Putting the ‘Fun’ in Brand Fundamentals
How to keep your brand exciting for consumers.
April Fool’s Day was this past weekend and brands got creative to entertain their fans. Last year, we had pranks like the Micro Mac from McDonald’s and the Google Gnome, but we saw more brands teaming up this year.
Warby Parker and Arby’s created an unlikely partnership — naturally calling themselves WArby’s — to create “a crispy yet corrective product that’s positioned at the intersection of food and fashion.”
It was an attempt for each brand to appeal to two sets of audiences — Warby Parker’s and Arby’s — allowing them both to reach a new potential market. The joke didn’t go over well with everyone, but it was very well executed. The brands also sold some Warby’s swag — shirts, tote bags, slippers — which were almost completely sold out within 2 days.
The popularity of this example comes from its genuineness. Warby’s donated all proceeds to charity and pulled the stunt for some pure wholesome fun. Lauri Harrison, a marketing lecturer at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, points to a SodaStream-Bed Bath & Beyond partnership as an example of what not to do.
Harrison remarked, “sales should not be the goal. Being human is most important. April Fools’ is a way to help (companies) connect with people in a different way that stands out.”
The SS-BB&B April Fool’s creation — called SodaSoak — was a fake product meant to carbonate bathwater. Interacting with the content sent the user to a Bed Bath & Beyond page which recommended that shoppers buy real SodaStream products.
Consumers won’t buy into something if it seems inauthentic. You can gauge the user reaction by looking at the like-dislike ratio on the video. SodaSoak was still watched nearly 3 million times, so the brand may have still benefited from the exposure, even though the sentiment wasn’t very positive.
Nearly a third of engaged viewers disliked the content, but it may have been worth it for all those views!
How much fun is too much fun?
Finding the balance between fun and sales is important because it helps bring new consumers to the brand, keeps them engaged, and stops the brand from going stale. Here are a few things to remember:
Start with your Consumer
Understand who your consumer is — what is memorable to them? What matters to them? What do they care about? What makes them happy? The answers to these questions will help you cultivate a great customer experience.
Pull at the Heartstrings
It’s important to appeal to human emotions in a genuine way. Brands are successful when they sincerely try to make their fans laugh, smile, or even cry.
Establishing an emotional connection helps to distinguish a brand from its competitors — it’s why consumers prefer name-brand products over no-name goods.
Don’t Push Products Aggressively
If you are simply pushing content to get consumers to buy more products, it won’t work. Brands need to provide real value when they engage with consumers. This can be through informing, entertaining, or hosting contests.
Spice Up the Format to Keep People Interested
Create a series.
This can help you bring consistent and exciting content to the user. It also gives the brand an opportunity to build up momentum by having related hashtags or contests that create a following for the series itself.
Run a contest.
It is one of the most impactful social media ideas when it comes to potential engagement from followers. All you need is something to give away and a cool idea for submission. Just keep in mind that content engagement will get you the volume you’re looking for; the quality of your ongoing content will keep them there.
Lay’s hosts an annual Do Us a Flavour contest where fans get to submit their flavour ideas and make an impact on the potato chip landscape! The flavour creators spread the word — that’s free word-of-mouth — and the crazy flavours incite buzz and trial purchases.
Open up and celebrate yourself.
Consumers like to associate with brands that align with their values and beliefs, so be transparent and give them something to be proud of. Show that you appreciate the hustle of running a business, chase cool ideas and big achievements, and share them with the world.
Just check out this Wendy’s QnA, where they take questions about their Twitter account and the success it’s had over the past few years.
Tip: Publicize your goals or pursuit to an achievement to humanize yourself. Everyone loves to root for an underdog!
Brands often go stale from a lack of new and exciting ideas, but maintaining a light-hearted and fun persona can keep consumers interested in your products and services. It’s not for every brand, but for those who are willing to try, putting a smile on your customer’s face goes a long way!