by Pam Sahota
Working in digital marketing on a day-to-day basis, it makes me stoked to see when brands and consumers truly connect. When a brand takes a beat and steps back to reflect and understand what their consumers really want. Even cooler, when a brand reinvents part of itself to be with the times. One such brand is Banana Republic. Perhaps I’m biased, because they now sell so many leather oriented clothing, but so what? Here’s what we can learn from BR as of late:
1. They Hired a Kickass Creative Director – one to help reinvent BR and shape it into a new, cooler, fresher brand. Marissa Webb. I salute you. You took BR from being a stuffy, conservative office brand to one that women are excited to wear. The brand now exudes confidence, sex appeal, and best of all, amazing clothes that fit just right.
2. The advertising fits the new brand – The new ads are edgy and they standout. Best part, Marissa herself touts the clothes, makes personal ads through her instagram (without being an ad), and allows people to connect with the brand in a way people never could before. In a way, (sorry Tory), she’s the new Tory Burch. She is a visionary for the brand. Is that a bold statement? Perhaps.
3. They are human – By far my favorite characteristic. The brands replies, comments, and favorites posts by its fans. They thank people for purchasing their clothes. Reward them with fun loyalty gifts. And best of all, are just kind and nice. Not to mention, Marissa herself “favorited” my last tweet about the brand. That is huge in my book!
What brands stand out to you? Which brands make you say – yes, I love this brand?
We all know that, as a brand, being self-centered can hurt you in social. A great content strategy is created when brands take a turn listening to their audience to find out what they’ll want to hear. Brands that aren’t self-centered created a dialogue with fans and customers, digging into their likes and dislikes to find out how they can better communicate with them.
Listening and engaging with your brand’s fans is a key component of any content strategy, but at times, it can leave you feeling uninspired. For a fresh source of inspiration, keep an eye on your competitors, too!
Here are 3 things you can learn from your competitors’ content (and no, they’re not sneaky or rude!) to inspire fresh ideas for your own brand:
1. Take a peek at not just your competitors’ posts, but the posts of others who post about the competitive brands. What do people say about them? Learn what likes and dislikes people have about your competitors’ products or services: it’s great fodder for future content for you! Are many of them asking the same questions? Could they be wondering the same thing about your product? Sounds like it’s time for a blog post that can help clarify the benefits of your own brand–no need to mention the competitor in your content, just focus on being helpful and useful.
2. Take a consumer’s perspective, then look over your competitor’s content with a critical eye: what mistakes are they making? Is their content too repetitive, not visual enough, or written in a tone that feels “off” somehow? Consider whether those areas are opportunities for you–dazzle your audience with a wide range of content that’ll spark their interest, or find a share-worthy visual way to get their attention. Even if you’re not stealing fans away from the other brand, you can create better interactions with your own fans to learn still more about what makes them tick.
3. Analyze the audiences your competitor reaches: do they have a big following with a specific demographic where you’re somewhat lacking? Are their messages reaching a set of people across more countries or languages you haven’t targeted yet? Learning from the success your competitors are having with audiences that are as-yet untapped by your own brand can give you inspiration as to how to start targeting them. See what works well for these competitors, and what isn’t getting much traction, and save those learnings for your own efforts to speak to these new audiences.
Do you keep track of what competitors are doing in social? We’d love to hear how you put their information to work for your own company–share your strategies with us in the comments!
Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by Teresa Valdepenas, a creative strategist at DigitasLBi. See more about Teresa below.
It’s back – back to school season that is. We all know one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year is here and according to eMarketer digital spend is slated to increase 16%. But BTS shopping is no longer 3 weeks before school starts and no longer just about the pensive mom and her cart in the store, examining one among the myriad of notebooks 3 weeks before school starts.
If she’s not your one audience, then who is? When should you connect with the shopper and is the shopper Mom, Dad or child? What motivates your consumers to purchase and how do they do it – selectively over time or do they wait to pounce on last minute deals? Take a look at who purchases your products when and where. I’ve listed 5 possible mindsets for a little insight into how timing can play a big role in deciphering your consumers when they shop.
The Prepared & Productive
For some BTS shoppers, the race begins 2 months in advance (see here.) This group of people is driven to be productive, check to-do’s off their list and feel prepared. They actually start early enough to enjoy the process. It’s for these novelty-seeking preparers that we’re seeing the season arrive so early this year. More than ever, it’s forcing traditional shoppers out of their regularly scheduled 3-weeks before routine. No one wants to miss out on the latest styles, so reinforce their decisions to buy the latest and greatest. Both mobile and in-store browsing are significant and ongoing behaviors here, so continue to reach out to them throughout their browsing period.
Last Minute Rushers
For those who don’t feel such a rush of accomplishment and pride when it’s all done and paid for, Last Minute rushers may be just your typical procrastinators. Many of us avoid whatever we aren’t excited to do or fear having to do. These guys likely see shopping for needs in general as a chore, waiting until the very last minute to do them. Make their job easier by bundling items together based on what they typically need to get started so they can run in and run out with what they need.
Value-Conscious Deal Thrilled
These cost-savvy consumers are willing to wait until the sales hit. They aren’t loyal. But they have a sense of pride knowing they’re getting the best deal, and feel smarter for having the willpower to wait. Convince them with price but also messaging that lets them feel all the wiser for getting a bargain.
Wait and See Observers
These guys are not motivated by feeling prepared, avoiding the negative or by getting a good deal. But they are motivated by quality and will wait to see what shakes out as the best or most widely reliable. Use reviews and advocates to work in your favor – post school-start, find ways to bolster your greatest products to hit home with this crowd.
Lastly, there’s a new group of young folks whose entrepreneurial spirit causes them to become their own brand (especially apparel.) They buy the latest sneakers to resell to their fans or buy to DIY and then resell to peers, known as ‘me-tail.’ Such opportunists naturally could be seen as competition for some brands, but others are willing to embrace this behavior and win the affection of these influential consumers (ie. ASOS, who have their own marketplace that allows people to sell new and used clothes.) Like these brands, you can encourage them to buy, help them customize and sell your products in a way that you can control.
Consumers 101: Timing is everything. Cater your messaging to your target in a way that’s most relevant to them at the right time and it will certainly resonate.
Further Reading: Back-to-School Time Is Now All the Time, eMarketer May 14, 2014 Mobile-weilding Dads embrace back to school shopping, 12 September 2012, Iconoculture http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/07/29/survey-back-to-school-shopping-kicks-off-2-months-before-school-starts/ http://rocketfuel.com/downloads/backtoschool8x11.pdf http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/181644/back-to-school-shopping-bringing-up-daddy.html Image Source: thinkmarketingmagazine.com About Teresa Valdepenas Teresa is a creative strategist at DigitasLBi. When she’s not traveling to seek out remote cultural experiences, she loves burying her nose in the latest book on social psychology and helping brands achieve their goals in an effective but creative way. She believes that understanding people and their behavior is the most valuable (and fun) part of successfully marketing a brand. And after all this reading, conversation and deep probing thought, she still believes good old-fashioned whole hearted laughter, whatever it’s about, is truly the answer to most things we need or want in life.
by Elisabeth Michaud
As a digital marketer, much of your job is a numbers game: you’re focused on the quantity of website traffic, email click-throughs, social media shares, new prospects and how to push them above a certain score when you’re nurturing them with campaigns. All these elements of digital marketing are important, of course, but it’s an easy trap to fall into focusing ONLY on these metrics. The funnel can be a blessing and a curse for us as marketers armed with Google Analytics and a finite budget.
However, step out of your marketer’s shoes for a moment and imagine the most powerful draw to a new brand you’ve experienced lately: most likely it wasn’t the email copy in a promotion that appeared in your inbox or the Facebook sidebar ad that linked you to a new whitepaper. What probably made you want to try a new brand or product was a recommendation from a friend or a story you heard about something the company did that stuck in your mind. The interactions we have with brands and products as individuals can be far more powerful than the digital marketing numbers game that we all play (and need to play, to keep our marketing engines humming, test improvements, and more).
Some of the most successful marketing for online companies has revolved around the way they’ve treated individuals, and how the individuals or news outlets spread that message when the company spent extra time or effort to take care of their customer. Think of the countless stories we’ve heard about Zappos, a major online footwear and apparel retailer, whose customer service associates have ordered pizza, sent flowers, and gone to extreme lengths to ensure their customers had a good experience. You can buy advertising that will reach as far as these stories of Zappos employees’ goodwill did, but you’ll never get the same return on investment from it.
Similarly, consider the payoff Canadian Airline WestJet saw when they created a fun Christmas surprise for just one flight’s worth of passengers (and captured the event on video) by showing up at their destination with gifts they’d told Santa they wanted just before departure. Listening to the request of each individual passenger on that plane, and making a big investment in one small plane’s worth of customers to reap major PR and marketing benefits throughout the rest of the holiday season, and beyond.
As another example, think back to a time you may have received a little extra special attention from one of your favorite brands. For me, I remember trying out a new fashion brand with an online purchase and receiving a hand-written note from someone in the company, telling me she hoped I enjoyed the garment I had ordered and thanking me for being a new customer. It took that person a few extra moments to write the note, but the return on her time? I told several friends about the incident, ended up Instagramming the garment and note, and posting a thank you to the company on Twitter, too – all creating ripples that spread from the little extra attention this company gave a new customer.
So when it comes to your next digital marketing campaign, think about how you can maximize the resources at your disposal to make a positive impact on the individuals who buy from you – not just the masses who receive your email blasts and trickle through your customer acquisition funnel. Like Zappos, WestJet, and many other brands who use this strategy, you’ll be glad you did when the “free” word-of-mouth marketing and publicity comes rolling in.