‘Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out’ is a famous line from a Hollywood movie. This certainly holds true in the world of brand wars where every brand is positioning itself to ‘stand out’ by pitting against every other who is trying to ‘fit in’.So how do these power brands differentiate themselves in an already saturated market?
Let’s put things in a bit of perspective — while you walk down the aisle, selecting a brand in a shopping mall, it might be a regular affair for you – but in terms of your single selection there is a potential rejection to several other similar brands, and a hit of hundreds of dollars for the rejected company’s bottom-line.Such is the beauty and challenge of the ‘Brand Game’.This can get even more incredible if we talk about the number game because an average supermarket is loaded with as many as 40,000 brands. And out of these 40,000, a consumer uses only 85 and select only 10-15 at a time.
So how can brands position against each other in order to stand out?
The answer to this comes with two keys – “Differentiation” and “Positioning”
The Big Impact of Social Media Advertising
Brands of everyday household products are getting cleverer when it comes to advertising.Just being on television isn’t enough anymore.As more and more consumers are spending more time online, this is where brands are reaching out to be.
A social media engagement comes into play, where much of the content is created for users in the shape of blogs, pictures, posts, video, and vblogs with the intention of having it shared.Even if a person who has 15 friends shares one update, this has a potential roller-coaster effect that reaches out to a 1000 more within their network in a matter of few hours.Let us take an example of a famous fast-food brand – Subway, which has over 38,500 sandwich shops in almost 100 countries around the world.
Talking about its social media following, Subway scores highly on engagement as it has a huge fan-following on Facebook (21+million) and Twitter (33, 800).
Brands Correlate User’s Individuality with Social Media
Let’s take a look at some brands that have been able to take a head-on approach on social media marketing through a stout positioning and differentiation.
Subway – Subway makes an interesting use of social media by allowing its Facebook fans to make a choice of their favourite sub – ‘Every Sandwich Tells a Story’. Here, Subway is reinforcing the brand value of its sandwiches by giving a personal touch and correlating them with the individuality of the user. Subway has been able to draw huge popularity through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter audience. Being active on these sites through high engagement scores, it pulls a deluge of fans and followers who are very active for this brand.
Dunkin’ Donuts – Dunkin’ Donuts is one popular brand that has invested big in social media. Their teams have not just engaged with customers, but have also spent time tracking responsiveness via various social analytics and monitoring ways. One of the most successful social media campaigns is their celebration on National Donut Day (June 1), Dunkin’ Donuts had launched a new digital billboard in Times Square that showcased the brand’s most passionate guests by tapping directly into social media fan base which consists of over 6.6 million Facebook fans. Through this engaging application, Dunkin’ donuts fans’ mages were broadcasted on their billboard above the Crossroads of the World. This was seen by millions of people who travelled through Times Square.
Dunkin’ Donuts also launched the “What Are You Drinkin” on Facebook for its fans about what, why, where or when they were drinking at Dunkin’. The answers submitted by fans were written in Dunkin’ Donuts’ iconic font and became sharable content on Facebook walls. Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts also selected one participating fan each day that was given a prize of $100 Dunkin’ Donuts Card
Microsoft -With its push in the mobile operating system facility, Microsoft has been able to integrate itself well across various social platforms. Microsoft also leveraged some of the major strengths of social media during the marketing of Windows 7. Microsoft analyzed social media marketing and believed that the greatest strength of Social media is a two-way communication between the organization and the customers. By asking their opinion leaders to help them create Windows 7, Microsoft was able to create a team of influencers brand ambassadors who were ready to convince others to purchase Windows 7.
Social media can work as an effective tool by making the audience a part of the overall marketing campaign for products and services, and allowing them to voice their opinions.
Heineken – Heineken has consistently created high visibility for its brand by devising various innovative concepts, along with viral campaigns for users to engage with. Heineken had signed a multi-million Euro deal with Google to mainly focus on distributing their commercials on YouTube, for reaching their target groups of 20 plus. It also included promotions such as banners on Google. Heineken spokesman John Paul Schuirink had said that their overall marketing budget will increase with a larger share of it going to digital advertising.
Even though social media marketing has been a hot topic for years now, but brands are still trying hard to harness the right sources of digital social-sphere for designing some of the best possible marketing techniques.
The essence lies in the two keywords – Positioning and Differentiation, which may mean alike, but have different meanings. The challenge for a brand is to understand that difference, and act with precision.