Did you notice something about the commercials for this year’s Super Bowl? Besides the fact that this was a pretty weak crop of ads, the few that did stand out had something in common. These spots weren’t really about a product as much as they were about passions and beliefs.
Self-image, especially among young girls.
Caring and loving others.
Think about your passions. The things, ideas, people and beliefs that you care about. These are the things that move you, that don’t just hold, but arrest your attention.
The vast majority of the marketing in this country is aimed at promoting products. But the small percentage of marketing that breaks through the clutter and grabs your attention typically has one common trait: The best marketing isn’t focused on a product, it’s focused on the passions of its customers.
Watch this Red Bull commercial and ask yourself “What product is Red Bull selling here?”
I would argue that this spot isn’t designed to sell Red Bull’s energy drink. It’s designed to sell what happens after you drink it. Freedom. Individual accomplishment. Pushing your personal boundaries and reaching goals that you thought were out of reach.
These are themes that many of us are passionate about. Very few of us are passionate about an energy drink, and Red Bull knows that. So instead, the company focuses its marketing on the ideas, themes and beliefs that its customers are passionate about.
And in turn, that helps Red Bull’s customers become more passionate about Red Bull. The key to successful marketing isn’t to promote your product, the key to successful marketing is to promote the passions and beliefs of your customers that your product fits into.
Patagonia is another company that markets its passions moreso than its products. In 2011, Patagonia launched a ‘Don’t Buy This’ campaign encouraging customers to think twice about whether or not they really needed a new coat or jacket. Or if they decided to buy one, buy used versus new. The campaign from Patagonia was at attempt to combat materialism and consumerism.
And it didn’t work. Patagonia’s sales spiked 30% as a result. Why did this happen? Because customers felt that Patagonia’s beliefs and passions were in line with their own, and as a result they felt that Patagonia was trustworthy, so they bought from the brand. Patagonia’s marketing resonates with customers because it’s clearly focused on the company’s beliefs, not the company’s products. Customers that share those beliefs, are drawn to the company’s marketing as a result.
If you want to grab my attention, stop focusing on marketing your products and instead focus on my beliefs. More specifically, craft your marketing messages so that you explain to me how your products relates to the ideas, beliefs and themes that I am already passionate about.
Do that, and you’ll win my business.