3 Strategies to Reinvent Your Marketing and PR Playbook
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Technology has forever changed the way we learn about new brands and interact with our favorites. With smartphones always at our fingertips, we are constantly being bombarded with information, and brands are battling it out to earn our attention. This competition puts increased pressure on marketers to cut through all the noise and keep their brands top-of-mind and relevant with customers.
Try a reverse.
If marketers in your industry all gravitate toward a particular strategy or tactic, here's the question you should ask yourself: Is this really the best way to reach your own customers?
In the insurance industry, for example, fear-based marketing is a common approach. Much of the insurance advertising you see focuses on fear and the need to minimize risk. At Hiscox, we believe that nothing great can happen without risk. We don't fear risk, rather we fear not taking the risk. Our "Encourage Courage" brand platform has resonated with business owners because it celebrates the positive power of risk-taking. We communicate to our customers that insurance helps alleviate fear and risk, and it gives you the freedom to pursue your dreams. Breaking with the norm and taking an alternative approach makes people sit up and take notice.
If everyone in your industry operates from the same playbook, how can you demonstrate your unique value to your customers? In the case of Hiscox, we focused our efforts on a long-term relationship built on courage rather than a potential short-term sale driven by fear. You could take a similar approach and run a new play that challenges conventional wisdom.
Be a conversation starter.
If the industry thought leaders and influencers all talk about the same topic, there's a good chance it's already a trend and yesterday's news. While it's important to be able to weigh in on the trends that impact your industry, if you don't the join the conversation early, you're not going to be heard amid all the noise. It's sort of like talking at a rock concert. The people you're speaking to won't be able to hear you and there's a good chance they may not even try.
If you want to separate yourself from the pack, you need to start a new conversation. Identify the topic gaps in current discussions and offer a social-by-design topic that everyone should be talking about. You'll move the conversation in a new direction, and you'll be credited as a thought leader who can introduce fresh topics rather than one who regurgitates stale talking points.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Teach your team to be storytellers.
We all know how important storytelling is in marketing. Customers will remember powerful stories about your brand if they're compelling and shareable. And while this strategy and practice sounds good on paper, it's not so easily executed.
When I worked on the agency side, I once had a meeting with client to discuss the pitch we were sharing with the media. We had tweaked the pitch the client had originally created, and turned it into a captivating story. While the company's original pitch may have worked well in a conference room, our practical experience gained in pitching stories to the media provided us a unique advantage in recognizing that it would not resonate with the intended audience.
Let's face it: There are people on your team who are great storytellers. Whether it's the way they talk about the product or the company culture, or the way they recount the employee basketball team's epic comeback to win its first (and only) game of the season, these people know how to get and keep your attention.
Pull this group together and turn them into your "storytelling ambassador network." Give them ownership over a particular topic or "beat," such as customer service, product marketing, culture and innovation. This team of storytellers should meet with groups across the organization to teach other employees how to tell that story, so they can effectively bring these topics to life on their own. If everyone is working from the same script to tell these compelling stories, the messages will start to have an effect on your company's perception over time and will impact sales in a positive way.
Your audience is out there and they're listening. If you have the courage to say something new, you just might surprise them and welcome a new batch of customers.