Challenger Brands: Disrupting industries from fashion to fitness, careers to rental cars
The term “challenger brand” is becoming a buzz word of sorts in the marketing industry, as many brands seek to achieve the status of a disruptor. The term generally refers to brands that stick to a vision that may not fit into the status quo at the time. In more recent years, there has certainly been an uptick in the number of challenger brands coming to market, as many are boldly taking a stance on issues and causes that people care about.
These brands don’t just look to change perceptions, are also changing how brands can successfully connect with like-minded consumers. Experiential marketing has been embraced by those seeking to disrupt traditional channels as it allows for meaningful, face-to-face engagement with consumers. In person activation gives brands the chance to have real conversations go beyond a product or service.
Cause marketing resonates with consumers because, for many, it is important to associate themselves with companies that demonstrate similar values as their own. And when they do feel that they have a moral alignment with a company, that sentiment can have a lasting impact on brand loyalty. Many Millennial and Gen Z consumers will stay with a brand if it is one they have a strong emotional connection to, regardless of price.
As strong as purpose-driven marketing can be, companies can take several approaches in creating these campaigns. They require transparency and authenticity in order to earn consumers’ loyalty and trust. There are many causes brands can choose from and are wise to select one that integrates with their objectives and core values. Popular are environmental causes, many of which have been championed by brands such as CLIF bar, who installed solar-powered charging stations at the brand’s summer festival activations.
Globally, the cosmetics industry is estimated to reach $805 billion by 2023. Whether people (men as well as women) are embracing cosmetics to enhance their natural beauty or as an art form, there is clearly a hearty demand for these products. In recent years, beauty brands have used brand activation as a way to connect with their communities, and the results have been tremendous. The most recent success story comes from Sephora and their 20th “made for social media” experience, Sephoria. Consisting of 16 rooms and more than 50 brands, the downtown Los Angeles 2-day event hit all marks.
By designing the experience as a limited ticket event, Sephora successfully created an atmosphere of exclusivity. Team Elevate was fortunate enough to secure entry, and from the first moment to the last, attendees could take photos, try products, sign up for makeovers, and receive samples. Most notably, Sephora provided attendees with an opportunity to purchase items on the spot, giving customers instant gratification in bringing home the products that they loved. Even as attendees left, Sephora made sure to make one last touchpoint by providing a gift bag to each attendee.
One of the key reasons that pop-up shops have become popular in experiential marketing are their ability to multitask. Ecommerce brands use pop-ups to connect with consumers in real life, while big name brands use pop-ups to capitalize on seasonality, for example. These activations are not limited to a specific industry, product or service, nor is there a ‘blue print’ for their design or function.
Pop-ups provide brands an opportunity to be creative with how they engage with consumers. Most recently, Tetley’s created a pop-up in Toronto, Canada to launch their new Super Teas product line. But instead of a basic tea sampling, Tetley’s pop-up shop let attendees literally smash stereotypes through the use of tea cups and baseball bats. The concept not only highlighted the inequity associated with prejudicial attitudes but encouraged attendees to participate in an experience unlike any other. Check out the full details of the event here.
With Halloween in the rear view, it’s only natural to shift focus on the holidays. And with the season comes an increase in global consumer spending. In 2016, £43 billion was spent throughout December in the UK. And in the US, consumers are expected to increase their spending up to 5% per person this coming season.
For many brands, holiday marketing means an emphasis on digital and traditional media advertisements. However, the data show that it has become more difficult for brands to make a significant impact through these means alone. As a result, many companies are including an experiential activation in their holiday plans to reinforce messaging. Read on to learn how companies are using brand activation to create memorable moments with consumers this holiday season.
Many top marketing executives are declaring the death of the sales funnel and the birth of the “wheel.” The wheel represents the fact that consumer engagement is no longer linear. Marketers are now responsible for more than just leads. We are tasked with creating an ecosystem in which consumers are engaged, drawn to purchase, then engaged again. Experiential is one part of this ongoing relationship. As a result, events are not just one and done. In addition to managing an ongoing engagement strategy, often when one campaign comes to a close, a new one will take its place. With all that goes into the process of modern marketing, it is easy to let some priorities suffer.
The key to survival is time-management and organization. Recently, Entrepreneur published an article with 8 tips for effectively managing time. These apply to all industries and apply to life both inside and outside of work. From identifying your brain’s peak performance times to agreeing on priorities with your team, all of the tips can be found here.
As mentioned above, millennials and Gen Z seeks to align themselves with brands that support causes they care for and share their values. However, there are differences between these two generations that brands need to understand when marketing to either or both group. And while millennials are the current largest group of consumers, it’s important to look at behaviors of Gen Z, a group that is set to soon outnumber millennials.
One key trait? Gen Z are activists. And according to this Millennial Marketing article, they have grown up being “bombarded by fear and misinformation.” Because of this, they are looking for brands that are willing to be transparent. More specifically, they look to brands to combat the current fight over “fake news” and stand for the things they believe in.
Determining the success of an event requires analyzing measurable results as well as attendee sentiment. Generally, of post mortem is conducted, with stakeholders determining impact and lessons learned. Yet, auditing an event can be “mushy” at times, especially when different stakeholders seek different outcomes. This is especially true when attending a trade show or conference because of the proximity and similarity to competitor brands.
As this GES post suggests, an event audit can be broken down into three main parts, differentiation, innovation and immersion. By using these criteria, brands can ensure they are properly assessing their event, while still getting an idea of how they stand against competitor brands.