Every company dreams of making a difference, being an unforgettable company that inspires, motivates and connects with its customers. These companies are the brand heroes that dominate the market.
While it takes time to develop an unforgettable brand, start the process of transforming your company into a beloved brand with these three strategies.
Champion a cause
At a recent meeting of brand certified specialists, I was introduced to LifeProfit founder, Dustin Garis. Our discussion centered on brands that transform their marketing messages — better, faster, less cost — to messages about social changes that relate to the brand, with no brand benefits mentioned.
Always menstrual pads, for example, became a brand hero in its #LikeAGirl campaign, which centered around changing public perception of the saying “you run like a girl.” Always rallied against the stereotype by promoting strong young girls who run fast and hard — the same as boys. As a result, Always has become a hero that stands up for young girls and promotes the strength of women.
Innovate around human experience
The human experience is especially important to companies that sell to a younger customer base — a 2014 Harris Group study revealed that 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences instead of material objects.
An example Garis refers to in his TEDx Talk is how Zappos, a major shoe retailer, tapped into the human experience and became an unforgettable company for him when he called about a pair of running shoes.
Instead of trying to sell him the shoes, the salesperson told him to try them out at a mud run near his town and signed him up for the run. Garis took her up on the offer and in doing so, gained “life profit,” thus experiencing a human moment he will never forget.
Hearing something 1,000 times is less impactful than experiencing it once.
You might recall the recent McDonald’s Pay with Lovin’ campaign where customers were rewarded with a free meal for calling a family member and saying “I love you.” Or, how Coke’s new campaign, Share a Coke and a Song, personalized its products by adding famous song lyrics on bottles, i.e. “Lean on me” and “We are the champions.”
Or, the Expedia Trip-A-Day Giveaway, where consumers who downloaded its new app were entered into a daily drawing to win a trip. The company also capitalized on the opportunity to survey participants.
The most memorable part of Garis’ message — and one that hits home — is how mundane life becomes if all we do is look forward to the weekend week in and week out, spend endless nights watching television and only change our routine a couple of times a year for vacation.
Life profit, as Garis describes it, is not the number of days you live, but the number of days you remember. As a business and a brand, we have a unique opportunity to make a memorable and meaningful experience for our customers.
Kelly Borth is the CEO and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST, a 25-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.