In the rarest of cases, all it might take is a simple and jovial meme to launch your product to the top of the market -- if your company is Apple and your CEO is Tim Cook, that is.

With that kind of clout, one witty move on social media can instantly gain your brand or new product massive exposure. Then again, most marketers can't rely on their CEOs to meme their way to marketing genius, and most CEOs don't have over 11 million Twitter followers. It's also likely that most customers require a little more convincing than Apple's devotees.

When you look at successful brands, you'll notice a few key things. First, they know how to reach their audience. Second, they connect and build trust with their audience. Third, they know how to motivate their prospective customers to take action.

The reasons for a product's attention-grabbing success, or lack thereof, are as varied as the customers who buy them, or ignore them. Sometimes the exact magic can be hard to describe, and even harder to duplicate. Yet no matter your niche, or your target demographic, you can still find clues by looking at how other brands have garnered attention and support for their products.

Here are a few marketing methods from different companies that show how you can earn a customer's attention, build trust, or motivate them to purchase.

1. Make an authentic video.

Since it first aired on YouTube in 2012, Michael Dubin's hilarious video for Dollar Shave Club has stood up as perhaps the greatest brand video of the past decade (and maybe ever). The video has been seen over 26 million times and was instrumental in helping Dollar Shave Club reach critical adoption before it was acquired in 2016. Yes, the video was incredibly funny, yet it was also authentic. Dubin stayed true to his improvisation skills and to the product. That's likely why it was so well-received, and shared.

Other examples of powerful and authentic brand videos include Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign, Gillette's "Best a Man Can Be" campaign and even Blendtec's "Will It Blend?" campaign.

2. Make a meaningful connection.

If you want to deepen trust and strengthen bonds with your customers, hone in on the values that you share. In a 2012 Corporate Executive Board study of more than 7,000 consumers, 64 percent cited shared values as the crux of their connections to a brand. And in the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study, 60 percent of respondents felt that brands should make their values more apparent right up to the point of purchase. There are many examples of brands that successfully go beyond the actual product and connect to a customer's "why."

M&C Saatchi L.A. nailed this idea in its "Print Your Legacy" campaign for Epson. Instead of focusing its efforts directly on selling printers, the Santa Monica-based creative agency built a powerful message around a shared passion for photography.

The campaign called upon photographers to commend the value of print in their creative work. By leveraging the voices of these artists to demonstrate the power of print, the campaign helped consumers tap into the deeper connection between themselves and the photos they take. This helped differentiate Epson as a leader in photographic printing.

Consumers don't always care about product features and specifications. Go deeper, and connect over the human emotions and meaningful motivations of your customers.

3. Go to the crowd.

It's human nature that people like to feel important. Smart brands understand that they can tap into that natural human desire and use it to garner interest and attention from consumers. Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing campaigns have proven this theory, and they are great for brands and customers.

In our crowdfunding campaign, we raised over $580,000 in just 30 days. Yes, those funds were important, but one of the most valuable things we received in those 30 days was the direct feedback from backers. While we certainly had core functionality decided at the time, consumers added perspective on how they wanted things to work, what features they liked and which ones they didn't. We welcomed the feedback and showed backers that we heard them. 

This was great for both sides. We received the funding we needed and valuable consumer feedback. Consumers received a product that worked how they wanted it to work, right from the first iteration. I also believe that we received more word-of-mouth marketing because consumers who offered feedback felt like they were part of the process, and part of the journey. That participation heightens their desire to care, and share it with others.

Fundamentally, this example shows how customers can help you create a better product while driving more attention to it. How can you open more feedback loops for customers to contribute their ideas, wants or needs? How can you elicit word-of-mouth marketing if you allow consumers to contribute their feedback to your ideas or creations? Ask yourself those questions and think creatively about how you can bring customers into the process.

Final word.

There's no way around the fact that customers are the lifeblood of any business. You need to get in front of customers. You need them to care and you need them to act. Consider the ideas above and think about how you can translate these ideas to your business. The answers won't always be identical to the examples above. It takes creativity to come up with the proper application of these ideas for your own business, products, and audience.

Published on: Apr 25, 2019
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