When someone mentions a “Jacuzzi,” do you think of a toilet? After all, Jacuzzi manufactures toilets in addition to hot tubs. But their hot tub is so popular that we tend to use the brand name to refer to the product. Same goes for Xerox and Google. And no one asks for a bandage when they cut themselves. So how do you make your product so popular that it becomes a generic term? Here are five marketing principles that can help.
People choose brands because those brands meet their needs. These needs generally fall into a few categories. There are practical needs, like a customer’s budget or timeframe. These customers are looking for brands that are inexpensive or easily accessible. Some needs are emotional, and people look for brands that make them feel a certain way, like the heartwarming ups and downs of bringing home a new puppy. And some needs are about aspiration. These customers are looking for brands that reflect who they are or the image they want to project. The question you have to ask yourself is, What kind of need does my brand fill, and how do I connect with the consumers with these needs?
A reason to talk about you
People talk about certain brands when those brands give them something to talk about. For example, Nike’s “Dream Crazier” ad voiced by tennis superstar Serena Williams. The ad aired during the 2019 Academy Awards and has been viewed nearly 9 million times since on YouTube. Nike created this content because, as the company’s CEO told reporters, the athletic shoe company is focusing on women as one of its target audiences in 2019. Nike is getting women to talk about the company and its products with a deeply emotional message that’s shared on social media platforms.
That leads us to shareability. You don’t just want potential customers to talk about you, you want them to talk about you to someone. Preferably to hundreds of their closest friends at the same time. Your video, meme or podcast needs to be on social media platforms. If you’re targeting 20-somethings hungry for experiences, you’re using SnapChat and Instagram. If you’re trying to lure the people who make major household decisions, Facebook is the platform where you should have a solid presence.
Stand out from the crowd
Brand awareness, by definition, is how cognizant consumers are of the distinctive qualities of different brands. So, what makes your business different from others in the same industry? For example, are you an Apple person or a Microsoft person? And what’s the difference between the two? Each stands out from the crowd of tech companies in its own way, and their customers use the distinctiveness of these brands to identify themselves. By using brand awareness to stand out from the crowd, you’re setting yourself up for customers to recognize you immediately. You’re also making your brand a part of their everyday lives, and even a part of their identities.
Pay attention to the numbers
Gone are the days of producing a TV ad and hoping it would catch on (remember Coca-Cola’s “I’d Like to Teach The World To Sing” ad?). Now you can monitor how your brand is doing in real time. Pay close attention to metrics like direct traffic and site traffic on your website. You want all that social media sharing to result in traffic on your site.
Social media engagement is also a very important number, even if these people don’t make to your website. These are the people who are spending time with your brand, whether they are liking, commenting or sharing your content with their friends. Social media monitoring is key here, as it allows you and your marketing team to see who is saying what, and how much conversation there is about your brand on the internet.
Zero in on what consumers like
In 1985, Coca-Cola introduced a new formula of soft drink to soda drinkers—and it bombed. The company doubled down on “New Coke” for three months as the outcry grew louder, but finally caved to public pressure. The old Coke came back as “Coca- Cola Classic.” The New Coke debacle is widely regarded as a brand marketing failure because company executives failed to read the public correctly. They didn’t account for the emotional connection the soft drink customers had with the old formula. But where Coca-Cola succeeded was in the reversal. The company zeroed in on what consumers wanted, and by the end of that year, Coca-Cola Classic was outselling both the New Coke and rival Pepsi Cola.
You and your marketing team can copy that success by zeroing in on what consumers like about your brand by analyzing metrics. You then must craft content and messaging which repeatedly reaps the shares, comments, and sales you want.
These principles, when paired with the right marketing channels, can create long-term, sustainable growth. They aren’t hacks to get your brand into people’s minds, but instead, they are a philosophy to guide consumers to connect with your brand, authentically and organically.