At MNGR, we’ve been thinking about some of our favorite brands and why we like them. What sets them apart from other brands in their industry? What ad campaigns stand out? Why do they stand out? And most importantly why aren’t other brands taking the same approach to marketing?
All these questions feed into a few areas that we feel are crucial for effective marketing. Failure to plan and execute in these areas are some of the biggest marketing mistakes an organization can make whether they’re a young start-up or an established business.
We’ll save our power ranked ad campaigns for another day, but today we want to share our thoughts on a few marketing mistakes we see brands make and what brands can do to be more effective at positioning themselves.
1. Not Defining Your Brand or Your Brand Strategy
Having a well-defined brand is one of the most important aspects of setting your business apart from the competition. Without a well-defined brand or a brand strategy to guide and inform the decisions that your marketing team makes, your advertising will easily get lost in the noise created by the hundreds of other businesses in your field. If you are unclear about what branding is, you can read our post that covers what branding is and what branding isn’t.
Understanding your brand—who you are, what you stand for, and how you want your audience to perceive you is crucial because if you do not understand who you are, you can’t understand who your audience is and that is where marketing tends to fall apart.
2. Not Finding Your Tribe
In the same vein as branding and understanding who you are, it’s important for brands to figure out what community they serve and what problem within that community they solve. We call this finding your tribe.
Ask yourself, who are the people who will support your brand, support your mission, buy your products, and show their friends your product because they believe in your brand.
A great example of a brand that has found its tribe is Lunchbox Packs—a company that sells hydration packs but really leans into the rave/festival-going community. Lunchbox understands hydration packs are a MUST HAVE item for festival-goers who will fill up on free water and head to their favorite sets all weekend long.
Below, you’ll see a comparison between Lunchbox and Teton. Both sell hydration packs but Lunchbox is much more specific about who they sell to and why their product is better suited for that audience. They don’t have to say “we’re the cheapest,” they say “we build products to improve your next live event.”
Rather than trying to market their hydration packs to everyone who would need a hydration pack (hikers, cyclists, campers, etc.) they focus their marketing on the rave/festival community.
3. Not Taking Any Risks
When it comes to marketing, playing it safe is riskier than you think. A brand that plays it safe because they do not want to alienate anyone—because they want to sell to everyone and be for everyone— runs the risk of being for no one.
Taking [measured] risks is an important part of standing out as a brand. Today, the brands that stand out are speaking up about social issues they stand behind, taking chances and owning mistakes, and investing in their most loyal customers.
An example of brands that take risks are:
- Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’ ad starring Colin Kaepernick
- Frank’s Red Hot “I Put That SH*T On Everything” slogan
- Domino’s “We Stink” campaign
Each of these campaigns took risks that would potentially turn customers away, but instead, they saw incredibly positive results. Nike won an Emmy for their ad, Domino’s saw record sales, and Frank’s Red Hot has the most memorable slogan of any hot sauce out there.