Understanding the Digital Sales Funnel

Navigating the complexities of online traffic and conversion is crucial for brands, especially those in the vitamin supplements and sporting goods space. At Pinnacle Brand Management, we specialize in outsourced digital sales and marketing, leveraging our expertise to guide brands through the intricacies of the digital sales funnel. Understanding the three key stages of this funnel is essential for driving engagement, building brand loyalty, and ultimately, converting followers into customers.

The Top of the Funnel: Awareness and Engagement

The journey begins at the top of the funnel, where potential customers encounter your brand for the first time. This stage is about casting a wide net to attract as many TARGETED and QUALIFIED prospects as possible. Social media outreach plays a pivotal role at this initial stage. Our strategy involves creating compelling content that resonates not only with our existing followers but also with lookalike audiences – those who share similarities with our current follower base. The goal is to foster organic growth, expanding our reach and introducing more people to the brand.

Effective content creation and engagement are vital. By actively engaging with our audience and delivering valuable content, we encourage social media platforms to amplify our visibility. Additionally, we employ targeted paid campaigns to attract followers who are likely to be interested in our products, further enlarging the pool of potential customers at the top of the funnel. Constant activity and innovation in content creation ensure a steady influx of new prospects into our digital ecosystem.

The Middle of the Funnel: Building Engagement and Trust

As potential customers become familiar with the brand, they move into the middle of the funnel. This stage is crucial for deepening their engagement and building a relationship. It’s about transforming passive observers into active participants by encouraging them to take the next step. A powerful method to achieve this is through value exchange—offering something of value, like a free e-book or sample, in return for their email address or SMS number. This not only provides them with something beneficial but also opens a direct line of communication for future engagement.

Encouraging prospects to visit our website, blog, or product pages signifies their transition from casual followers to interested prospects. This active engagement is a key component of nurturing leads and guiding them closer to making a purchase. Collecting contact information becomes a cornerstone of moving someone through the sales process, given the high conversion rates associated with email marketing.

The Bottom of the Funnel: Conversion and Trust

The bottom of the funnel is where the transformation from interested prospect to customer takes place. After navigating through the awareness and consideration stages, prospects at this stage are well-acquainted with the brand and are more receptive to making a purchase. Our strategy focuses on conversion and promotional email marketing, along with retargeting ads designed to remind and persuade those who have shown interest.

Conversion at this stage is facilitated by the trust and relationship built throughout the funnel. Retargeting ads and promotion-based campaigns are tailored to capitalize on this relationship, offering compelling reasons for prospects to make their first purchase. By the time prospects reach this stage, they are not just willing but ready to buy, thanks to the trust and familiarity built through their journey down the funnel.

Why Every Part of the Funnel Matters

Paying attention to each stage of the funnel is paramount. Brands that focus solely on conversion campaigns without nurturing the earlier stages will find themselves struggling to maintain a steady stream of customers. The digital sales funnel is a continuous cycle of attracting, engaging, and converting prospects into loyal customers. By investing in each stage of the funnel, brands can ensure a sustainable and effective digital marketing strategy that yields results.

At Pinnacle Brand Management, we understand the importance of a well-structured digital sales funnel. By focusing on targeted content creation, engaging communication, and strategic promotions, we help brands navigate the digital landscape with confidence, turning potential customers into loyal brand advocates.

Beyond Retail: The Power of Direct-to-Consumer in Building Your Brand

In a recent communique to shareholders, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos underscored a philosophy that has catapulted the company into the stratosphere of success: an unwavering focus on the customer. Citing the customer over 400 times, Bezos’s message was clear – success comes from prioritizing the end consumer above all else. This customer-centric approach is not just a strategy but a testament to understanding who really drives demand and loyalty.

At Pinnacle Brand Management, we believe in the intrinsic value of the direct-to-consumer (D2C) business model, a belief that is more relevant today than ever before. The common misconception that retailers are responsible for building your brand is a myopic view that overlooks the end consumer’s role in a brand’s success.

Retailers: A Point of Distribution, Not Brand Builders

Retailers serve as essential channels for product distribution, enabling brands to reach a broader audience. However, their primary interest lies in products that sell, not in the intricate process of brand building. It’s a fundamental distinction that brands must recognize to navigate the competitive landscape effectively. The essence of retail partnerships should focus on distribution efficiency rather than expecting retailers to champion brand development.

The Direct Path to Consumer Connection

Our steadfast belief in the D2C model stems from its ability to forge a direct connection with consumers. This model not only provides invaluable insights into consumer preferences and behaviors but also enables brands to tailor their strategies to meet consumer needs directly. The benefits of a robust D2C strategy include:

– Enhanced brand loyalty through personalized experiences.

– Increased consumer education around the product’s unique value propositions.

– Effective marketing that positions the product attractively in the consumer’s mind.

– Assurance of product quality and competitive pricing.

Emulating Amazon: A Customer-Centric Approach

Taking a leaf from Amazon’s book, every strategic move should pivot around enhancing customer demand and improving service to the consumer. The end goal is to ensure that every product, marketing effort, and brand initiative speaks directly to the end consumer’s needs and preferences, not just to the retailer’s shelf space.

By adopting a customer-centric approach, brands can not only increase demand but also create a compelling value proposition that retailers cannot ignore. A strong D2C foundation makes the path to retail distribution smoother, as retailers are more inclined to partner with brands that command a loyal consumer following.

The D2C Advantage

As we continue to research trends within brand management, it’s crucial to remember that the retailer is not your primary customer; the end consumer is. Brands that excel in their D2C efforts find an easier route to market in retail, not because retailers build the brand, but because a compelling direct-to-consumer strategy ensures the product’s marketability and demand.

Let’s take inspiration from Amazon and remain unwaveringly focused on servicing our customer — the end consumer. By doing so, we not only build stronger brands but also create a lasting impact that resonates across the retail spectrum.

Omnichannel in CPG: A Strategic Imperative for Pinnacle Brand Management

In the dynamic landscape of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), staying ahead means embracing change and innovation. At Pinnacle Brand Management, we advocate for a transformative approach to market penetration and customer engagement: the omnichannel strategy. This methodology is not just a trend; it’s a comprehensive solution for businesses aiming to maximize their reach, understand their consumers better, and streamline their pricing strategies across multiple platforms.

The Limitations of a Single-Channel Focus

Traditionally, many CPG businesses have concentrated their efforts solely on retail, significantly restricting their market flexibility, speed to market, and direct communication with end consumers. This singular focus can hinder a brand’s ability to adapt to market changes and customer needs efficiently.

The Power of Omnichannel

An omnichannel approach, with a keen focus on direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, revolutionizes how businesses interact with their market. By integrating multiple sales channels — including international, distribution, retail, e-retailers, and DTC — companies can offer a seamless customer experience, irrespective of where the purchase is made. This strategy not only enhances marketing efforts and consumer understanding but also enables businesses to test market responses to pricing adjustments in real-time.

The core advantage of omnichannel lies in its ability to maintain uniform pricing across all channels, ensuring consistency for retailers, distributors, and consumers alike. By leveraging insights gained from DTC pricing, companies can refine their wholesale, distributor, and international pricing strategies. This data-driven approach allows for a backward analysis to determine the optimal cost of goods, paving the way for a more strategic product distribution.

Addressing Price Fluctuations with Omnichannel

One of the prevalent challenges in the nutrition industry, and the CPG sector at large, is the hesitation to engage with platforms like Amazon due to potential price fluctuations. These fluctuations often result from supply and demand imbalances, particularly when excess inventory forces retailers to offload products at reduced prices. An omnichannel strategy effectively mitigates this issue by ensuring product availability aligns with market demand, thereby stabilizing pricing across all channels.

The Benefits of Diversification

Diversifying sales channels not only broadens a brand’s market presence but also enhances its resilience. In today’s fast-paced market, consumers expect convenience, choice, and value. By adopting an omnichannel strategy, brands can meet these expectations head-on, ensuring they remain competitive and relevant. Furthermore, this approach facilitates deeper market insights, enabling brands to fine-tune their offerings and pricing strategies in alignment with consumer preferences and behaviors.

The shift towards an omnichannel strategy represents a significant opportunity for brands in the CPG industry. By embracing this approach, companies can improve their market agility, deepen consumer connections, and maintain pricing consistency across all sales channels. For Pinnacle Brand Management, advocating for and implementing an omnichannel strategy is not just about staying ahead; it’s about setting a new standard for excellence in the CPG industry. As we continue to support our clients in navigating this journey, we’re committed to unlocking new possibilities and driving sustained growth in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Simplicity in eCommerce: Why Predicting Customer Behavior Can Cost You More Than Sales

In the competitive world of eCommerce, businesses are constantly searching for the edge that will make their online store stand out. Amidst this quest for digital superiority, there’s a common pitfall many fall into: the intricate prediction of customer navigation behaviors. This well-intentioned but misguided strategy often leads to unnecessary complexity, wasted resources, and, paradoxically, a detraction from sales. Through years of expertise and observation, we’ve come to a simple, yet powerful conclusion: simplicity reigns supreme.

The High Cost of Overthinking

For emerging and even established brands, the allure of creating a custom-tailored shopping experience can be enticing. The rationale is understandable; by predicting and molding the customer’s journey, one might assume they can steer behavior towards increased sales. However, this approach is fraught with assumptions and often leads to significant investments in time and money—with minimal return on investment.

The reality is that customer behavior, especially in digital environments, is highly variable and influenced by a myriad of factors beyond a website’s layout or navigation scheme. Attempting to micro-manage every potential interaction not only proves to be an exercise in futility but also diverts resources from more impactful areas.

The Shopify Solution: Trusting in Data-Driven Design

Shopify, a leading platform in the eCommerce space, offers a solution to this conundrum. With access to vast amounts of data and insights into online shopping behaviors, Shopify has developed a range of themes that are not just aesthetically pleasing but are also optimized for sales conversion. These themes are the result of rigorous testing and analysis, designed to accommodate a wide variety of shopping behaviors without needing customization.

By choosing a well-reviewed, standard Shopify theme, brands can benefit from the collective expertise of top experts in online behavior. These themes ensure that the sales flow is intuitive and efficient, guiding the customer seamlessly from browsing to checkout without unnecessary distractions or complications.

Customization with Caution: Enhancing Not Overhauling

This is not to say that customization is entirely off the table. The key is to approach it with caution and a strategic mindset. Shopify’s ecosystem is rich with plugins that can add functionality to your store, such as bundles, subscriptions, and upsell/cross-sell options. These tools can enhance the shopping experience and increase order values without disrupting the fundamental design principles that make the platform effective.

Conclusion: Simplify to Amplify

In the digital marketplace, where competition is fierce, and customer attention is fleeting, simplicity can be your greatest asset. By resisting the urge to over-engineer the customer experience and instead relying on proven, data-backed design principles, eCommerce brands can improve their site’s usability, enhance customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, drive sales.

Let’s shift the focus from predicting customer behavior to providing a straightforward, enjoyable shopping experience. After all, in the complex world of eCommerce, simplicity is not just beauty; it’s also strategy.

The Power of Consistency: Key to Sustainable Sales Growth

The Power of Consistency: Key to Sustainable Sales Growth

In brand marketing, simplicity often gets overshadowed by the allure of complexity. Many brands believe that to achieve a significant spike in sales, their digital campaigns and programs must be intricately layered. However, at Pinnacle Brand Management, we’ve observed that the most enduring brands have harnessed the power of consistency, mastering the basics before scaling to more complex strategies.

The Misconception of Complexity:
It’s a common misconception that complexity equates to effectiveness in marketing. Brands new to the market often aspire to replicate the intricate campaigns of established brands, overlooking the fact that these industry veterans grew their strategies over decades. This growth was not a leap but a gradual process, rooted in the consistent execution of basic marketing activities every single day.

Consistency: The Underrated Growth Engine:
The impact of daily, consistent marketing efforts is frequently underestimated. Brands often fail to recognize the compound effects of regular activities and how these can incrementally boost sales. If a brand struggles with executing simple, consistent marketing tactics, jumping into a complex campaign is likely premature and potentially unproductive.

Risks of Overreaching:
Launching a massive, complex campaign without a foundation of consistent marketing can expose unnoticed flaws in the sales process. Moreover, without a well-tuned algorithm and an engaged audience, these expensive campaigns can fall flat, yielding little to no return on investment.

The Path to Mastery:
Our advice is straightforward: Focus on perfecting a daily marketing calendar. Once this becomes a routine, scaling up becomes a natural progression. This approach not only enhances understanding of customer behavior and product appeal but also generates valuable data, transforming your brand into a more effective, data-driven entity.

Patience and Persistence:
Patience is crucial in this journey. Consistency isn’t just about repetition; it’s about persistent improvement and learning. As you commit to this process, you’ll discover insights about your customers and products that were previously hidden, setting the stage for sustainable growth and success.

In conclusion, simplicity and consistency in marketing are not just strategies but the cornerstone of long-term success. At Pinnacle Brand Management, we specialize in guiding brands through this journey of consistent growth. Whether you’re starting out or looking to refine your marketing strategy, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Elevating brand success in 2024: The power of digital communities

In the dynamic world of brand management, especially for new and emerging brands, the quest to stand out in the market is relentless. Brands often resort to strategies like product innovation, competitive pricing, and aggressive marketing. However, at Pinnacle Brand Management, we believe that the real game-changer in 2024 will be a deep-rooted commitment to the customer. This approach transcends conventional tactics, focusing instead on genuine support and engagement.

The Essence of Customer-Centric Branding:
Successful brands in the vitamins and supplements industry, where we primarily operate, understand that superficial customer attraction methods like discounts are not sustainable. The future lies in nurturing a robust customer acquisition and retention strategy centered around providing invaluable support. This involves offering information and resources that genuinely contribute to transforming lifestyles. More than just a business, we’re in the vocation of lifestyle enhancement.

The Role of Digital Communities:
Digital communities, particularly those within popular platforms like Facebook, offer a unique opportunity for brands. These communities serve as a virtual ‘home’ outside the brand’s website, where potential and existing customers already congregate. By hosting content in these communities, brands can facilitate two-way communication with customers and encourage interactions among them. This setting is ideal for fostering relationships anchored by the brand – the common link uniting these individuals.

Advantages of Community-Driven Marketing:
One of the most significant benefits of such communities is their self-sustaining nature. Once established, these communities can generate their own on-brand content, including user-generated content (UGC). This form of marketing forges strong bonds that are challenging to break. Moreover, this strategy aligns perfectly with social media platforms’ goals, as it increases user engagement and time spent on their platforms – a win-win for both the brand and the platform.

In summary, incorporating a digital community into your marketing strategy is not just advisable; it’s essential for future success. At Pinnacle Brand Management, we specialize in developing these digital communities. If you’re uncertain about where to start, we’re here to guide you in launching and nurturing your brand’s digital community, ensuring it becomes a cornerstone of your marketing strategy in 2024 and beyond.

Return Expectations for Digital Ads

Many clients ask us, “How quickly….” or “How much….” can we expect in return from our digital efforts?  Unfortunately, the answer is never clear cut and quite challenging to forecast without a few things.

To answer this question properly you need a foundation of repeated ad campaigns with consistent budgets, audiences, content, and events.

Much like a scientific experiment, manipulating and creating slight variations between campaigns help digital marketers nail down the best approach for conversions and controlling costs.  

If you already have several months of data, most digital marketers should be able to go in, review campaigns and make some predictions, however, if the campaigns were put in place without proper testing protocols coming up with an answer would be a complete guess. 

Starting fresh, with a sound initial database, we can normally make accurate and responsible forecasting after about 90-120 days.  This gives us time to build out proper segments, manipulate the audience based on engagement and select the proper content, budgets and offers to get the most optimal return.

The work does not stop there.  Campaigns need tightened up frequently, new offers need to be presented, audiences need refreshed and the content needs to be new and exciting.

For the best return for the most basic campaign, we always suggest abandon cart campaigns.  These are customers that have already made their way down the funnel and need some sort of nudge to remind them to buy.  For the most likely return, include an offer on the ad.  If you do not like offering discounts, simply get the branding in front of them as the reminder.

Feeling a bit more advanced?  Use Dynamic Ads to get the exact product in front of the customer that they have been considering.  This improves conversion immensely.

This probably sounds great but can be a bit scary for most brands to launch.  If that’s the case, let us know, we’d be happy to apply our experience to improving your direct to consumer sales.

What Is a Creative Agency? What to Know Before You Hire One

Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of work to forge strong relationships with people—and much of that work is done through marketing. Unless you have a powerhouse internal team to help you tell your story, it’s likely you’ll need a little support in crafting and executing your marketing strategy. But searching for someone to help you do that can be confusing. There are all sorts of agencies out there, so how do you know whether you should hire a creative agency, a digital agency, or an ad agency?

Here, we’ll break down everything you need to know about creative agencies, helping you understand what they are, why they’re different, and how to find one.

So, What Is a Creative Agency?

A creative agency is a term for an agency that offers a variety of services that fall under the umbrella of marketing and advertising. Basically, if you need any type of creative strategy, work, or promotion, they can help you get it done.

While some creative agencies specialize in one thing more than another, they usually provide:

Strategy Services

  • Advertising strategy
  • Brand Strategy
  • Content Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Social Media Strategy

Measurement and Analysis

Content Creation (AKA “Creative”)

  • Annual Reports
  • Case Studies
  • Blogs & Articles
  • Branding
  • Copywriting
  • Copyediting
  • Content Planning & Publishing
  • Data visualization
  • Ebooks
  • Explainer Videos
  • Graphic Design
  • Infographics
  • Interactives
  • Animated Video
  • Motion Graphics
  • Presentations
  • White Papers
  • Video
  • Motion Graphics (or Animated Video)
  • Microcontent
  • Photography
  • Web Design & Development

Communications Services

  • Media Buys
  • Paid Placement
  • Sponsored Content
  • Influencer Marketing
  • PR

In short, a creative agency is a creative partner that will help your brand tell its story.

What Does a Creative Team Look Like?

A creative agency is comprised of a variety of experts who can support your brand’s strategy. In general, that includes a mix of the following:

  • Art Director
  • Creative Director
  • Brand and Content Strategists
  • Account Directors/Managers
  • Producers
  • Writers & Editors
  • Videographers
  • Web Designers & Developers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Content Distribution Specialists

Depending on its structure, some creative agencies also work with expert partners, such as a video production house.

What’s the Difference Between a Creative Agency and Other Agencies?

This is a common question. While some agencies may provide services that overlap with a creative agency, many agencies focus on one particular service or category, such as:

  • Design agency: An agency that offers design services for a variety of visual mediums, including print and digital.
  • Digital agency: The moniker typically reserved for an agency focused on digital marketing strategy, often focused on SEO and lead generation.
  • Advertising agency: An agency focused specifically on advertising (digital, TV, radio, print, etc.). It may or may not provide marketing services.
  • PR agency: An agency that offers promotional and content distribution services to maximize brand awareness.
  • SEO agency: An agency focused on various on-site and search marketing strategies and tactics to increase traffic and lead gen.
  • Social media agency: Specializes in social strategies and, oftentimes, the management of social media accounts.

A creative agency usually encompasses one or more of these services.

How Can a Creative Agency Help You?

There are many services a creative agency provides. Whether you need them to fill in the gaps in your marketing team or take the reigns entirely, a creative agency can help…

  • Craft strategy. If you don’t know what you’re doing, not sure if you’re doing the right thing, or not sure where to start, a creative agency can provide the guidance you need to achieve your marketing goals.
  • Support your existing strategy. If you know what you want to do but need help executing your strategy, a creative agency can provide that support, whether it’s content creation, media placement, editorial planning, or social media advertising.
  • Provide expert knowledge and resources. A good creative agency has experience and insight to help improve your results. They know what works, what doesn’t, where trends are moving, etc. They also have a larger network of content creators who can help you (even if they themselves don’t provide the services you’re looking for).

You can also find full-service creative agencies that specialize in your particular industry or offering, such as B2B tech or entertainment.

How Do You Know If You Need One?

Not everyone needs a creative agency, particularly if you have a solid operation or an in-house team that is capable of executing your marketing strategy. However, you might consider using a creative agency if you…

  • Don’t have the resources. Some brands find it difficult to execute their strategy due to limited means, accessibility, or availability. A creative agency can help support your strategy with the infrastructure you need.
  • Don’t have the knowledge. A creative agency is staffed by expert creators who have the skills and expertise to create all types of content—and, most importantly, adhere to best practices.
  • Don’t have the bandwidth. Your team may be bogged down with other projects, meaning your marketing projects are delayed or backburnered indefinitely. A creative agency can help you create consistent, quality content at scale.
  • Are struggling to get results. If your current strategy isn’t delivering the results you want, a creative agency can advise you on how to tweak, improve, or revise your strategy.

If you’re still not sure if an agency can help you, here’s how to figure out if you need one.

How Do You Find One?

Not all creative agencies are right for your needs. We recommend interviewing several to ensure they’re the right fit for your brand. To help you narrow it down, check out these 12 things to look for in a creative agency.

How Do You Get the Best Work From an Agency?

A good creative agency is focused on building a long-term relationship with your brand, functioning as a true creative partner and not just a gun for hire. To get the most from your agency, follow these tips to build a strong relationship with your agency, try these tactics to work together more effectively, and determine how you’ll split the workload up front.

Written by Katy French for Business2Community and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Business2Community

Brand Storytelling: 5 Ways to Create a Customer-Centric Narrative

Narratives compel us. They’re familiar. They’re memorable (22 times more memorable than facts, according to one psychologist). So it’s no wonder that in an era of constant digital sharing and connection, companies who master brand storytelling are achieving – and maintaining – a global following. Businesses can engage with potential customers and make lasting impressions if they tell compelling stories about who they are and what they represent. But too often, brands focus their stories on promoting their products/services. They feign caring about world problems without real action. And they share text-heavy descriptions, facts and statistics with their audiences instead of more engaging, visual posts. For brand storytelling success, customers must be at the center of the narrative.

This doesn’t mean you can’t ever mention your products/services, but they should come secondary to the real, human element at the heart of your message. The customer should be the main character of your narrative because consumers want to do business with honest, empathetic companies. A Sprout Social survey revealed that honesty ranked highest among a list of behaviors consumers want from brands. What’s more, the most empathetic companies are among the most profitable in the world. One of the best ways to shift your focus to consumers – and boost engagement – is to harness the power of customer-led storytelling. When you showcase the consumer perspective, your audience will see themselves reflected in your story and feel more a part of your brand. Read more to find out how to create customer-centric storytelling.

Brand Storytelling: First things first

To start, iron out the basics of your anchor story to show why your brand exists and matters: its history, challenges, successes and values. With clear conflict, challenge and resolution, establish the story you want to tell, keeping it simple and consistent. Then, adapt your brand voice to tell that story with the customer, not the business itself, in the spotlight. Once you do, you will see more traffic to your channels as well as an increase in customer trust and loyalty. Here are some ways to get you there:

Hone your hashtag game

Create a few signature hashtags for your brand, and make those hashtags extremely visible. Invite customers to share and tag images of themselves on social media using your products or services. Place these invites in your product packaging or digital purchase communications, and remind customers purchasing in person, if possible. Use your website and social media channels to promote your hashtag. Offer incentives, competitions or prizes for customers who use it. Increased customer sharing will expand brand awareness and bring new customers.

Give up the reins for a bit

As carefully as you plan every aspect of your digital presence, turning one of your channels over to your customers for a brief time can be a scary but worthwhile practice. Let consumers take the lead to tell your story by hosting a social media takeover. This allows customers to share their thoughts, photos and opinions on your platform to a much broader audience than they’re accustomed to. You could invite influential customers to participate in a customer-led Q&A session, document an event from their perspective or share a day-in-the-life through photos and videos. Another way is to invite customers to write posts on your blog. There a plenty of options, but the key is to use outreach strategies offering a range of digital mediums for customers to help tell your story by sharing their own on your channels, with monitoring of course.

Feature visual case studies

Share customer successes by telling those stories – visually and from the customer’s perspective. People are interested in people, and these case studies are an excellent way to intrigue audiences with real people’s problems. And showcasing your products as an effective solution to those problems is an added bonus. The important thing to remember about this style of brand storytelling is that it must be focused on the customers, not the products, to achieve an authentic feel. Also, people process images 60,000 times faster than text, so tell these stories through a visually stimulating medium. Reach out to satisfied customers, who will likely be excited to share their stories on your platform.

Tap into your community

Consider the town or city where your business is based. Tune into what’s going on in your community, and look for what might connect to your company’s mission or products. Use brand storytelling to share stories about people and events in your community that relate to your brand. Sure, it’s a great idea to actually get involved and document any philanthropic work you do. But you should also feature the great work and stories of others, which will expand your reach and reinforce the values at the center of your business.

Share video reviews

Your customers have likely already published video reviews of your products/services. Find the most flattering ones and share them on your website and social media pages. If your business or products are new and reviews aren’t out there yet, create opportunities for user-generated reviews by encouraging your customers to upload honest feedback via video. Give them a platform for submitting or posting their reviews, and share the ones that best highlight your brand.

When you find ways to regularly publish user-generated stories, your brand storytelling strategy establishes an authentic, relevant voice among consumers. It would be foolish not to tap into such an accessible resource to demonstrate the value of your business. Your customers live the lifestyle your brand represents, and they trust their peers’ voices. Let them help you tell your story!

Written by Bonnie Harris for Business2Community and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Oliver Dumoulin

Why These 5 Brands Succeed with Minimal Marketing

The marketing game has shifted a ton over the last century—and it’s undergone yet another dramatic revolution in just the last decade. With the rise of online platforms, shifting consumer values, and an increasingly cluttered media landscape, traditional methods of promotion have become less effective.

Most companies that want to make a name for themselves are shifting their approach, pursuing content marketing and engagement marketing to build relationships with people, yet some successful brands have forsaken these forms of marketing altogether.

This isn’t something most of us can get away with, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be learned from these bold brands.

From cars to condiments, these impressive brands have created such a strong brand identity that fans naturally flock to them. No matter your industry, they may inspire you to rethink how you put your brand front and center.

1) Supreme

Fashion brand Supreme has firmly anchored itself as the ultimate tastemaker in the industry, cultivating an air of cool that has celebs and collectors lusting after their products. While the skatewear brand once advertised in its early days, it has evolved into a powerhouse that deals exclusively in street cred.

Their creative collaborations with high-profile brands (including Nike and Louis Vuitton) have made headlines, as have their novelties (including a Supreme-branded brick that now resells for $1,000). But it’s their restraint and exclusivity that has made them so popular. Everything from their products to their website is an expression of minimalism (FYI, their site doesn’t even have a metadescription), so it’s no surprise their marketing is practically non-existent, save for art film-esque clips and short announcements.

One of the “random” videos on their site, this short film shows the production of a Supreme-branded edition of the New York Post_._

Why They Succeed: Supreme thrives on buzz and an established relationship with their rabid fanbase. Their exclusivity and effortlessness is the hallmark of the brand, making people feel that any bit of new information or sneak peek of a collection is a huge gift.

2) Trader Joe’s

In marketing land, Trader Joe’s seems like a total anomaly. Their only marketing is their Fearless Flyer a simple, low-budget newsletter produced eight times a year, and they don’t have a social media presence.

What they do have is a strong brand experience, consistent throughout the store. Sampling is their largest “marketing” expense, the artwork and signage in their stores is handmade by artists, and their team members are friendly, cheerful, and personable. They don’t need to market who they are because they show you the minute you step into the store.

Fearless Flyler brand marketing magazine
. Business2Community

The February 2019 Fearless Flyer features product roundups and more.

Why They Succeed: They know exactly who their people are: well-educated shoppers who are intentional about their purchases and less likely to be swayed by traditional advertising. Thus, they focus on delivering on their brand promise: high-quality goods at affordable prices. As marketing costs money, it’s counterintuitive to jack up their prices to cover the costs.

3) Common Projects

Similar to Supreme, shoe brand Common Projects has built a cult following and major caché by approaching marketing the way they approach product creation: adopting a minimalist philosophy.

The brand was launched to serve a sneaker need: shoes that bridge the gap between athletic sneakers and dress shoes. Thus, they focus on clean lines, high quality, and a minimal aesthetic, which translates to their marketing as well. Their social presence is rarely updated, their business boasts just 5 employees, and they have no official HQ.

Common projects brands marketing
. Business2Community

The Common Projects website is pure minimalism.

Why They Succeed: They apply their philosophy to every aspect of their brand. Minimalism is not just their aesthetic; it’s a way of life. This understated, reserved approach to branding is one way they demonstrate their brand values, which highly resonates with their buyers—people with a penchant for style, quality, and efficiency.

4) Tesla

Most automobile companies are huge players in the ad game, but Tesla has taken a comparatively reserved approach. (In 2014 they spent $48.9 million on marketing, whereas General Motors spent $5.2 billion.)

For example, when they released a kids’ version of the electric Model S, they garnered buzz simply by retweeting customers’ home videos.

#MondayMotivation Idris Lay, a patient on our Rose Ward, has been taking a spin around the Royal Brompton Hospital after @TeslaOwnersUK surprised our paediatrics ward with a mini Tesla model. Read more Idris’ speedy ride around here https://t.co/fnPlyq28XG pic.twitter.com/Cbm1ymJefk

— RB&H Charity (@RBHCharity) February 11, 2019

Word of mouth and the ongoing antics of founder Elon Musk have created a brand full of intrigue and interest, leaving fans waiting to see what they’ll come up with next.

Why They Succeed: Tesla is largely focused on disrupting through innovation. Thus, they’re simply focused on creating the best product out there. Musk has said he’d rather put ad money into building a better product, and it shows, as their products speak for themselves.

5) Sriracha

How did this popular brand become one of the most popular condiments without ever spending on advertising? With a great recipe. Founder David Tran started off selling his homemade recipe in recycled baby bottle jars, networking with local markets and restaurants to get his product into the world.

Some 30 years later, the sauce has become a staple in the U.S. and around the world, thanks to word of mouth. Sriracha has never advertised and still has no social presence.

Why They Succeed: The brand has always let the product speak for itself. Even when Sriracha was sued by the city of Irwindale in 2013 after residents complained about the factory’s chili odors, Tran decided to invite the community into the factory to let them see the manufacturing process themselves.

After creating a filtration system for the odors, Sriracha began public tours, attracting 3,000 people a weekend. Most importantly, each person leaves with a small sample—always keeping the product in people’s hands.

Watch Master Sushi Chef Hiroyuki Terada’s tour of the factory.

How to Build Your Brand Through Marketing (Because You Have To)

We can’t all ditch our marketing efforts, but there are plenty of ways to build a strong community and connect with people to build a lasting brand—even using some of the tactics of these anomaly brands.

  1. Craft your brand strategy. Knowing who you are, what you’re trying to achieve, and how you’re going to do it is crucial to your brand success, whether or not your pursue traditional marketing channels. If you’ve never done one before, use our guide to craft a brand strategy.
  2. Know your voice. Whether it’s your website copy or Twitter feed, learn how to find and hone your brand voice in all communication.
  3. Share your brand story. Whether you’re telling the story of how your company was founded or offering a glimpse into your manufacturing process, there are plenty of ways to bring people into your brand story.
  4. Uncover the stories in your data. Proprietary data is one of the best sources of original content.
  5. Turn your culture into compelling content. Culture marketing is a fantastic way to peel back the curtain and showcase the people behind your brand.
  6. Lead with your beliefs. People want to support brands that share their same values.
  7. Build a strong brand identity. Your visual presence tells your brand story as much as your words do.

Written by Katy French for Business2Community and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Erik Mclean