In our increasingly cluttered media environment, it’s getting harder for brands to cut through.
In Ireland, from the second we wake up and check our phone, we’re exposed to 370 ads every day. The explosion of digital media means we are being exposed to twice as many ads as we were ten years ago. In turn, we are paying even less attention to ads and getting better at avoiding them.
Today, a brand’s biggest challenge is not how people think about them, it’s being thought about at all.
In a world where people don’t feel strongly about about or necessarily need brands, brands themselves are realising that being thought about means they must show rather than tell how they are meeting a real need, want or desire.
Paradoxically, this situation also means that brands actually have more opportunity, license and need to experiment than ever before.
Brands can get much more attention by doing something differently than by saying something differently through genuinely interesting content, information or a new piece of technology or product innovation that shows rather than tells people what a brand or product stands for and the value it adds to consumers’ lives.
Brands need to start seeing experimentation and innovation as an imperative in their marketing strategies.
This can sound daunting, or expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. In 2016, 43% of award winning innovation campaigns had no budget, reflecting the efficacy of social and digital channels and experimentation’s ability to generate word-of-mouth and earned media. Only 10% of award-winning campaigns had budgets above $500k.
In this blog series, we look at some of the ways brands have used experimentation and innovation to drive growth.
Conduct a social experiment
One way brands have built content-led campaigns has been through conducting various kinds of social consumer experiments. Built around a compelling insight of brand challenge, these approaches have helped generate compelling content and strong brand engagement.
Dove Choose Beautiful
Building on their brand purpose to increase women’s self-esteem and on its successful ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’, Dove honed in on one fact their research uncovered: that only 4% of women would use the word ‘beautiful’ to describe how they look. Dove turned this powerful insight into a simple social experiment. At busy locations across five countries, women were confronted with the option to enter a building through the ‘Beautiful’ door or the ‘Average’ door – which one would they choose, and why? This digital campaign, which included a short filma a Tumblr site and an innovative, allowed women to choose how they felt after watching one of the pieces of video content. The experiment resulted in strengthening brand sentiment and engagement while also contributing to overall sales uplift.
One Rand Man
Could you live for a month spending only 10c coins? This is what Sanlam bank in South Africa set out to answer in its campaign to convince younger customers to start saving with the brand. The brand wanted to reach a younger audience allergic to ‘finger pointing’ messages about the importance of saving so they challenged ‘One Rand Man’ to spend one month paying for everything with one rand coins. This social experiment was filmed (with no scripting or set ups) and released in weekly webisodes that captured his story in real-time as he struggled to manage his money. The experimental campaign created a new celebrity, generating huge amounts of earned media and brand engagement.
ALDI Supermarket Switch
ALDI in Australia realised they had become a divisive brand – many saw them as a ‘novelty’ store, not a serious supermarket, and while they had fans, those fans could not convince non-fans to take ALDI seriously. Because the brand had become so polarised between ALDI’ shoppers and non-shoppers, they couldn’t go after the middle-ground, so they tried something different – an experiment to tackle the doubters and their biases. The campaign hinged around an experiment to test the ‘Reactance Bias’ by seeing if ALDI lovers could convert their doubting friends through a series of ALDI experiences, testing their resolve through their switching journey using a lie detector test. The experiments were filmed and formed the basis of a national campaign, which delivered 9.8% revenue growth, an ROI of 220% and 661k new households shopping ALDI.