by Karolyn Hart
Once upon a time there was a world that allowed advertisers the ability to craft a message, develop a brand, deliver it in one of three mediums (radio, print, tv) and absolutely influence the consumer decision. In fact, so simple was the world, that an agency could actually pitch an entire campaign to that brand, up front, and win their portfolio on that one pitch. For today’s marketers that idea is laughable and history. That world dissipated with the arrival of the internet and the world has never been the same since.
Today, to the dismay of some advertisers still living in the past, the consumer is in complete control of their brand. The wise brand manager now understands that consumers can make or break a brand based on the virility of the message they are sending.
I’ve spent the last week reviewing various case studies on social media, reading the latest online trends, and searching for the “key” that will allow me to really hit my marketing plans out of the park this year – and I believe I’ve found the magic key. Ready for it? It’s either very simple or complex depending on how you view it. Here it is…
That’s it. If you take a look at the brands or things that have had the most exposure and success over the last several years the one common theme is the experience was completely authentic. Whether it was young Justine Bieber strumming a guitar in downtown Stratford, the Harvard baseball team dancing in a van while travelling, or the entire world weighing in on Destiny’s Child performance at the Superbowl. In each case, authenticity rules supreme.
Now, for the brands that are honest this is absolutely fantastic news. If the product they have is superior, and they can authentically brag about what they do and how they do it – then the sky is the limit. The challenge is for those brands who don’t know how to articulate their unique differentiator or why they really are better than competition (because we know this is the reality in business).
All marketers understand that a brand is no longer formed on the advertisers claiming something, but rather the messaging simply resonates the truth of what they are offering.
For Christmas this year my brother and his wife created their own brand of seasoning for the family and they jokingly branded it “That’s not so bad!” As he put it, it’s not worth of being called “Helluva a good thing” but it’s useable. Their sense of humour about the product they created actually made us want to use it. It ends up that “That’s not so bad!” is actually pretty good and we’ve been using it on everything.
The lesson in this story is in the authenticity. Don’t be afraid to embrace your humour, who you are, and be realistic about what you have to offer. You may just end up with something really great for your marketing!