Because there is no one-size-fit-all approach to marketing, you often can find the best examples of marketing strategies by brands dominating in their respective industry. Here’s how five top brands go about their marketing efforts, and the key strengths of their approaches.
Summary: A content strategy that forms a defining part of the brand.
Some may argue that GoPro is fortunate because their product naturally results in highly visceral and immersive content that appeals to the emotions and encourages shares and interactions. After all, GoPro content is authentic and shareable. Undoubtably, when it comes to marketing, this gives the brand a clear advantage.
GoPro videos are a perfect match for global social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, or Vine, and at any moment a video uploaded by a user could go viral on any one of these platforms.
This incredible video has more than 27 million views as of this writing.
However, as powerful as this may be, it is just one element of the brand’s incredible success.
GoPro has vigorously engaged key communities, securing incredible brand awareness and adoption in key verticals; most notably in the extreme and adventure sports market. The brand also possesses a strong position in specific niches, such as road cycling and scuba diving.
For GoPro, it’s not so much the miniature cameras themselves, but the possibilities that they afford which generates leading brand equity. Nick Woodman, CEO and inventor of the camera, spoke recently of how the camera “has made nothing unfilmable” in an interview with the Telegraph…
Have GoPro made nothing unfilmable?
But the crux of GoPro’s success, and one of the brand’s greatest strengths, is user-generated content.
GoPro is constantly improving the technology users need to edit, upload, and share their videos (a GoPro app allowing users to do this on their mobile devices is expected to launch this summer). It makes for an incredible marketing strategy with multi-faceted benefits – the GoPro start and end frames for example, have become highly recognizable among users, setting an expectation in consumers’ minds for content that excites and entertains.
“When that GoPro logo hits, you know you’re about to see something interesting, and you pay attention.” Woodman said.“The majority of [our] video[s] come from our customers and it’s wildly authentic.”
Ultimately, it’s the ingenious way in which GoPro approach their content that defines the brand’s content strategy. For GoPro, content is as much part of the brand as the product itself – an incredibly powerful asset.
GoPro’s Marketing Strategy Key Strengths:
- Exceptional platform/channel synergy, with highly visceral and emotional content.
- Engage specific communities and key markets.
- Encourage authentic, shareable, user-generated content.
- Maintain strong brand visibility and logos across all content, which already has a distinct identity.
- Content is irrevocably tied to the brand’s product, and part of the brand’s value proposition.
Summary: Creative advertising, and clever use of sponsorship. Strong appeal for key demographic.
If social media popularity is an indicator of brand popularity, then with more than 19 million Facebook likes (as of this writing), Heineken is perhaps the most popular beer brand in the world.
Heineken has a reputation for delivering stylish, recognizable ads that embody the brand’s “Open Your World” global campaign. The tagline, which originated from a 2011 breakthrough ad (below), was credited with rejuvenating the marketing endeavours of a brand that until then had “struggled to find a breakthrough marketing message”.
The campaign appeals to the brand’s key millennial male audience. The brand’s focus on this demographic has led the brand to invest heavily in sports sponsorship: Heineken has established themselves as a primary sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, and as a result have been a staple of Wednesday evening football nights.
Recent years have been rewarding and well-acclaimed. Heineken recently won the 2015 Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the Year award where Philip Thomas, CEO of Lions Festivals, described Heineken as a brand that “lives and breathes creativity throughout its organization, and has a superb framework that allows its marketing teams the freedom to experiment while retaining the core essence of their many brands.”
Heineken brilliantly combines that creativity with a laser-focus on their key demographic, and constantly scales that across many territories. Heineken has built and executed a consistent and integrated multichannel marketing strategy.
As stated in this analysis from Mashable, “what makes the ‘Open Your World’ campaign so effective is that Heineken positioned it to be a platform, not a one-off commercial. With each edition of the series, Heineken created local executions and digital appendages that bolster the campaign’s messaging and reach new consumers, both on-the-ground and on social media.”
Heineken’s Marketing Strategy Key Strengths:
- Execute and scale a consistent, integrated marketing message.
- Creative and free internal marketing structures.
- Focus on their key demographic.
- Clever use of sports marketing, and engagement of audience via UEFA Champions League sponsorship.
Summary: Nurture and provide value for communities within a specific niche.
Twitch’s high profile acquisition by Amazon.com in September 2014 for $970 million affirmed the platform’s position as a force to be reckoned with. The platform’s tremendous growth has been a result of a simple, but extremely valuable value proposition: providing users with a platform on which to live-stream primarily video-gaming broadcasts. By February 2014, Twitch had become “the fourth largest source of internet traffic during peak times in the United States, behind Netflix, Google, and Apple.”
Twitch’s strength is rooted in their community, and furthermore, in the specific way in which they provide and nurture that community. As voiced in the following video from HP Matter, Twitch’s strategy “echoes a core principle of the internet itself: people want to learn and they want to connect with each other”. The role of the brand has been to “build a community around a niche and create clever ways of providing value.”
Twitch’s Marketing Strategy Key Strengths:
- Encourage and capitalize on fan engagement.
- Provide a platform on which users can connect and learn.
- Strategy defined around providing real value, and nurturing and providing for specific niches and communities.
4. Taco Bell
Summary: Astute understanding of audience, and an explorer mentality when looking to connect with people.
Taco Bell is well known in the digital marketing industry for their social media marketing prowess. However, that hasn’t always been the case. As recently as 2011 Brian Niccol, President of Taco Bell, spoke of how he had “[let the brand] become too much of a punchline.”
Taco Bell began a significant rebranding effort in early 2012, and crucially, a refocusing of the brand’s marking efforts toward social media. Ad Age, which awarded the brand with their 2013 marketer of the year award, explained how “to reach its targeted millennial audience, Taco Bell experimented with social media in ways other companies in its category have not.” As Niccol put it: “You have to go to these other screens, because in the end, kids in college dorm rooms don’t even have TVs, they’re using laptops.”
Staying on top of the user habits of their audiences has been a strength for the brand, but more valuable than that has been their ability to react to changes. Ten percent of their overall marketing budget is reportedly spent on media exploration, new platforms, and testing.
Taco Bell’s inaugural Snapchat film was credited for doubling their followers on the platform.
As outlined in this momentology article, many factors contribute to the restaurant’s social media marketing dominance, but ultimately they are rooted in a brand commitment to customer-centricity which aims to best understand and access a key audience. They aren’t afraid to take risks and they provide customers with the right content on the platforms they use.
Taco Bell’s Marketing Strategy Key Strengths:
- Commitment to social media, and maintaining an authentic presence that participates in conversation.
- License for, and budget allocated to, exploration and innovation of new media and platforms.
- Fantastic understanding of audience, and where they are consuming content.
Summary: Marketing which is both fueled by, and an extension of, company culture.
Nike is such a marketing powerhouse that many factors contribute to their success. Summarizing the strengths of their marketing strategy is no easy task.
Over the years, the brand has instilled an identity in consumers’ minds around specific values. By nature intangible, these values perhaps aren’t easy to place, but they do nonetheless deliver great brand value and equity.
The roots of their marketing success are embedded in the culture of the brand itself. Innovation, for example, is a quality the brand readily embraces on all fronts. Voted the “No. 1 Most Innovative Company Of 2013” by Fast Company, Nike has nurtured “a culture of true believers” that within the organization, utter phrases such as “if you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
Austin Carr of Fast Company describes how Nike’s culture extends into the brands marketing strategy: “that self-image is infused into every marketing message and product release, and transferred to a public eager to finally be let in on the secret.”
Nike’s advertising, marketing messages, and efforts are numerous and vast. For a brand with a global profile as prominent as theirs, these are fueled by a brand culture that lives and breathes their core brand values: athleticism, innovation, desire, and will. There may be more, but all of these will forge into one in the mind of a consumer, forming a collection of values that builds and adds to Nike’s brand.
Nike’s Marketing Strategy Key Strengths:
- Highly sophisticated brand culture (matched only by the likes of the Apples and Disneys of the business world).
- Marketing is an extension of that culture, and operates within that cultural umbrella.
- Marketing is united with the brand’s other departments: R&D, product development, all unite to form a distinct brand identity.