One of my clients once told me “Never ever enter business for anything other than profit.” While that seems like sound advice, it’s not necessarily the most attractive core value to announce to people. What’s interesting is, while profit is normally at the forefront of an entrepreneur’s mind during conceptualization, it typically goes with some grandiose socio-political quest or mission to save the world.
This is especially in times today when the emerging market (millennials) is gravitating towards organizations with values relevant to their lives. Would you believe that people today would pay premium for products so long as they are sustainable/support the under marginalized/organic/vegan/etc?
In the book 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers, the 27th Law talks about playing on people’s need to believe in something worthwhile to create a cult like following. As human beings, we have an overwhelming desire to believe in something greater than ourselves.
So when you are given the opportunity to support a company which stands for something that goes beyond consumerism, it plays into that specific need. Now knowing this, how do you incorporate this into your business?
Start with “Why?”
You don’t have to create a whole new dogmatic cause for people to start listening. All you have to do is figure out why you are doing what you do and why anyone should care. When you find the answers to those questions, then you can figure out how to market to your customers’ and potential customers’ emotional and intellectual sides. This is where the need to believe or stand for something plays in. Think about companies like SoulCycle.
The concept of going to a gym or any body movement/sport/martial art space is not new. But by showing that exercise, more than health, is a social activity they’ve made indoor cycling seem more like an exclusive club and less like a chore. Add in key messages like testing boundaries, changing bodies, and changing lives, and you have a fun, social, and status-bringing recipe to start your very own cult following of fitness people and people who want to finally make a change.
You also have companies like Alpha Finance which provides car leasing/financing for the credit challenged market. There has always been a gap in the car loan market when it came to assisting people who’ve have gone through or are currently going through a financial rut. While bad credit car finance is nothing new, associating the service with messages like second chances and being part of the customer’s road to financial recovery, and you turn a completely normal car financing company into this entity who actually listens and understands your struggle. When you add in that humanistic factor into your business, like-minded people typically gravitate towards you and you stand for. Who doesn’t want to support a company that believes that “every Australian deserves a quality car”?
Get in on the social media game
Speaking of creating a following, there’s one honey pot that you need to dip your fingers into: social media. Like it or not, social media presence can skyrocket your business and if you’re not in these platforms, you’re missing out on some serious marketing ammo. The beauty of social media marketing is that you don’t have to spend millions like you typically would in traditional media. However this may take more (and consistent) work, compared to simply releasing a 30 second advertisement on the telly.
Ever heard of the delightfully fruity and fizzy LaCroix drink? If you think that sparkling water can’t make waves in marketing, then you haven’t discovered the power of social yet. This flavored fizzy water doesn’t make a whole lot of TV ads, but they do excel in personalized social media responses. LaCroix actually engages with anyone who DMs, tags, hashtags, and sometimes even merely mentions their brand across all platforms. This is despite their 106k followers on Instagram alone. Even if only a small fraction of that engages them, that’s still a whole lot of responses per day.
Taking it a step further, they’re quick to adopt trending hashtags and partnerships relevant to their brand like the #Whole30approved campaign, and creating hashtags of their own to create hype like the #LiveLaCroix campaign. Lastly, they are absolutely killing it in the social media game by targeting micro-influencers instead of big names to expand their reach. Instead of paying millions for an A-list actor in a 30 second commercial, they pay with free products, event invites, and other perks in exchange for sharing LaCroix images with their followers.
Now how does this relate to your business?
What makes any social media marketing campaign successful is in targeting the correct audience at the correct platform. LaCroix’s market research showed that over 50% of their target market (adults aging 18 to 29 years old) are active on Instagram. This is why they doubled their efforts into making gorgeous lifestyle images that are sharable and replicable for their intended market, as is with the Instagram culture. Furthering this, rewarding social media influencers for their well framed personal shots with the brand and relevant tags catapulted them from grocery-store-ignore to the choice of drink for millennials.
Now imagine what you can do with your own market research. Find where your existing and intended audience hangs out, and be present there. With the right strategy, you’ll be able to create a (cult like) following of your own in no time.
Create quality content to show your “Why” and win social media
Content is King is still a relevant statement in the world of marketing today. More than just written content, your audio and video content must be on point if you want to gain a competitive edge. Your content can’t just be visually stunning, it must be thought provoking, tear-jerking, hilarious, or all of the above. Just like with products, quality content will practically sell itself in the right channels.
Take Jollibee, for example. Around February of this year, you might have seen the hashtags #KwentongJollibee floating around Facebook and Twitter. Even if Jollibee is a brand mostly known in the Philippines, their Valentine’s video series made noise all over the world. So much so that YouTubers from several different countries had created React videos to it on YouTube.
For a company that sells fast food, you would think that they’re just all about providing filling (though not necessarily healthy) meals cheaply and quickly, right? This may be the fast food culture in the northern hemisphere, but in the Philippines Jollibee has been linked to life experiences in all stages so people actually stay a little longer after their meal. This is why you would see images of grandparents treating their grandchildren, or couples meeting for the first time, or your entry-level corporate employee needing to eat on a budget in their ads. Jollibee presents itself as more than a fast food chain. It’s a place where real life happens and memories are built.
The #KwentongJollibee Valentine’s series was the perfect combination of great storytelling and excellent production quality, that its reach transcended further than its hometown. It just goes to show that great content that shows your Why can help you win social media. By the way, Jollibee’s Yum! Burger actually quadrupled in sales after one of their Valentines videos “Crush” was released. Talk about the payoffs of great marketing.
If you want kill it on marketing and gain a competitive edge as an entrepreneur, take a page from Robert Greene and Joost Elfer’s book. Make sure to show your core values clearly through the right platforms with great content. All the big brands are doing it, and with a market that values authenticity and principles over big brands and price, you can create a cult following of your own and catapult your business in no time.
Featured Writer: Danica Katigbak is a sassy scribbler and digital marketer, passionate about helping businesses through the power of the pen. From travel to finance, to beauty, to wellness, and everything in between, she’s all about enriching online experience through the sharing knowledge and stories. When her fingers aren’t typing away at a keyboard, you’d often find her around and about looking for the next mini adventure.