Marketing is no longer the strict domain of retailers battling over the next ‘must have’ consumer item. With the rise of the internet, and greater competition, all industries need to undertake marketing their brand and services or they will sink and disappear. Previously, sectors within the non-tangible industries like financial services, technology and engineering relied on the products speaking for themselves. For example, percentage growth on investments was thought to be enough of an attraction for the financial services. Whilst engineers thought the ability of a gearbox to work productively would drive sales.
Whilst these are marketable qualities, they simply aren’t enough to attract today’s tech-savvy consumer who use a plethora of sources, like social media, to interact with brands and weigh up their purchasing decision. Social media networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest were seen as media strictly for personal use or fast-moving consumer goods like fashion. But, with such a strong uptake of active daily users and the buying influence these platforms now produce, even the most boring industries need to target their audience where they (digitally) hang out.
However, the risk when brands start using social media and other forms of communication like videos or even apps like Snapchat is that their content will be boring. The fear is that if they make a 3 minute video for YouTube, or a series of funny images for Instagram, that the purpose of the marketing will be lost and their branding may be confused or even that their efforts won’t bring any rewards. Any industry can use these channels to build their brand and attract an audience but it’s all about getting the right marketing message across to consumers. Something that is both interesting and entertaining while at the same time promote the brand’s message no matter how mundane that may appear to be. Here are some examples of what some would consider ‘boring’ industries and how they have made very entertaining and successful online marketing campaigns that positively portray their brands.
Imagine being the marketing manager for correction fluid… I could make some pun about making mistakes, but actually the world’s biggest correction fluid brand Tipp-Ex have done the exact opposite. Tipp–Ex was once a school staple, but since the rise of the PC and the less need for pen and paper, sales of Tipp-Ex has declined. But Tipp-Ex has surprisingly made a comeback thanks to the help of a brilliant campaign which brought Tipp-Ex firmly into the digital age. What resulted was the ‘Hunter and a Bear’ videos. The YouTube video showed a bear approaching a camper in the outback. After contemplating shooting the bear, the camper decides to‘re-write’ the story by “tippexing” out the video’s original title. The hunter then asks the viewer to decide what he should do and type anything you want into the blank space e.g. dance with the bear, sing with the bear and so on.
The short video was the ultimate in viewer interaction with the ability for the user to type what they wanted to see the bear and camper do, share the video and create a talking point. Tipp-Ex then took the top 42 suggestions and created a series of new outcome videos: The video received over 46 million views and 1 million social shares with sales increasing by 30%! Thinking outside the box for Tipp-Ex proved not to be a mistake.
International studies have found that with the economic down turn we try and save, not spend a penny. In 2014 the nation decided to make savings on one of the main shopping essentials, toilet paper.
Charmin, one of the largest toilet roll manufacturers from the USA have been producing quality loo rolls for over 20 years. In 2014 they launched a hugely successful social media campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #tweetfromtheseat.
The idea was for users to tweet from their bathrooms worldwide with inspirational quotes, facts or even self-promotion – your latest poem, book or music. The campaign created a lot interaction with the followers and produced some humour for the brand which would otherwise be pretty boring. Toilet paper only has so many marketable qualities after all.
B2B brands usually have content and material that does not always suit social media platforms. Brochures on machine parts, or guides to company insurance, are not usually the type of content that will attract consumers on Twitter or Instagram. General Electric, or GE as it is known, make large scale machines for industrial markets. Although their work is innovative it is not appealing to the mainstream social media audience. However, GE chose to use social media to promote engineering and innovation rather than their own products and technology. Building an interest in the industry via social media in turn raises awareness of the General Electric name and also speaks to potential employees, consumers and investors. Their aim as to educate people about what GE actually do and provide a portal for those interested in General Electric. GE chose Pinterest as a platform to speak to its audience. As a visual medium GE set up a ‘Badass Machines’ account to share images of not just their own work but also amazing innovations worldwide. The whole portal of the page is that ‘engineering is cool’ it’s new and exciting and something you would want to be part of.
Images can be shared, liked and repinned meaning content and the GE name is promoted and linked to far beyond the confines of the page.
Agilent are a multi-million dollar company based in the states. They employ over 12,000 people working in life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets and supply instruments and services to laboratories. Their work is highly scientific and their products include items such as the Mass Spectrometer and Microarray Scanners. Unless you are a scientist it’s hard to get excited about any of these items – until you look at their Facebook page that is. With over 100,000 followers their Facebook profile shows the ‘cool’ side of science. For example; the team used their gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer products to research the heart of King Richard I, nicknamed ‘Richard the Lionhheart’. By relating the products to history, and demonstrating what they do, they made the brand more personable and emotional.
If you ever thought your brand was too boring to market online then think again. The key is to find the interesting angle of your product or services and this may mean not promoting them directly, but looking at verticals and indirectly creating interest in your brand.
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