Oct 21, 2013
Image Isn’t Everything… Or Is It?
We all know that first impressions are important, and this is partly because they only come once. In business, a first impression is often all you get. A billboard alongside the freeway, a 30 second spot on TV, a small ad in a newspaper; we do a lot to carefully shape the image of our companies. Marketing, the art of creating an attractive image or first impressions for your business, is the key to success in your shaping efforts. Marketing has been the difference between thriving success and sputtering, pitiful failure for many. We could probably learn about as much from analyzing the failures as we could from looking at the successes, but for the sake of optimism, we’ll stick to the thrivers. Here are two HUGE success stories:
Green is the New Pink
One of the earliest landmark marketing campaigns was that of Edward Bernays, who has been called the father of public relations. In the late 1920s, Lucky Strike cigarettes found that many women in America did not like the way the green packaging of the product looked with the clothes they wore, and therefore failed to buy Lucky Strike. Not wanting to change the look of the product, Lucky Strike commissioned Bernays to fix the problem another way. He then proceeded to pull some very key strings to turn green into a new fashion craze. By planning dances and fashion events that would feature green as the new “in” color, he successfully shaped the fashion industry in a way that led to great success for his client.
What we learn from this: Don’t be afraid to look at alternative methods of marketing. Many try to shape their product to the market, but why not shape the market to your product?
Sharing is Caring
Recently, Coca-Cola tried a marketing technique that, though not necessarily new, was very innovative. It was a simple change in packaging that allowed their “Share a Coke” campaign to be taken to the next level. The new cans were actually two, half-sized cans stuck together, so that the drinker could pull them apart and give one to a friend. Brilliant! Coke has always done a great job at the kind of marketing that creates a culture around their product and appeals to both the social side of people, as well as their inner good-samaritan. Now, they’ve made it fun and original, complete with candid videos of the overwhelming joy people felt upon discovering this new way to share their favorite drink.
What we learn from this: Make your audience feel something. Make it an experience. Ask yourself “What can I do to appeal to their playful/nostalgic/caring (etc.) side?” And realize that relatively inexpensive changes can make an enormous difference when done right.
Remember that successful marketing requires you to understand your target audience as well as your product. Hiring a professional to help you in the process is arguably the best investment you can make in your business venture.