The Truth Doesn’t Hurt, It Sells.

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Studies indicate that 66% of consumers, regardless of age, will purchase from a brand they feel is sustainable and trustworthy. The numbers are even higher once the Millennial cohort is isolated; at 73%. When companies and brands tailor their advertising with trustworthy information for their target customer, conversion rates are boosted 30%.

Demographics Are Everything
Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1960, were once considered the largest generation to ever live. This generation, for decades, has been the foremost influence driving business’s marketing efforts and product lines. But, all that’s about to change.

In the next few decades, the largest transfer of wealth, over 30 trillion dollars, will take place—from Boomers to the Millennial generation and their little brothers and sisters; Generation Z. Demographics are everything, and the aging of the Boomers and the rise of Millennials and Gen Z is going to severely change the marketing and business landscape.

Millennials and their younger counterparts look at companies, brands, and businesses through an entirely different lens than Baby Boomers, and brands are starting to feel the pinch of their critical gaze.

The Millennial generation is far more risk-averse than their Boomer elders. Millennials are more likely to value experiences over things, and will spend their money accordingly. They are not investing in real estate, and are far less likely to buy a car new and on loan, or even own a car at all. Furthermore, this generation is more skeptical of brands than their predecessors.

Trust Is Visceral
While trust has always been an important metric and component driving customer buying decisions, with Millennials, trust is now a key component, not a peripheral, nebulous concept. For them, trust is visceral, and necessary. Despite their young age, this generation and the one behind it are jaded toward the business and advertising worlds.

It’s hardly surprising. While Boomers came of age during the post-war boom, when housing prices, relative to income, were still affordable across socio-economic status, for Millennials this is not the case. Furthermore, this generation witnessed and experienced the massive fallout of the housing crisis of 2008. Since then, this generation’s trust in institutions and brands and businesses was severely crippled and eroded. To earn Millennials coveted trust in the business world, brands are required to operate in a trustworthy, and sustainable fashion. And, brands who are perceived as civically responsible will be more likely to obtain those depreciating Millennial dollars in the coming years.

So, how can a brand appear trustworthy to younger consumers?

  • History: By sharing the company history or brand’s personal story, offering social proof
  • Accountability, i.e.: ‘money-back guarantees’ or offering free trials
  • Affiliations: Proving authority through affiliation with other trustworthy brands in the sphere
  • Relatability: Approaching from a sympathetic angle by understanding the customer’s pain points. Telling stories in an informal, casual tone
  • Subtlety: Offer value first without requiring anything in return

Businesses will have to compete in this new generational ethos. Boomers will not be the largest holders of disposable income soon, and in order to stay competitive in the new market, brands that build trust with their customers will reign supreme.

Why Consumers Crave Real Connections

Connecting Digital to ExperientialImagine a tool so powerful that it could yield results faster than any other traditional marketing tactic. Not only would you be able to cut through the clutter and reach out to your audience, but also engage and get a reaction from them.

Enter the world of experiential marketing.

In today’s overly connected world, the amount of messaging we receive on every digital channel is staggering. Studies show that consumers see about 4,000 ads every day. On top of that, brands also have to compete with their audience’s social networks, friends, emails, text messages, and so on. With this amount of noise, there’s no wonder that consumers have raised the bar and become selective about the content they engage with.

Creating a Bond with Your Audience

Digital marketing has made it easier for brands to reach out to and engage a wide audience. However, most of the messages received through these channels don’t stick in the consumer’s mind. Just think about it: you can probably remember the content of a billboard you saw a few days ago on your way to work, but you can’t tell what the ad on the website you visited ten minutes ago was about.

Although we live most of our lives in the digital world, we still crave real connections. That’s why we go to concerts, attend events or watch sports competitions. The emotion and excitement of these experiences make us feel closer to our peers and, by extension, to the brands that happen to initiate them. Even when it comes to simple things, such as watching a horror movie, studies show that consumers feel a great attachment to the brands nearest to them when they’re scared or along (interesting, huh?).

The beauty of experiential marketing is that it allows you to spark powerful emotions and build a lasting connection with your audience that could transform into brand loyalty. And, it makes sense if you think about it: prospects are more likely to engage with your brand and mention it to their friends and family if you provide a unique and immersive experience than if you were to reach out to them with a standard online ad or sponsored post. We’re not talking about PR stunts here, but experiences that engage your audience and make them excited to share it with their network. Think about IKEA’s slumber party, Refinery29’s 29Rooms events or Red Bull’s jump from space.

Blending Digital & Experiential

You don’t have to burn a hole through your marketing budget to offer engaging brand experiences. Today’s technology has made it easier for brands to augment their digital marketing efforts and increase brand loyalty. With a VR headset, for example, you can enable prospects to see how it would be if they would use your products or services. If you’re a travel agency, you could use virtual reality technology to show prospects how the hotel room would look like or what they can expect to see when they reach their destination. These experiences engage all five senses, empower the consumer, and make them more excited about your offer than traditional tactics.

In Conclusion

You could have advanced tools that measure every possible metric, from impressions to click-through rates – and, that’s all good and necessary. But, the smile you manage to put on a prospect’s face is priceless. And, that’s where experiential marketing can make the difference and help you build a powerful bond.

We Recycled Super Bowl LII. Here’s the Replay.

As part of PepsiCo’s Zero Waste initiative, we were brought in to drive the message home at this year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Along with the PepsiCo Recycling team, we created Rush2Recycle, a high-energy activation featuring several immersive experiences, allowing fans to drop themselves into fun football action to see how many bottles they can recycle throughout Super Bowl Week. See all the action below in our Rush2Recycle highlight video.

Running parallel to the physical activation, we launched a website to drive awareness, while capturing the excitement through social media. Rush2Recycle.com will serve as an ongoing tool to further the movement through online engagement.
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This innovative project aimed to set a new standard for waste diversion at one of the nation’s premier events and inspire action across the country. The long-term goal is to recover more than 90% – more than 40 tons – of stadium waste by recycling bottles and cans, composting organic materials like food waste and service ware, and repurposing items through local community organizations.

For more information on this activation, visit Rush2Recycle.com or shoot us a note at info@canopybrandgroup.com.

Why Marketers Should Experiment More, and Worry Less

 

Worry-Less-CanopyThere is no room for failure – it’s an idea that gets thrown around a lot in marketing meetings. And it makes sense to think that way, right? Since so much planning goes into even the smallest detail of a campaign, it’s only natural to want to maximize your success. But, in their attempt to make everything go perfect, marketers and brands alike have become afraid of taking risks.
As a result, most marketing campaigns seem like they’ve been copied and pasted from the same guidebook. There’s little deviation from the common approach marketers use to promote a brand. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on crafting great content, using social media strategically, and getting people to talk about you. But where’s the creativity?

Finding Comfort in Failing
It’s not just advisable for marketers and brands to take risks; it’s almost imperative they do so. When everyone is singing the same tune, it can be rather difficult for consumers to identify an individual voice. That’s not an ideal scenario.

Industries like digital marketing, advertising, or product innovation are growing fast, and the rules keep changing. Your job isn’t just to follow the guidelines, but also anticipate what will happen next and stay ahead of the game.

Being groundbreaking is almost impossible when the fear of taking risks doesn’t allow you to move forward. Here’s the thing: failing isn’t a show stopper, but an opportunity to learn. It’s impossible to assess whether something will work or not unless it’s put to the test.

Marketers and advertising agencies have a lot of resources at their disposal to test the water before going public with new and ingenious campaigns, but often they don’t. And, that’s a shame considering that it can help you figure out what consumers want, especially now when they have learned how to tune out aggressive marketing messages and are looking for genuine communication with brands.

Failing Is Not the End
When the Gap changed its logo back in 2010, it wasn’t just that people didn’t like it – it sprung outrage. The logo itself wasn’t the catalyst for public discontent (though people had a blast criticizing it on social media), but how they handled it. The company asked people to send in their logo suggestions, which in turn sparked a lot of criticism, with some even saying the entire thing was just a marketing scheme to get a rebrand for free.

As you might already know, the Gap is still going strong. The failure didn’t push the brand into oblivion, but it made it more aware of one simple fact: if your audience feels you’re dishonest, they will reprimand you for it. The same things happened with the Tropicana repackaging or Pepsi rebranding. All three brands were suddenly confronted with the clear possibility of failure, and yet all three managed to overcome these stepping stones and continue to thrive.

If there’s any take away from this text, it’s this: failure isn’t as deadly as you’d think, as long as you learn your lessons from it.

 

How to Make it Go “Viral”

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How to Make It Go “Viral”
Search for “how to go viral” on Google, and you will get over 15 million results and a seemingly endless list of blog posts, articles, or studies presenting with great precision the steps you need to take to reach a massive audience. It seems that everyone and their mother wants to learn how to create viral content.

Marketers know this scenario all too well: a client, at one point, will express their desire to make their brand viral. Even those who don’t bother with the intricacies of marketing know that once you have a piece of content disseminated on a large scale by people, you’ve made it big. But is viral content something that you can control or, better yet, craft at wish?

How to Make Something Viral
At least, in theory, marketing agencies know how to make a video, post, ad, or any form of content go viral. It’s not exactly a secret recipe – a short analysis of previous viral materials can result in a lot of useful information on how to make a particular brand famous.

So, how do they do it?

Well, they’ll most likely carve out a strategy that will contain everything from what words to use in the headline, what Social Media platform to use, and when to publish the content or launch the campaign to get the biggest impact. They’ll look at popular trends online and try to integrate them without making it look forced.

While all these tactics can certainly boost up the visibility of your campaign, there’s no guarantee it will take the internet by storm. Celebrities or big brands that already have a generous following have a better chance of creating content that will spread like wildfire. Those with a modest follower count, however, have to rely on luck.

Here’s the thing: there are an average 6000 tweets posted per second, totaling up to roughly 500 million tweets per day. And, don’t let us get started on other social media platforms. The amount of content posted every day is insane. One truth that you must accept is that the internet is unpredictable.

So, Should You Try It?
There’s nothing wrong with contacting a marketing agency and hiring them to plan a campaign for your brand, obviously. But going into the meeting with the sole intent of becoming viral can bring to light some disappointing outcomes.

Marketers know the odds of a smaller brand going viral. It’s not great – let us tell you just that. Unless you’re Beyonce or Pepsi, you can’t make something go viral.

What You Can Do
Instead of focusing on quick ways to get viral, talk to an agency or marketers about a campaign that can generate some buzz around your brand the old-fashioned way: by going directly to the people interested in what you’re offering.

Sure, you won’t be taking over the internet, but you can still gain some visibility and status. So, try to think long-term and focus on tactics that although don’t bring impressive results quickly can help scale your business.