There are several marketing tactics that successful brands utilize, which means there’s an opportunity to learn from their achievements. From doing the research required to deeply understand their audience, to using personalization and storytelling, these brands have discovered what it takes to truly excel in the respective categories. You can follow their lead, and use the same strategies to achieve similar success.
Key Strategies of Successful Brands
It doesn’t take a large team or budget to adopt some of the same strategies that the world’s biggest brands use. Instead, it takes focus, determination and a dedicated effort to stick with the individual tactics.
Below are the marketing tactics that these brands are using to set themselves apart from others in their industry, plus tips that will help challenger brands execute in the same direction.
Know Your Audience
- Research plays a major role in the life of the omnishopper, those individuals who leverage technology to decide how and where to make their purchase. For example, they may browse on their desktop and complete their purchase on their mobile device or even in-store.
- Kroger is one example of a retailer who is leading the charge for shopper research and knowledge. Their highly personalized coupon offerings drive deep analytics that allowed the leader to continue growth to their digital store by 30% in the first quarter of 2017.
- Technology levels the playing field, allowing challenger brands access to similar tools to the ones used by larger competitors. While Kroger may have a larger customer base nationwide, smaller brands will have greater access to knowledge about their specific area and demographics.
Share Your Story
- Storytelling is the reason why we know that Nike’s motto is “Just Do It,” why we can recall certain jingles, and why the Publix commercials often spark emotion during the holidays. Effective storytelling is a hallmark of many big brands, meaning challengers will need to be creative to break through the clutter.
- The Charmin Bears are one of the best examples of storytelling, as the animated characters are beloved by many. In fact, Charmin found that using their mascots increased shopper engagement on social media, including a 585% lift in post shares.
- Challenger brands are often particularly effective at telling stories, leading to a deeper shopper interest in their brand. Compared to more established brands, challengers tend to be more bold than conservative, and aim to appeal to the shopper’s emotions versus their intellect. Challenger brand Halo Top, for example, made fun health fads to communicate its mission to make ice cream healthy.
Be Authentic and Transparent
- Authenticity and transparency are buzzwords in the marketing industry, but what do they truly mean? When your brand is fully transparent, you are sharing the good, the bad and the ugly – everything that your shoppers need to know in order to make a sound buying decision.
- Hellmann’s recently proved their commitment to transparency, in a way that really told a story about the brand. They discovered that a particular mayonnaise was only sourced from a small handful of family farms in Iowa. Sharing this information gave shoppers an inside look at how their products were sourced.
- With 91% of people fact-checking the claims made by nutrition labels, it’s critically important that your brand be honest and forthright at all times. Smaller brands are often closer to their products, giving an added layer of authenticity to the conversation with shoppers.
- Nestlé’s recipe-driven site Very Best Baking leverages personalization by displaying recipes based on user characteristics, which makes the content more personalized and relevant to shoppers.
- This is perhaps one of the easier strategies for challenger brands to implement, making personal interactions an achievable goal – something that larger organizations would have a hard time competing with.
Invest in Influencers
- Meal-kit service HelloFresh is attributing much of their rapid growth to influencer marketing, so much so that they’re bringing the activity in-house. Even Nike is looking for brand managers to build their influencer talent.
- This commitment to maintaining influencers certainly isn’t exclusive to large brands. Challengers will find that they can expand their activities and gain the same, if not more, engagement through authentic interactions that their brand ambassadors have with their audience.
Be Consistently Relevant
- One of the reasons that major brands appeal to shoppers is because their consistency reflects trust – you always know what you are getting when you purchase Kleenex tissues, for example. You would never even question whether they differ in quality from Florida to New York, you just trust that the quality is the same regardless of your physical location.
- As a challenger brand, it will take more work to ensure your audience’s comfort level with your delivery. You can boost consistency by maintaining a high level of quality at all times, and remain open and honest with your conversations. Cultural relevance is more than simply tagging onto the latest memes. It’s about finding something tried and true that resonates with your audience, and that will not fade over time.
Engage With Your Audience
- Passion, excitement, and ambition – three attributes that will help marketing teams attract their core audience. A perfect example is Steve Jobs and Apple, who was so passionate about his brand that he required a specific Pantone shade for the case of the first Apple Mac. His passion was passed on to shoppers, who showed similar enthusiasm when engaging with the brand.
- Challenger brands are passionate about their messaging, something that causes each individual in the organization to become truly interested in the success of the brand. When organizations are able to harness and share this passion and excitement about the work, it shines through in their interactions with their shoppers.
What’s the moral of the story? You don’t have to be Nike, Charmin or Apple in order to be highly relevant, passionate about your brand and transparent to your core audience. Instead, you simply need to learn the lessons that the major household name brands have taught, and then apply these ideas to your marketing strategy. You might be surprised how quickly you will go from being a challenger brand to a mainstream name.