By Jennifer Borba von Stauffenberg
We all remember that famous line from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” Well, that really isn’t true anymore. Marketing and public relations have become a little more complicated. With a new generation of consumers unwilling to purchase when they are sold to, you have to get creative. Plus, there are thousands of ways to reach people, which means audiences are more segmented than ever.
For this reason, this is the decade of values and authenticity. You have to differentiate yourself and create meaningful campaigns based on truth and integrity. It’s not enough to simply have a great product or service. You have to identify a way to communicate that in a meaningful way.
For example, the rise of social media influencers was rampant until consumers started realizing that these people were getting paid to say cool things about brands. Suddenly, they couldn’t trust the integrity of the share and very quickly got turned off. The only influencers that are still influencing anything are the ones that have maintained strong integrity and authenticity, or their audience is too young to get it.
In the age of values, some marketing giants are nailing it on the head. Anyone catch the amazing E.T. tribute put out by Xfinity? That is exactly what I’m talking about. There was no reference to their products, but instead a reference to their why as an organization: to connect people. Their line: “Reconnect for the Holidays” reminds us that Xfinity is about connection – phones, internet, etc. and we know it intuitively. And even more than that, we absolutely love them without knowing if we should because they reminded us of the magic of our childhood. They took us straight to our 80’s living rooms where we snuggled with our parents and friends to squeal over the magic of E.T.
As you create your campaigns this year, think about your why as an organization. Identify the best ways to share that with your audience through storytelling that delivers what makes you a great company. Be mindful also of the mediums for which you share that information. Understand that people are looking for ways to express their values through their consumption. They are making purchasing decisions based on the things they care about most.
If you aren’t sure how to get started, here are several questions to help you on your way:
What is most important to your brand?
Why does your brand do what it does?
When you are performing at your absolute best, what are you doing?
How do you know you are doing that?
Who is (your brand)?
What won’t happen if your brand ceases to exist?
What could happen if your brand is wildly successful?
If you can answer these questions, visions of ideas will begin to develop. If you are looking for examples of values marketing, check out these recent campaigns released by Nike, Voices for Children, REI, and Tom’s. What you will notice about each one is that it speaks right into your heart. Just from the stand they take, you know they are doing good things in the world and in their communities. Be the next brand to stop us in our tracks and make us think.
If you’d like help identifying your brand values, email us at [email protected].