Think Brand Campaign!
For years, the catalog model has worked. We knew who to mail, when to mail, what to mail — and it worked! It was down-right easy to turn a few knobs and create incremental response. And while the traditional model still works, it’s certainly not as formulaic as it once was. In fact, I think we should challenge the model and perhaps take a lesson from traditional marketing and think about brand campaigns.
What is a brand campaign? My attempt at a short description would read as, “A strategic and methodical series of events or messages delivered across multiple tactics that expresses your brand in a meaningful way. The goal is to engage and excite customers and prospects alike.” The most important part of this description is “engage and excite.” And let’s face it — a mailed catalog or even a well-designed home page does not necessarily achieve this goal.
We can point to several brands that do this well. Think about Dove and their “Real Beauty” campaign. Dove completely understands they are in the business of selling BEAUTY. They also realize there is a gap in what their customers believe is beautiful. Dove created a brand campaign to change opinion and position their brand as a game changer. Brilliant!
A great campaign does not have to expensive. A wonderfully crafted message presented with a compelling video and supported by your catalog and website, could go viral in days. And if a campaign truly delivers the promise of your brand than your efforts should “engage and excite.” Think of a brand campaign as a new method of prospecting. If you can truly capture the heart of your target audience then research proves you are much more likely to sell product on the back-end. AND, if you can strategically encourage online participate (capture emails) then you have a unique opportunity to prospect without purchasing a single name.
There are a few catalog brands that have discovered the power of a brand campaign. One of my favorites is when Duluth Trading ran a campaign during the election of 2012. Duluth ran its own campaign pitting their “Buck Naked” and “Free Range” underwear brands in an online election. It was clever and certainly gained attention.
If you don’t think a campaign is worth the effort then think about “Wonderful Pistachios.” Yes, their commercials are silly and one wonders what a honey badger or Snoop Dog could possibly have in common with a Pistachio. But exponential sales followed.
Maybe it’s time more catalogers think beyond the traditional model and consider a brand campaign; not just a mail campaign!