Is your marketing strategy focused on corporate branding? It definitely should be. It is one of the best marketing techniques in my mind, hands down. The key to its success is the way to get people to talk about you and start the buzz. These are called marketing triggers and brand marketing examples will be the focus of this article. The best ones we can all learn from.
Check out our thoughts on creative marketing.
The first thing you need to know about brand marketing is this: generating consumers to talk about your business isn’t as random as you think. There’s a science to creating brand marketing buzz, and it’s something you can learn to do.
Related post: Branding Lessons Learned from the Beatles Brand
Remember, the main goal of your business is not just to create customers. It is to create customers who then will also create customers (that is, customer advocates). This is the perfect marketing solution for 99 % of all businesses and is why we believe brand marketing is one of your most important marketing campaign tools.
By being a little more clever and unpredictable, you challenge consumers who appreciate a little fun in their products and services.
Let’s examine some excellent ways others have created brand marketing interest. Many of these can be easily copied by your company.
Share stuff you already know works
The U.S. Department of the Interior has been using social media to show the world what they do. But instead of sharing content about policies and press releases, they share breathtaking landscape photos and videos of cute animals in the national parks they manage.
The department’s Senior Digital Strategist, Rebecca Matulka, says people often use their social posts to plan vacations or reminisce about past family trips to the parks. Their videos of bears alone get hundreds of retweets on Twitter.
If a governmental department can create content with cute animals and beautiful landscapes, you can connect to something people like to share, too.
At Catbird Creamery in Maine, when you order a conventional flavor, they’ll insist that you sample something a little more adventurous. And even if you’re going to order vanilla anyway, they want you to at least try the strawberry balsamic, or green tea ginger. Catbird knows that anyone can make a good vanilla, but what makes them stand out is helping their customers see all of the other fantastic flavors the brand also make.
They’re giving their customers an experience to talk about. Even if the customer doesn’t order the hot pepper flavor they just sampled, they will likely tell others they tried it.
Brand marketing examples … delight customers
Headsets.com sells headsets and phone accessories, but they are most likely remembered for adding Tootsie Rolls to every order they ship. It’s a great word of mouth tactic and they like feedback. They use it to do something even more special. When customers thank their operator for the Tootsie Rolls received in an order and mentioned their favorite flavor, you can guess that information is noted for the next time.
Little actions to surprise and delight your customers can easily be created all the time. Follow Headsets.com example and treat feedback like a well-oiled machine, carefully gathering the information and doing something about it every time.
Mobile Apps and Charmin
Think you can’t come up with a fun, creative and practical way to sell toilet paper? Charmin did. Although it’s not exactly social media, their app does make that-thing-that-shall-not-be-named a little easier, with mapped out directions to all the restrooms in a given area. Not surprisingly, you can rate the public restrooms through the app as to whether they’re “Sit” (like) or “Squat” (dislike).
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for an iPhone programmer to create an app. Online template-based services like Seattle Clouds make it easy for anyone to point and click their way to a custom app using a variety of layouts and setups. The resulting app can be used on Amazon Kindle, Apple iPhone and iPad and Android devices, so you’re covered no matter which device your target audience uses.
Are you mysterious? Do you think you can be? We looked at how people delight in the puzzle-solving aspect of pattern recognition. Now, let’s go a bit deeper and explore what drives this pattern seeking behavior: curiosity.
Great storytellers know how to turn an ordinary event—say, a trip to the grocer—into a suspenseful one by withholding information. In new relationships, flirtation often involves some element of playful teasing, whether through conversation or more sensual revelations.
And newsrooms have made a science out of crafting irresistible headlines: “Your PC might be infected!” or “Are you prepared for the tax law changes?”
We are captivated by unanswered questions. So try and put this mystery to good use
Corporate branding examples … Target’s view
Target does a great job creating a Life and Entertainment-style online magazine with great tips on recipes, fashion, and tips on managing major life events like back-to-school and the holidays. They bring their bold brand and fashion on a budget approach to life with the stories they tell. With tips like 9 Ramen Hacks For Your College Dorm, how could they go wrong?
Be like Target and focus on serving your audience and bringing your brand to life in an authentic and engaging way.
Corporate branding … make people feel special
Comodo restaurant in New York encourages customers to snap pictures of their meals and contribute them to an “Instagram Menu” by adding #ComodoMenu to their posts. It’s a great way to collect all of their recommendations and photos in one place, but more importantly, it makes those contributors feel like a part of the restaurant.
Customers are often going to take Instagram photos of their fancy dinners. Why not make the most of that brand marketing by making those customers feel special?
Find unique ways to give
Meathead Movers is a Los Angeles moving company, and in addition to their standard moving business, they also help people in domestic abuse situations move out safely, quickly, and for no charge. Every time they open up a new location, they contact the nearest women’s shelter to tell them about the service they offer.
In fact, it’s a point of pride for their employees and has become a part of their mission statement. Now, they’ve also encouraged other businesses in their communities to help victims of domestic violence start over with services like rental locating, oil changes, security systems, haircuts, and counseling.
Charitable giving goes much further when you also create awareness for the cause. Instead of just writing a check, Meathead Movers makes their cause much more visible and community oriented.
Make people smile
Fleur, a florist shop in Chicago, puts a bucket full of bright balloons by the door of their shop both inside and out, with a handwritten sign that says: “Take a balloon.” That’s all. No logos, no catch. It is just a small action to make people smile. Inside the store, it makes a pretty display, and outside the store, people are likely to ask where you got the balloon.
That’s a simple, fun way to get a conversation started without a marketing message, isn’t it? A bucket full of balloons is a bucket full of word of mouth memories waiting to happen. It doesn’t have to be branded or a part of a larger campaign — in fact, the simpler you make it, the better.
Have you ever tried to create conversation starters? Consider this technique by Krochel Kids Intl. Every product they make has a tag that is signed by the person who made it. They are not the standard garment tag. They are large and prominently displayed on the outside of the clothing. It makes each product one of a kind that makes the clothing stand out.
With this kind of visual message, your customers don’t have to bring up the subject because their friends usually ask about it.
Corporate branding strategy … demonstrate synergy
Synergy is a quality that often gets overlooked, isn’t it? But it can be a very valuable tool in many ways. You don’t have to be a genius to know that student housing is frequently in demand. Likewise, you’d guess that seniors in nursing homes like to have companionship.
So to solve both problems, one nursing home in the Netherlands provides a place to stay for college students, rent free, in exchange for visiting with the elderly for 30 hours per month.
Not much in common, you say? At least they have similar needs. Perhaps your customers who seem very different may have more in common than you think.
Surely you have seen the tear-jerker commercials for abused or abandoned puppies or kittens. Not something you’ll often share with friends, is it? North Carolina’s Wake County SPCA tried a very different approach to this problem. They made a lip-synching music video to ABBA’s song “Take a Chance on Me”, with the entire shelter staff and most of the adoptable animals.
A success? It was watched on YouTube over 3.4 million times the last time we looked. Just because others do the standard tear jerking videos doesn’t mean they are popular. Surprise your audience with original things that are fun and approachable like this SPCA did. It may even surprise you.
Unique value propositions
The typical thrift store or vintage shop isn’t all that glamorous. But they do have one thing on their side when it comes to fashion: lots of rare and one-of-a-kind clothes. Goodwill by revamping some of their stores to look like upscale boutiques instead of the place you drop off your oldest clothes.
Their new Rare by Goodwill stores are smaller, and they collect some of the more trendy vintage or antique stuff their regular stores have to offer.
Perhaps your business has more in common with your upscale competitors than you think, yes? What can you learn from them about attracting new customers?
Tell awesome stories
When several guys had to give up the 1957 Land Rover they bought together in college, they were disappointed. So when Land Rover saw the boys’ ad for the sale, they bought the car and restored it down to the smallest of details.
But before surprising the guys with the return as a gift, they created a video commercial. Each place in the commercial reflected a memory of a car adventure from the group.
Your customers will often surprise you with many more great memories than you can build yourself. Look for them and put them to good use.
The bottom line
The examples of brand marketing are all around us. All we have to do is be open minded in how we look and how we apply the best lessons learned.
Now it’s your turn. What are the brand marketing ideas you have seen lately?
Need some help in capturing more customers from your marketing strategies? Creative ideas to help with word of mouth marketing campaigns?
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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