Whether it's double-strapping your rucksack, wearing big headphones or growing a huge beard, things that were uncool can become hip and retro looks come back into fashion. Changing consumer trends and social change are crucial factors when thinking about branding and customer engagement strategies.
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Take a look these 4 marketing campaigns from big-name brands, focused on changing customer perceptions.
Until recently, Lidl were a bargain-basement option of the supermarket industry. Their brand was viewed as a provider of basic products at a cheap price. The locations of their stores reflected that perception – the same applied to Aldi.
However, a huge transformation unfolded due to excellent marketing and advertising campaigns, with Lidl and Aldi doubling their share of the marketing in 3 years! They broke the monopoly of the “big four” supermarket chains and showed consumers they were not just cheap alternatives and that there's no longer a big disparity in the quality of their food compared with likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco. They changed their location policies and started opening stores in areas previously associated with Waitrose.
Lidl’s storytelling marketing has been key to changing customer perceptions. Their #LidlSurprises campaign saw them use consumer taste trials and testimonials in TV advertising, online and in-store banners, showing customers that their food quality is not inferior to their competitors. Their packaging reflects this, with words such as “deluxe”, “vintage”, “matured” and “dry-aged” adorning their products.
The “big four” supermarkets have slashed their prices across the board, in response to fear of defection of their loyal customers to Lidl and Aldi.
Marks & Spencer
Changing customer perception is not just about trying to make a brand cool again, it can also be about showing a brand’s social conscience and modernising brand values.
The clothing chain continues to fight an ongoing profits battle in the challenging high-street fashion market. Reputation is important and Marks & Spencer recently partnered with Sport England’s #ThisGirlCan campaign, which inspires women to embrace their shape and size and not to be embarrassed about exercising. This is smart move from M&S, who were previously criticised (along with Topshop and Miss Selfridge) for using skinny mannequins in their stores.
The This Girl Can campaign has been a great success and, as a result of the first wave of the campaign, 1.6m more women have started exercising and taking part in sports. This is great PR for Marks.
With a brand as large and ingrained in modern society as McDonald's, you'd think changing perception would be the marketing equivalent of turning around an oil tanker. The fast-food giant has long been associated with bad eating habits. Most people didn’t need Supersize Me to realise that eating Big Macs every day is not a healthy diet. With governments placing the problem of obesity high on the political agenda, pressure is on the food industry to be more transparent.
McDonald’s took bold steps in their marketing and advertising strategies to show they have better ethical and nutritional processes in place. They worked hard to change perceptions about the content of their products. Case in point being the ad below. See kids, their eggs aren’t really made of plastic...
J D Wetherspoon
When Wetherspoon pubs are finding their way into CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, you know there’s been a shift in the beer industry and perception of the J D Wetherspoon brand. The brand is best known as a no-frills pub chain, whose USP is low prices on food and drink in exchange for no music or live sports, etc.
Some recent savvy marketing strategies have made significant impact in changing certain perceptions of the brand and helped them shrug off the “chav” tag. They've stocked their pubs with a plethora of craft beers and launched regular real ale festivals across their 950-plus pubs – taking advantage of a fast-growing craft beer scene and a micro-brewing boom in the UK, particularly London.
Their establishments now attract family diners and genuine beer enthusiasts, as well pre-club revellers. Wetherspoon pubs recently revamped their menu, with dedicated vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free sub-menus (including calorie counts), whilst their latest move is to begin offering takeaway coffee!
Consumer needs are ever-changing and customer perceptions can be changed too. Technological advances, social media and cultural behaviours have a big impact on brands – just ask HMV – and brands must keep up to maintain a strong reputation. Storytelling marketing is an effective tactic to refresh customer perception of your brand.
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