Alicia Kan | SEO-driven content | Marketing

Marketing

Woman working out at home

As the Pandemic Lingers, Brands Master the New Normal

COVID-19 has upended consumer behavior like nothing else. Lockdowns have created homebodies who cut back on discretionary spending, embarked on a gardening binge, and remodeled and renovated to the point that American saw mills ran out of lumber.

The challenge now for brands is to understand their role in the new normal. Several, like the below, are finding novel ways to position their offerings and stay relevant during turbulent times.

Getty Museum Challenge: Bringing the Museum Experience Home

Getty Museum Challenge Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid’s Garden by John William Waterhouse

One of the most popular Getty Museum Challenge entries on Reddit was u/moorelei's take on Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid's Garden by John William Waterhouse

Like retail, restaurants and airlines, museums lost consumer patronage during COVID-19. The American Alliance on Museums estimates that US museums are losing $33 million a day due to closures. Can these institutions stay relevant at a time when everyone is hunkered down at home?

The Getty Museum proved that they can. In late March, it issued a challenge on social media to recreate famous works in their collection using household items. Thousands of entries later, the Getty Museum Challenge has kept boredom at bay, given home schooling-stressed families a creative diversion and, most importantly, made art accessible to a wider swathe of people.

Successes like this campaign have inspired other museums to experiment with live streamed tours, virtual visits, Zoom lectures, and other digital ways to experience their collections. For organizations that have traditionally relied on foot traffic in the past, how can you bring the experience to users’ homes? What assets can you leverage to draw in users?

You can find more entries to the Getty Museum Challenge on Instagram with the hashtag #betweenartandquarantine.

OffLimits Cereal: Rejuvenating a Tired Category

OffLimits cereals

OffLimits cereals for morning larks and night owls

With dining out a distant memory, how did people’s eating habits change during COVID? According to food manufacturers, households stockpiled flour, canned soup and cereal. The last has undergone a dramatic turnaround during COVID. After years of sales declines, the once moribund cereal sector is having a renaissance as homebound consumers appreciate its convenience and price.

It may have taken a pandemic for cereal to make a comeback but for new brand OffLimits, cereal is nostalgic yet ripe for reinvention. The cocoa-and-Intelligentsia-coffee flavored Dash is meant as a morning booster while vanilla-and-pandan Boost is designed to help wind down the day. In an old school throwback, all purchases are eligible for tickets that can be redeemed for toys. The toy range at the moment comprises key chains, custom Sharpies, and spray paint.

When Vogue asked OffLimits founder Emily Miller why she focused her efforts on a new kind of cereal, she answered, ‘Why couldn’t there be something fun like Tony the Tiger mixed with the healthy ingredients Mom would approve of?’ As more homebound consumers rediscover packaged goods, brands that innovate in this space will be the new grocery winners.

Stella Artois: Giving Back to the Sector it Knows Best

First written up in Marketing Dive, beer brand Stella Artois created a social media campaign that is true to its roots and hones in on a sector it knows best: bars and restaurants.

Anchored by messaging that said ‘there is always an after’ to a crisis, the campaign encouraged consumers to purchase vouchers for use at these small businesses. Stella Artois will match the value of the vouchers once they are used after the health crisis is over. According to Marketing Dive, the beer brand raised over $2.5 million across 10 countries where the campaign ran.

What made Stella Artois’ campaign so different from the generic COVID commercials that were widely panned in this video supercut was positive, measurable impact on stakeholders with which it had deep relationships. McKinsey, back in 2009, wrote a seminal piece on how companies should choose corporate social responsibility initiatives, and of the principles it outlined in that article, smart partnering holds true in this COVID case study. Small bars and restaurants benefited from the beer brand’s size, presence, and knowledge of their space while the benefit to Stella Artois was enhanced corporate reputation.

KEPT: Luxury in the Most Unexpected Places

KEPT Cleaning Supplies

KEPT's cleaning tools are meant to be displayed

As consumer categories waxed and waned during the crisis, one has exploded beyond expectations: home cleaning products. Packaged goods giants Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and Procter & Gamble have said that they expect consumers’ heightened cleaning habits to continue beyond the pandemic.

Which makes brands like KEPT not only prescient, but poised for success. KEPT gives the lowly dustpan, broom and feather duster the designer touch, making them unexpected luxury items. The utility set pictured above, consisting of an inky black broom, feather duster, dust pan, brush and pegboard, costs $458. And it’s out of stock.

‘I wanted this collection to hit the sweet spot of products that are thoughtfully designed and made — buy once, buy well,’ said Kara Mann, interior designer and the brand founder, to Silicon Valley magazine. ‘It’s a broom that you don’t have to hide away; you can hang it on a pegboard and use it because it feels good in your hand and sweeps beautifully.’

With consumers stuck at home, the whole construct of luxury has changed. Investing in a $2,000 designer bag makes no sense when there’s no opportunity to show it off; instead, the new must-have is a Peloton bike. Luxury brands might want to take a leaf from KEPT’s notebook and understand how it can still inject that little bit of luxe in a home setting.

One brand that has understood this, years before COVID, is Armani. Its dark chocolate and hazelnut spread is the designer version of Nutella.

Blank packaging

Use This Handy Asset Checklist For Branding or Rebranding

The exciting thing about branding is starting a new identity from scratch. In the case of rebranding, it’s giving something old and tired a new lease on life.

What’s not quite as fun are the million-and-one fiddly details that go into the exercise.

Wado sneakers with green trim

The Anatomy Of A Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

With crowdfunding transaction values expected to hit $1.04 billion in 2018, it’s tempting to think that with a bit of elbow grease and a lot of social buzz that any entrepreneur could have a slice of that enormous pie.

There are reams of information on how to create a successful crowdfunding campaign, how to pick the best crowdfunding platform and the most successful crowdfunding projects. They’re packed with detail and offer so much great advice that you don’t need another blog post regurgitating what was said.

You may, however, want to take a closer look at a current (2018) case study of a campaign that worked. This campaign is Wado, a line of sustainable sneakers created by a trio of Barcelona-based entrepreneurs. The Kickstarter campaign goal in March was to raise 11,000 euros or about $13,500. Instead the campaign raised 363,761 euros or nearly $447,000.

Dior's Spring 2017 feminist t-shirt

Going For Woke: How Brand Activism is the New Path to Profit

‘These creatives are trying to make their toilet paper save the world.’
 
So opined fellow creative Rob Baiocco of BAM Connection, who was wryly commenting in a Guardian article about marketers’ new pursuit of social justice cred.
 
Is endowing the most banal of products with meaning as ludicrous as one would think? In October 2017, because the subject intrigued me as a marketer, I conducted my own research using SurveyMonkey.
 
The findings showed that, increasingly, consumers choose brands that are aligned with their values and shed those they perceive as a mismatch.
Atelier Manille leather wristlet

Best Practices in Etsy SEO

When my sister and I started our Etsy shop, we had no clue on how to make our products stand out among the 45 million sold by 1.9 million sellers.

Happily we managed to sell half of our stock within 3 months of operation, during one of the most competitive retail seasons of the year, a development we hadn’t expected.

Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada

5 Golden Rules for Pitching to the Press

Pitching to the press must count as one of the more nerve-wracking tasks in marketing.

Trolls on your Facebook brand page? Par for the course. Disparaging comments on your blog posts? Comes with the territory.

Having a journalist hang up on you? You’ll be smarting from the rejection for days.

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