Trump Twitter rant, which aimed at the president’s “little hands” and clearly injured the business’ objectivity.
Despite these misfires, tactics that big brands employ on social media still have demonstrable success. Brands such as GoPro and Spotify have engaged customers through User Generated Content (UGC), pushing the customer into the spotlight. This ranges from sharing customers’ positive product experiences on socials, to bringing customers into digital campaigns, such as Disney and Coca Cola’s successful #ShareYourEars and #ShareYourCoke.
What big brands continuously do well is blurring that line between brand and audience. Some do this through UGC while others start as small as posting staff pictures on LinkedIn or offering discounts through branded hashtags.
Thanks to smartphones and search engines, it’s become easier than ever to search for the things we want. As a result, businesses have to actively participate and assist the customer in making their decision, and to do so before competitors.
Advertising has evolved over the years, from printed ads in the Yellow Pages to digital advertisements on Google and social media. Digital advertising has become an important tool in boosting brand awareness, bringing your product in front of the customer - sometimes before the customer is even aware of it.
Businesses typically utilise two types of digital advertising: Facebook Ads and Google Ads. While essentially doing the same job, they are used in decidedly different ways. No-one scrolls through Facebook hoping to find an advertisement for a “local plumber”, so naturally, the intent to purchase is pretty low. As a result, the ads tend to have a slight creative pull. For example, instant messaging service, Slack, utilises eye-catching visuals and contrasting colours to direct attention to their Facebook Ads.
Considering its placement, Google Ads target those who have searched for a specific product or audience e.g. “local plumber in Richmond”. These ads are specifically important in capturing people when they are ready to make a purchase, so they tend to drive people towards an immediate sale. Discount brand, Groupon, uses discount offers and deadlines in their ads to quicken the process.
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When defining a successful business, there is more to it than having a high turnover. Yes, Facebook and Amazon have made Zuckerberg and Bezos rich and famous, but this didn’t happen overnight.
Getting your name out there through online advertising and social media will not only help your business grow, but also help you understand your audience better.
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