Global ad spending is predicted to reach reach $662.73 billion by 2018. Unfortunately, a lot of those dollars will go to waste. true, marketers regularly throw away money at football matches, sponsoring cricket teams,promoted social media posts, traffic purchases, content re-marketing and what not, but to be honest a large part of it every year goes down the drain.
Nike, for instance, spends $3 billion a year on what they call “demand creation.” It works but is of course inefficient. Brands do not need seven figure marketing budgets to reach out, and there are plenty of such examples, to inspire yourself from.
Martin Lindstorm a Brand and Marketing speaker and author of books, talks about Lijjat Papad or Pappadums as you'd know it, a popular brand of Papad known all across India, which he recalls not for its popularity or quality of the fine bread or papad they produce, he is fascinated by the way its promoted and its outreach.
Lijjat Papad is a cooperative initiative where thousands of the village households participate in the process, these breads are not produced in a mass production factory, but instead are produced by women in villages and are transported by the cooperative by trucks to distribution points and then directly deliver to thousands of corner stores all across India. Lijjat has given home made an all new meaning, and along with that has proven that word of mouth promotion works cheaper and better than big corporate budgets.
He also talks about Dr.Younus' ( Nobel Laureate ) Gramin Bank initiative, the pioneer in micro financing for the poor and have given the poor the right to earn, those that would never get a loan from traditional financial institutions, started getting finances from this Bank, women in rural Bangladesh gained access to funds to begin micro production units ranging from paper bags to pickels and the word of mouth brand image of the Grameen Bank ( Grameen in Bengali means Rural )grew super fast and soon it was an important brand all across the country, they started other social initiatives like Grameen Phone, where the women of the inaccessible parts of estuarine Bangladesh were funded to buy and maintain cellular phones and act as a pay per call provider for the villagers and soon Grameen Telecom was a known brand too, enabling communication all over Bangladesh.
On the other side of the world, Natura, a Brazilian cosmetics and personal care brand, has developed a network of more than 56,000 consultants who represent the brand and spread the word about it across South America. No wonders this brand is worth of USD $2 billion today.
This trend is going to see more takers soon, perhaps not in the social real life on the ground way Lijjat or Grameen have done it, but more in a social way, where companies would first try to find out listeners, the motivators, the people who would be interested in taking their brand forward, LEGO for example has seen more involvement since its LEGO builders' community days.
Corporates have seen how blind spending on massive campaigns have yieled low ROI and how even buying unmotivated online traffic didn't help, and instead have resulted in cost per customer over the time.
Influencers are important and insteaf of hiring high prices celebrities brands are more keen on engaging social media influencers like bloggers and vloggers and are seeing much better return. A bright example would be custom ladies shoes brand Shoes of Prey’s collaboration with Blair Fowler. The company braved all traditions and hired Beauty Video Blogger Blair Fowler to showcase their shoes on her video blog and since then they have onfirmed a steady and permanent growth in sales of a whopping 300%.
So you see, it's not exactly the Lijjat way, but the philosophy is the same, micr branding works, and that is our philosophy too, spend on advertisement, spend on branding, but do not go for untargeted brand marketing, and end up loosing more than gaining.
Micro Branding your brand, be you a Cafe owner, a Car Dealership Manager or an Exhibitor, think who is your influencer? who can guide in more eye balls without having to spend irrationally huge marketing money?
Well in the simplest form, it's who is already attracted to you, like in the case of Grameen, the women who first came to Grameen to get a loan for a business, you have your customers, that maybe a few, but along with your quality of service and product, if you keep promoting your brand personall to them, through branded paper cups, through coupons, through discounts of repeat orders, they'll influence others too.
The starting point? yes you have to start somewhere, many of our customers hae reported that they have seen increase in foot fall as soon as they started serving coffee in branded paper cups, since many of those cups did not only show your customer that you are keen and serious about your business, they went with them to their cars and trash cans back home too, and your brand name floated in front of their eyes for a little longer than otherwise it would, that adds to recall value and here you are, you have an influencer created through your micro branding efforts.