2016 Retail Marketing Trend Report

2016 Retail Marketing Trend Report

Retail Marketing Infographic

Research and design provided by Heather Tchir

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now Let's face it, the last few months have affected our day-to-day lives in more ways than we realize, from how we communicate to how we keep ourselves (and our families) busy and productive at home. We have had to...

The Power of Print

The Power of Print

THE POWER OF PRINT In a world of skip buttons and fast-forward icons, print media still has the power to strike curiosity in a reader and breathe life into a page. Moving through an evolution of formats and creative developments, print now acts as a bridge between the...

National Intern Day

National Intern Day

With today being National Intern Day, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to introduce our summer flight crew additions: Julia, Graydon, and Fletcher. All three bring different skills, fresh insights, and an exciting energy to the agency, and they have experienced...

The Story of What Generates Long-term Success for a Retail Brand

The Story of What Generates Long-term Success for a Retail Brand

Consumers today are more informed than ever. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but it’s a growing trend that marketers need to continually adapt for. As such, content’s role is more important than ever in reaching and engaging consumers to create a meaningful relationship. The cutting edge brands have adapted by evolving the brand marketing process. Instead of standing for something to their audience, their brands are standing for something with their audience.

This approach has immense potential as it creates context for personalized interaction between the brand and the individual. The approach is also conversational, which lends itself perfectly to a marketing landscape that is increasingly social. It builds a deeper degree of consumer sentiment, psychological linking how they feel about a cause or activity to how they feel about the brand that stands with it.

A primary way in which brands are doing this is through storytelling – the practice of creating an authentic and inspirational experience that gives your brand deeper identity and connection with the consumer. A recent report from Skyword titled A Study In Brand Transformation stated that “companies are starting to invest in brand storytelling roles. 28% of enterprise companies have a designated content marketer and 33% have an editor.”

As big brands vie for attention, the need for them to tell their story and differentiate themselves is one of marketing’s top priorities as well as biggest challenges. With all the information at their fingertips, people are more empowered in the decision making process. They are more conscious about their purchases, looking beyond the price tag and instead asking themselves if the brand’s actions align with their own. Industry leaders have identified this and have shifted focus accordingly. It is precisely this trend coupled with the growing consumer distaste for advertorial marketing that is driving the rise of content marketing of which storytelling is a major component.

Or as Tom Laforge, Global Director of Human & Cultural Insights for The Coca-Cola Company pointed out:
“The harder we compete, the less differentiated we become. As brands sell on functional benefits (what the product is and does for me) and emotional benefits (how I want to feel in this occasion), category after category is being filled with nearly similar products. Large established brands are losing loyalty and marketshare to newer smaller brands that offer social and cultural benefits. It’s a billion dollar paradigm shift.”

He hit the nail on the head. Talking about your product, the problem it solves or how it differs from the competition isn’t effective anymore for big brands. Neither is just an emotional, aspirational advertising message. Effective marketing that is resonating with today’s consumers has moved on to an increasingly genuine form of storytelling. Brands defining their purpose as standing for or helping to accomplish something is great. However, so many companies are stating their values and defining their social responsibility that it’s losing its impact among a sea of competitors without this experiential storytelling component.

A lawyer might tell you that technically you own the brand, but we all know that consumers pull the strings. They are the ones that we have to reach, engage and retain. Brand positioning after all is not defined by the marketer, it’s defined by market sentiment toward a given product or service. By telling a brand story that establishes a purpose that is aligned with an audience’s purposes, brands create an inclusive story that people will want to engage with…maybe even share!

Let’s look at the mission statements for Pepsi and Coca-Cola as an example:

Here is Pepsi’s:

As one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, our mission is to provide consumers around the world with delicious, affordable, convenient and complementary foods and beverages from wholesome breakfasts to healthy and fun daytime snacks and beverages to evening treats. We are committed to investing in our people, our company and the communities where we operate to help position the company for long-term, sustainable growth.

And here is Coca-Cola’s:

• To refresh the world
• To inspire moments of optimism and happiness
• To create value and make a difference

If these were posts on Facebook, which would you share? One is about the brand acting for the consumer; the other is about the brand acting with the consumer. Pepsi’s messaging seems almost anachronistic considering the size of the brand. Coca-Cola’s mission is open-ended and conversational. Everyone has something to say about each of the points.
Brand storytelling that is inclusive creates a new phenomenon where brands become platforms for conversation and change. Whether the cause is collaboration, sustainability or fulfillment, industry leading brands are redefining their identity to facilitate change through conversation and action. The end result for these brands is deeper relevance with their audience and increased engagement that creates more profound positive interactions and memorable experiences. This is what generates long-term sustainable success for the brand.

Source:
Skyword.com “A Study in Brand Transformation”

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now Let's face it, the last few months have affected our day-to-day lives in more ways than we realize, from how we communicate to how we keep ourselves (and our families) busy and productive at home. We have had to...

The Power of Print

The Power of Print

THE POWER OF PRINT In a world of skip buttons and fast-forward icons, print media still has the power to strike curiosity in a reader and breathe life into a page. Moving through an evolution of formats and creative developments, print now acts as a bridge between the...

National Intern Day

National Intern Day

With today being National Intern Day, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to introduce our summer flight crew additions: Julia, Graydon, and Fletcher. All three bring different skills, fresh insights, and an exciting energy to the agency, and they have experienced...

Vision Creative Group’s Approach to Content Marketing

Vision Creative Group’s Approach to Content Marketing

As businesses big and small continue to convert their marketing efforts from traditional to digital, it can be easy for them to get lost. The good news is that many of the elements of traditional advertising translate well into the digital realm. Understanding what’s still relevant in traditional advertising and building upon it makes the transition much easier. I thought I would share some thoughts and examples of how VCG built upon its experience in advertising to develop and execute content marketing strategies.

Let’s get down to the basics. People aren’t interested in advertising; people want valuable information or resources —content. That’s exactly what content marketing does: provide them with something that is relevant, meaningful or useful. It tells the consumer: “Hey, here’s something we think you’ll find valuable. If you do, come check us out or spread the word. There’s more where that came from.” The relationship is predicated on value, not fluff. When consumers see value in their relationship with your business, interest is generated, customer loyalty is earned and the path to increased sales is paved.

Content marketing is a strategy developed around the realities of digital marketing. Blog posts, videos and infographics are the bread-n-butter of content marketing and social media is the primary vehicle—along with email—for delivering content to audiences. When adopting this strategy, we relied on two strengths we knew we could deliver: strong visuals and copy.

As I’m sure you’re aware, visuals are essential to content marketing. Even if your content doesn’t lend itself to visuals, adding some tasteful design to the headline can go a long way. Copywriting is the next piece of the puzzle. Effective content marketing harnesses the core strengths of copywriting: magnetic headlines, persuasive language. Take Twitter’s 140 characters as an example: the short messaging format creates a unique opportunity to narrow the focus to one line. A magnetic headline or strong piece of copy will drive people to your content; the persuasive language is what informs them of your purpose.

So what does this look like for VCG? Our blog, for example, has one idea in mind: provide value. Sometimes this takes the form of thoughts about the world around us, at other times we provide insight and tips into the world of marketing and design.

Here are a couple of examples. Earlier this year, we published a blog post that offered an informal checklist on how schools can adapt to the next generation of parents. The other example is a blog post we recently published reminding businesses to always review what they offer that their competition does not and convey that to their audiences. Both offer insight and advice, free of charge.

How do we use these skills for our clients? We recently shot a video for our client the New Jersey Youth Chorus. The visuals work together to develop a sense of what they offer and why it might interest you. It’s about more than singing; it’s about a unique place where a child can be part of a community and develop their musical self and who knows, maybe even sing the national anthem at a Jets game.

If a parent, or a friend of a parent, saw that on social media and knew of a child who loved singing, wouldn’t they want to share this video with them? They could share the video and tell them “Check it out! This looks like the perfect place for Billy to sing (instead of at the dinner table).” With social media, interests of all kinds (and formats) can be shared easily! That’s a key metric to great content marketing!

Speaking of metrics, content marketing introduces new measurements that marketers can use to optimize their efforts and better achieve business objectives. With traditional advertising, measured results are based solely on sales. With content marketing the goal is obviously still sales, but additional metrics such as consumption, lead generation and sharing provide a more detailed assessment of how people respond to your marketing efforts.

See? If you’re new to content marketing, take comfort in the fact that it’s built upon a foundation that I’m sure you’re familiar with. The execution is more involved, but, again, leveraging those elements from traditional advertising can help you start to develop and deliver great content.

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now

Why Video is the Most Effective Marketing Tool Right Now Let's face it, the last few months have affected our day-to-day lives in more ways than we realize, from how we communicate to how we keep ourselves (and our families) busy and productive at home. We have had to...

The Power of Print

The Power of Print

THE POWER OF PRINT In a world of skip buttons and fast-forward icons, print media still has the power to strike curiosity in a reader and breathe life into a page. Moving through an evolution of formats and creative developments, print now acts as a bridge between the...

National Intern Day

National Intern Day

With today being National Intern Day, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to introduce our summer flight crew additions: Julia, Graydon, and Fletcher. All three bring different skills, fresh insights, and an exciting energy to the agency, and they have experienced...