Think about the brands you interact with on a daily basis… the ones that you trust… the ones that really mean something to you. How did that relationship begin?
If you’re like most Americans, it started with a leap of faith. You may have seen an advertisement for a product or service or received a recommendation from a friend or family member. But ultimately, you made a decision to try an offer, download an app, or purchase a product based only on what you knew about the merits of that product or service itself.
That’s all changing now.
More and more, brands are realizing that in order to increase the likelihood that a consumer interacts with them – and to build a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship – they must do much more in their outreach than simply describe the features and benefits of their product or service. They have to align their brand values with their consumers’.
At Matt George Associates, we’re noticing a trend: younger consumers (generally) care MUCH more about a company’s values and corporate social responsibility efforts than older consumers (generally). And as younger Americans’ purchasing power continues to grow, this insight has huge implications for your company or brand’s outreach and marketing efforts.
Take Gillette as an illustration. Gillette has been a household name for years, relying on the idea of product quality in their advertising. Razors with multiple blades… pivoting heads… anti-irritation gels… they positioned their brand as the “attainable luxury” competitor in men’s shaving. Their tag backs that up: “the best a man can get.”
But with their new ad, they changed tactics. There’s no direct call to purchase their products. There’s no real focus on shaving either. Instead, they took a stand on toxic masculinity, utilizing their slogan to mean something very different and ask a question: “Is this (current state) REALLY the best that men can be?”
Love it or hate it, the ad sparks a conversation. It earns media. The ad has been receiving national coverage since it aired. Why? Because it took a stand on a social issue.
Those against the message are threatening boycotts, much as they did with Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad. On the other side, advocates are praising the company for delivering a message they feel aligns with their values. But good or bad, that conversation has put Gillette back on the competitive map in an era when beards and facial hair (anathema to their product) are in style – especially with younger males.
We’re not recommending that every brand or company step into the social values arena. Whenever you make a statement, you risk alienating those who disagree. That’s why market research is so important. Learning the effects of a campaign BEFORE they come to bear on your brand’s image is crucial to protecting your bottom line and reputation.
What we ARE saying is that the game is changing. To cut through the noise and get your target audience to pay attention, your advertising must go further than a description of your product. You must connect to your audience in an emotional and thought-provoking way.
If you’re interested in speaking with your customers and developing a narrative that builds long lasting engagement – or a campaign that puts you back in the conversation – let us know. Contact Matt George Associates to learn about our customized message testing research that gives you the research-based information you need to move your brand or company forward.