Key takeaways

  • Conveying a professional image may not be enough. Sometimes it is the transparency in your brand story that will be the most well-received by consumers.
  • Beer brands are finding experiential approaches to be the most effective in combating declining industry sales.
  • The beauty industry is successful in maintaining a dialogue with consumers online. Now as they look to improve upon gender inclusion, this tool could be key.

Why being vulnerable with your audience can help win business

Digital saturation, marketing noise…these terms are everywhere, as companies try to reconcile the fact that the new marketplace doesn’t respond to marketing messages the way they once did. The internet is preventing companies from controlling their message and making it harder for them to convey it. Many times, teams are spending an extraordinary amount of time attempting to reset, revise, and revamp their marketing strategies in response.

This article in Entrepreneur provides sage advice for those brands seeking to increase consumer engagement at every level of the buyer’s journey. The author discusses the virtues of, and his own experiences with, transparency marketing. Transparency marketing is exactly what it sounds like, “when advertisers and companies include vulnerability and transparency in their marketing, it increases engagement.” He argues that companies may do well to shed the corporate façade and let the more human elements of their brand story take center stage.

 

Experiential marketing strategies 

How beer brands are bringing the brewery experience directly to consumers

Beer consumption is a popular past time in the U.S., U.K. and across the world, yet, according to recent reports, that could be changing. While consumption of craft beers is higher today than ever before, the industry as a whole is seeing falling sales. Some blame this shift on Millennials’ preference for wine (and increasingly cannabis as legalization efforts continue). But any way you look at it, a reduction in sales equals increased pressure for beer brands to compete. 

The adult beverage industry has long used experiential to drive sales. Now, to maintain market share and continue to compete, beverage brands are creating new, immersive spaces for consumers to interact with their brand and sample products. From beer “showrooms” to branded pop-up bars, these places give audiences everywhere a chance to experience the brewery atmosphere. MillerCoors’ goal to bring premium brand experiences to customers across the U.S. “taps” into that strategy (pun intended). The brand’s music-themed spaces “create a unique experience where we can make more meaningful and premium connections with consumers, and they become the cornerstone of representing the brand’s point of view,” according to the company’s VP Brad Feinberg.

 

Industry events give insight into the evolving state of retail

Toys ‘R Us closed the last of their stores in June, reminding brands everywhere of the disruption of brick-and-mortar retail. Experts continue to warn that retailers must make significant changes to survive in the current landscape. From adopting experiential shopping experiences to taking a portion of sales online, retailers are paying attention and adapting.

But some things in storefront retail are staying the same, including its most popular annual events. The MAGIC Womens’ Fashion show, a highly-anticipated three-day event held every February, is one of them. Here, designers face-off to earn orders from the largest retailers in the world. As the article points out, a gathering of this level “ultimately provides a unique lens through which we can examine larger business trends – from how customers interact with and promote brands to where and how they shop.” This year, vice president Kelly Helfman offered up points that all marketers should pay attention to. She discusses the importance of digital and social media in fashion and retail, pointing out that social content pushes shoppers to the store.

 

Keeping a two-way conversation open with consumers

In the modern world, brands can speak directly to their target audience. Sure, consumers have heard “direct” messages before in the form of ads or television, but in those cases, brands are talking to, not with, audiences. Now, digital marketing and social media have changed this landscape. And, depending on how brands approach these mediums, they can be a gift or a curse. Social has given brands a conduit with which to include consumers in the conversation. If they do so wisely, this conversation can result in increased authenticity and a better marketing strategy shaped by what consumers actually want.

Content and influencer marketing are two primary ways that companies create and sustain digital engagement. A recent video produced by AdWeek and Viacom showcases the importance of these two strategies to keep the brand/consumer relationship alive and thriving. Dario Spina, CMO of Viacom Velocity is featured, providing companies with key insights and advice.

 

How improving the real world through tech is good for business

With virtual and augmented reality becoming increasingly popular, it has become clear that objects can occupy the same place at the same time, albeit one via technology. And these platforms aren’t just another craze or only for gamers. They are changing the way we live, and how marketers are communicating with consumers. Companies from Samsung to 7-Eleven have recently used VR or AR to showcase new products and partnerships, or to raise brand awareness.

Virtual reality also has the potential to be groundbreaking for industries such as tourism.In these cases, companies “can massively increase sales by allowing people to experience the destination before they even book.” The tech can also be used in everyday life. Whole Foods recently used an augmented reality app to give shoppers allergy and food label information as they walked the aisles. The extent to which these technologies can go remains to be seen, but it’s clear that they have a place in our reality, now and for years to come.

 

Seeking gender inclusivity in the world of beauty and cosmetics

Beauty and cosmetics has traditionally been a woman’s domain. While men have long run the companies that have dominated beauty, women have served as the spokespeople. Enter 2018. Even a casual search online produces a growing number of male beauty gurus, including trans, genderqueer, and non-binary makeup experts who are securing their spots in the beauty world. YouTube is full of men showing off the perfectly crafted eyebrow, or divulging how to apply eyeliner like a pro. Making a move towards inclusivity is in beauty brands’ best interests. The game has changed related to who’s wearing makeup and who today’s target beauty audience is.

In recent months, brands such as Sephora, Fenty Beauty and MAC have geared marketing toward men, drag queens and others, showing their product isn’t just for women. “What we’re seeing in the beauty industry is [that] our customers are holding us more accountable, and I think that’s a really great direction to be going in,” said Brandi Halls, director of brand communications at cosmetics retailer Lush. The battle to increase representation without offending members of beauty’s traditional audience is one that many companies are eager to solve. But, either way, now it’s a mandate for virtually every beauty brand.

 

Immersive sponsorship experiences will win over sports fans

The sports world has seen its fair share of challenges in recent years, from NFL anthem-keeling to FIFA corruption allegations. One might believe that this could jeopardize sponsorships, as experts have spoken about the challenges brands might have in standing out when other distractions take center stage. Yet, many brands are finding ways to overcome these issues. One technique is to make their sponsorships more than logos and placements. Immersive brand sponsorships ensure companies drive ROI for their marketing dollars by creating an experience fans can’t ignore -or forget.

For example, Budweiser took center stage at the World Cup this year, launching the Bud Boat, a cruise that broadcasts key World Cup games on 17 different screens. Evolving its sponsorship of the games in this fashion is Budweiser’s way of celebrating the euphoria of soccer’s biggest stage. Budweiser’s boat takes World Cup viewership to a new level, providing a VIP experience for consumers instead of a logo splashed across a scoreboard.