The biggest brands in the world didn’t get where they are overnight. Without exception, each has a long story of sweat and tears. How did they manage to overturn their fortunes to become pillars of the world economy?
An in-depth look at the marketing strategies used by these giants reveals more of what powers their success. These are ‘secrets’ that any business can use to unlock their potential.
The world business stage has changed greatly since the 19th century. Partly powered by the industrial and digital revolutions, consumer trends and tastes have shifted. For example, luxury brands are growing exponentially, proving that people are buying an experience rather than utility.
Markets have also become more global so that any business that wants to achieve success must not be limited by geographical borders. These general tidbits set the mood for the main course, which you can find below.
5 Best Marketing Strategies From the World’s Top Brands
Stand For A Cause
Tell Your Story
Hype Your Product
Consistency (Coca Cola, Nike)
Almost anyone in the world will recognize Coca Cola’s red logo. In its 128 years of existence, the company has been selling the same brand, maintained the same logo, and even the same message across various product lines.
Again, almost everyone in the world will recognize Nike’s iconic swoosh logo. The Complex magazine once rated it as the most recognizable brand logo of all time.
These two global giants have used consistency to maximum effect, creating a brand that customers everywhere in the world can identify with. When you are such a big part of people’s lives, success is not a far way off.
While you need to keep innovating and reacting to market dynamics as a business, let your core message, your value proposition, remain the same. Consumers value reliability and consistency, and once you can provide this they will be happy to identify with your brand.
Create Experiences, Appeal to Emotion (Apple)
Marketing strategies are not just about promoting brands, products or services. It’s also about creating experiences for the consumer. You have got to stand out from the pack, be unique, and connect with people on a more personal level than ‘product/user’.
In the 21st century, people are no longer interested in just utility. The most successful brands appeal to friendship, family, warmth, inspiration, happiness, and even laughter (Doritos).
Called Brand Intimacy, this emotional connection with your consumers leads to a higher perceived value. They think more about the benefits they stand to gain from your products rather than what it is actually worth.
The six major emotions, according to experts, are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. You should tailor your value proposition to appeal to one of these.
Apple is a trailblazer in this approach. It is able to set such high markups on its products and still sell millions. Even though it sells products of exceptionally high value, Apple doesn’t capitalize on the quality but the perceived experiential value.
One of the marketing strategies by Apple states that “a phone should be more than just a collection of features.” If you think about it, Apple’s value proposition is never about what their products are, but what experiential benefit it offers.
Stand for A Cause (Whole Foods)
By now, you will have noticed how many brands are leveraging on the ‘Save the Earth’ and vegan movements. Other brands have a brand animal, others have a core value they stand for. It could be integrity, it could be loyalty, and it can even be safety.
The point is, let your brand stand for something. Since you cannot please everybody, you are better off connecting with your target group on a deeper level.
Another similar strategy is segmentation. You can focus on different groups and target them differently to achieve this goal.
Numerous studies have since proven that millennials, who make up the largest portion of the population (75% by 2025), prefer to buy from brands that stand for something. Does your marketing strategies include a feel-good, do good cause?
One of the most successful brands to do this is Whole Foods. Capitalizing on the organic and healthy food movement, it has grown to be a global brand with a cult following because it stands unswervingly for healthy, organic food.
Tell Your Story (Ford)
Do you know why every company has an ‘About Us’ section on their website? It’s all about being able to tell a story to your consumers. If you are able to enthrall them with yours, you will stand out from your competitors and appeal to your consumers on a deeper level.
Ford’s VP of communications, Mark Truby, says, ‘A good story makes you feel something … They want to grasp your values and your commitment to excellence; be inspired and intrigued. Storytelling is the most powerful way to convey these ideas.’
A good story for your brand helps your consumers understand your brand. You can also associate each product with a unique story, like Nike does. The company tells the story of how some of their famous shoes have been on epic journeys, and it helps them sell their products.
Motor vehicle companies excel at this. Mercedes has a program that keeps track of vehicles that hit 250,000 miles, 500,000, up to a million miles and awards them with a unique medal.
They will then tell the story of that car, consumers will tell it, and at the end you get a brand that consumers identify with.
One way you can do this as a business, even a small one, is by getting consumers to tell their stories and how your brand intersects their lives. For a free product, a gift card, or some other gift, most people are happy to share their positive reviews.
Such ‘reviews’ serve an even better purpose: they create trust. Some of the best products even have forums where people share their experiences. Think Tesla, Microsoft, Android, etc.
Think about what makes your brand unique and interesting. You can tell stories about your employees, some behind the scene photos, and especially maintaining social media pages like Instagram.
Hype Your Product (Apple)
Apple is best known for this type of marketing strategies. Any marketer knows how to create hype, but the top companies do it differently.
Apple excels at creating an aura of mystery around their products. When a product is in development, it keeps a tight rein on information and only ‘leaks’ certain juicy elements. It keeps people speculating for months, and by the time the product is released people want to buy without caring for what the product actually has.
Another genius way to create hype is by using social media influencers. These people have cult followings that elevate them to a ‘god’ status among their fans. And, they are very good at hyping people up.
A strong social media strategy, apart from creating hype around your product, also establishes brand authority. You can use highly visual media like videos, images, GIFs, and more to get people to share, like, comment on, and generally engage with your brand.
Another more subtle way of doing this involves talking to your consumer base in their own language. Marketing is all about the consumer, not the product. You need to learn what they are talking about, and then craft your marketing strategy around them.
Marketing has grown from its old perception of ‘stretching the truth’ to be more about connection. These global giants connect with people’s lives in a very intimate way. The key to growing your business, then, is taking these marketing strategies and adapting them to your cause.
No matter the size of your business, you can borrow these revolutionary tips to achieve massive success. After all, 10 of the world’s biggest companies started from garages.