Rising above and standing apart are critically important in today’s increasingly crowded market. Going with the flow and being part of the crowd are recipes for a failing brand. But how, specifically, can a brand set itself apart?
- Be Different
We often associate products with a particular feeling or attitude. Mattresses = comfort. Roses = romance. But changing the way consumers view a product with a strong identity can set a brand apart by redefining the product context.
Take Corona beer. At a time when most beer brands were focusing on a late night, party-loving marketing vibe, Corona developed a counter-intuitive campaign that centered on a beach, some palm trees, and a bottle of beer.
Their message was clear: beer wasn’t just for going out to the bar or watching sports anymore.
Now, beer meant vacation.
While Corona may use grain in their beer, they went against the grain to achieve remarkable branding success. By positioning Corona with a unique marketing slant, sales sharply increased — and it’s still going strong.
- Embrace Your Best Idea
‘There is no finish line’
Recognize this slogan? You might guess it’s from a car company or a wellness brand. Actually, it’s one of the first slogans Nike used back in the 1970s. The “Just Do It” campaign didn’t launch until 1988, when it helped make Nike a dominant force in the fitness industry.
What make this so interesting is the fact that “Just Do It” was inspired, at least in part, by a criminal’s last words. It was coined at an ad agency meeting by Dan Wieden who credits the inspiration to killer Gary Gilmore’s last words: “Let’s do it.” Turning this negative into a positive was a big risk at the time and it paid off tremendously. When the campaign launched Nike defined the meaning as being both “universal and intensely personal.”
Says Widen: “Creatives in the agency all questioned if we really needed it. Nike questioned it. I said, ‘Look, I think we do. I believe we have too many disparate commercials that don’t add up to anything without a tagline.”
Oftentimes what holds us back is our inability to embrace our best idea, especially if it’s not the popular choice. But going with our gut can yield incredible results if we have the courage to stick to our vision.
- Take Advantage of Market and Social Trends
When your marketing campaign has hit a wall or it’s just not gaining traction, it might be time to listen to what your customers are talking about and see if you can leverage it. A keen eye for branding combined with the knowledge of what people are looking for today can revitalize any marketing campaign.
Adidas did just that. Environmental threats have become a big concern in recent decades; people want to preserve and protect the planet in any way they can. To demonstrate their social awareness — and raise brand awareness — Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to create sneakers made from ocean waste. This unique pairing resulted in strong sales and increased brand awareness, and Adidas isn’t done with it yet.
Clearly, the best pairing here wasn’t just the shoes, nor was it Adidas and Parley. It was Adidas and the public. That combination proved a win for the company and for those who want to wear comfortable shoes that help make the world a better place.
Don’t be afraid to listen! Know your brand. Know your product or service. Keep a finger on the pulse of current trends. And most importantly, know what makes your business special so you can prove it to your customers.