Oh Henry! Leading the Evolution of Candy in a New Cannabis Market

Marketing has always been a shifting, evolving concept. As our society changes, the way we do business changes making it necessary for marketing to evolve in tandem. If your business doesn’t evolve, it won’t survive and the strategy for your marketing tactics needs to be well thought out. Remember the 2015 Bud Light #UpForAnything campaign? This campaign hoped to embody a carefree, fun night out with friends, tapping into Millennial #FOMO (fear of missing out). Bud Light included fun messages on cans and bottles of their beer as part of this campaign. Except it backfired horribly when a consumer noticed one of the slogans on the can was “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary.” Certainly Bud Light’s intentions were not to advocate for ignoring consent; however, in a time of #MeToo and increased awareness on consent and predatory sexual culture, this can represented a moment of tone deafness. Bud Light removed the cans from production, but the damage was done. Social media exploded with comments about the can and slowed sales of the American beer.

Another company that is a household name is the Oh Henry! candy bar. Last month, we brought you  this blog on Oh Henry’s new 425 bar . The 425 bar is their newest candy bar product and has been paired with a cheeky marketing campaign to get profitably involved in the emerging cannabis industry. When established companies take a risk with their marketing strategy it can improve their market share by delighting, humouring, or shocking their customers. However, sometimes it can diminish their market share by scaring, alienating, or dividing their customer base. And, potentially, their shareholders, too.

We shared the Oh Henry! 425 candy bar story with our audience to gain their perspective on this product launch. We wanted to know whether it was delightful or alienating for Oh Henry! to go green. We were surprised by the feedback!

Overall, our audience was thoroughly impressed by Oh Henry!’s “ability to hash out marketing ideas, especially those that are jointly crafted”.  It is not yet clear whether their 425 bar sales will exceed internal expectations or not, but surely recreational cannabis users will be delighted by yet another tasty treat to have when “the munchies” strike. What is clear is Oh Henry! is evolving as a brand, connecting with new audiences and leading the way for other food brands as each learns how to participate in the arising recreational cannabis industry.

So far, it appears this is a successful marketing strategy on Oh Henry!’s part – especially since the cannabis industry is already worth $31B in Canada. They are able to enjoy a piece of the cannabis market pie without competing for direct sales or facing the complicated advertising restrictions that come along with it.

Risky marketing strategies do not always surprise and delight a customer base. It’s possible for it to backfire and alienate customers and non-customers alike. Perhaps you recall a Pepsi commercial from 2017? Starring an up-and-coming model by the name of Kendall Jenner?

In case you forgot the ad, or have not seen it, you can view it here.

While we know that it was Pepsi’s internal creative team, The Creators League Studio, who dreamt up the concept; their intention of a zeitgeist-inspired message of universal love, unity, and acceptance missed the mark (by lightyears, no less). Co-opting political movements, like Black Lives Matter, to sell product is never a great call. Quickly dubbed “the worst ad of all time”, it took nine months for Pepsi’s brand perception to recover with Millennial audiences after the ad aired.

When companies take a risk with their advertising – whether it be launching a non-edible edible – it can certainly pay off. However, your risk must be carefully calculated. Understanding your audience, what they want, and where they are going will prevent damage to your brand and sales.

Leading the evolution of marketing will take brave, insightful, measured marketers who can evolve with the changing society and business landscapes we now live in.

Does your business have the insight to keep up and evolve? If you know where you’re going, but you’re not sure how to get there, give us a call today. We would love to help you evolve.

What Makes You Remarkable?

What makes your company so special, uncommon and extraordinary that others can’t help but talk about it? What makes you remarkable is what helps you stand out from the competition. If you can communicate that special something that makes your company, product or service remarkable, others will notice, which is the ultimate goal.

How can you pinpoint exactly what it is that makes your company unique?

It may be obvious, or it may require some research to discover what makes you exceptional.

Here are some steps that might help you:

Check Out the Competition

If you do a comprehensive check through other companies in your industry, you’ll probably find a lot of similar advertisements, pictures, offers, etc. You can capitalize on this by creating something different. Identify what’s missing in your niche and leverage it. Then, it’s all about presentation. Showcase your remarkable quality in a unique way.

Here’s one example: Blendtec sells high-performance blenders. They showed just how powerful their blenders are by showcasing what they do best: blending. In short videos that quickly went viral, the company demonstrated just how sharp the blades are. But, they don’t blend fruit smoothies. Wooden boards, iPhones, car parts and more are featured in a series of “Will it Blend?” videos that have boosted sales by 700%.

Develop It

If you can’t find anything particularly remarkable about your product, consider going another route. Develop your own remarkable quality. Zappos is a company known for its extraordinary customer service. The fastest deliveries on the market for free, a cost-free return policy and the promise to order an out of stock product from a competitor are some of the ways Zappos stands out. This unique approach to customer service is what has helped grow their sales over $8 million in 9 years.

Now, go find what makes you remarkable!

If you need some help, we would be happy to give you a hand. Contact us to set up a free consultation today!

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Your Brand Can be Remarkable Too

From as far as I can remember, companies have unleashed their own forms of marketing Armageddon to both show off and protect their brands’ supposed ‘remarkability’.

If you need a memory jolt, just think about the billions of dollars global-minded companies like Google, Coca Cola, Apple, Nike, and Audi have spent on advertising campaigns to upstage their rivals in Yahoo, Pepsi, Samsung, Adidas, BMW among other foes.

Most of the early wars were fought on television and in print, but in more recent years the battlefield extended to the Internet, particularly social media, where success is heavily dependent on not only dollars and ‘sense’, but revolves heavily around strategy and execution to get consumers to pick their side in the marketing fisticuffs.

But while the above-name brands are world-renowned, are they truly remarkable in the eyes of the beholder… the consumers?

According to Chris Kneeland, CEO and Partner at CULT Collective – a leading marketing engagement agency for brands in North America – a remarkable brand is one that “receives above average adoration and advocacy compared to others in its category”.

“The word remarkable literally means to remark about, and ‘buzzworthiness’ and word of mouth are key indicators for remarkable brands,” Kneeland explains.

The key features of a remarkable brand, Kneeland posits, can be one of three things. “Either the product is truly noteworthy (like Lululemon, or Fender guitars, or Mercedes), or their services are best in class (Zappos shipping and return policy, Four Seasons customer care, Costa Sunglasses lifetime guarantee); or their customer experiences are amazing, for example Converse’s lifestyle experiences, Car 2 Go’s or Uber’s customer interface, or Tim Horton’s speed and consistency of delivery.”

Dallas Cowboys, Levi’s, Red Bull are remarkable brands

Even with a rough couple years that fell short of fan expectations, the Fort Worth-based professional American football team Dallas Cowboys was in 2016 ranked as the world’s Most Valuable Sports Team, according to Forbes.

That’s a remarkable brand, in the eyes of Kneeland. “Despite not making the playoffs for over a decade, they became the most profitable sports brand in the world,” he emphasizes.

Also in Kneeland’s remarkable brands category are Red Bull, whose sales he says are climbing though they do very little advertising; and Levi’s, which has dominated the denim market for over a century.

And why do these brands stand out? In the case of  the Dallas Cowboys, theirs is a loyal fan base emotionally connected to a team whose play and competitive spirit, they believe, will  return to to the glory days. This is brand attachment at its best.

Brand Red Bull conjures up images of extreme sports — those ‘daredevilish’ car racing competitions, mountain bike riding, bungee jumping, and mind-boggling soccer skills challenges that are intended to support its slogan that “Red Bull give you wings”. This is complemented by a unique distribution strategy premised on the very effective ‘go-to-market’ principle.

Levi’s dominance is the result of careful brand management, which includes their ability to constantly target and fix weaknesses and gaps in their marketing campaigns to continue to appeal to their base, nurture loyalty, and win new hearts.

These examples prove that there is always need to innovate, even where companies feel that they have what they believe to be a winning formula. Stagnation can be the death knell of a successful brand, while evolution and innovation will have the opposite effect in helping brands stay ahead of the competition and keeping consumers interested.

Don’t settle for ‘good’, make your brand remarkable

Moving brands from being average or good to remarkable requires the proper allocation of your marketing resources. According to Kneeland, far too many brands are focused on just being good or average, spending most of their marketing resources on paid media to convince their audience that they are “better than they really are”.

“(That’s why) Cult brands spend their marketing muscle actually doing something that is remarkable, and spending less money on advertising and price promotions,” Kneeland adds.

And Kneeland is right in that it has been proven over and over that strategy and not money is what determines advertising success as consumers are more receptive to ‘experiences’ rather than fall for what is fed to them through one-way communication.

These experiences can be impactful in building and maintaining relationships, creating value for consumers as well as give insight into what is going on into their minds particularly in this era where there is a growing appetite for personal connections.

But it is difficult to overlook that brand experience can be hard to pull off, can be expensive and thus a difficult sell to those who hold the purse in your organisation. But done right, it will open the door to new growth opportunities and result in a win-win for all parties involved.

Sustaining your brand’s remarkability

Remarkable brands must evolve to sustain their distinctiveness and evolving means not only product, but strategy as well. Says Kneeland: “A brand can never rest on its laurels. Zappos defined remarkable in the online retail space, but now their policies are copied by everyone. AirBNB was revolutionary at the time of launch, now there are lots of copy cats. Cult Brands continuously push envelopes and work very hard to maintain their competitive edge.”

The truth is, brand ‘remarkability’ is achievable, but companies must have a workable strategy to reach their desired ‘destination’. However, one has to keep in mind that success here is not only dependent on creative tactics, but also the people – both internally and externally — who are  involved. Companies must ensure that these people are mobilised and the purpose and brand value clearly communicated to them.

If you  are challenged with making your brand stand out from the ‘crowd’, call us for a free consultation and we will show you how.

Why Online Marketing is Good for Businesses

If your marketing strategy still revolves around offline channels (display ads, brochures, etc.), you’re basically stuck in a ‘marketing time warp’ and the sooner your game plan evolves to align with current trends the better your chances are for success and survival.

Up to a few years ago, the concept of online marketing was a hard sell to many businesses largely premised on excuses that ranged from cost to the  contentment with their mostly offline customer base. Fast forward to 2017 and many of these same businesses have embraced the use of the web to boost their brands, though many still struggle to fully harness its marketing potential.  The results of a recent survey published by Web.com show that two-thirds of the businesses polled see online marketing as a strategy that can help them grow their business and customer base. However, the report also pointed out that these same businesses struggle to cope with the dynamics of the web.

Perhaps the single greatest benefit of online marketing is that it allows smaller businesses to get better returns on their advertising spend. Beyond excellent returns, the Internet levels the playing field for smaller businesses to compete with larger counterparts given that success is not determined by the advertising spend, but hinges on how efficiently resources are allocated. Additionally, if you’re thinking about making an impact with your advertising, you have to consider the global reach of online marketing strategies.

And, yes, personalization means a lot when your goal is brand attachment. Unlike traditional mediums, online marketing allows you the ease to personalize your message – without the heavy spend – to develop a more personal connection with your target audience, nurture those relationships, and study behavioral patterns.

Your online marketing strategy and content will be driven by the nature of your business and target audience, so you’ll need to answer the following key questions in order to develop an effective online strategy that will draw eyeballs to your business:

  • What type of business do you have?
  • Which industry do you operate in?
  • What are your business goals?
  • What do you hope to achieve through your online marketing efforts?
  • Who are you targeting and where are they located?
  • What type of content would most interest your target audience?
  • Are your competitors active online?
  • On which platforms are discussions about your industry taking place – Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter?

If your business is more online-oriented, you should consider allocating a good portion of your advertising budget to online marketing efforts to complement your offline strategy. Always remember that your returns will depend on how much effort – financial and otherwise – you put into your strategy.

Keep in mind also that your website must be optimized to improve ranking results in search engines and should also be responsive to different devices. Additionally, you should have a clear content strategy to ensure that what you put out will attract your target audience and can generate leads with the goal of conversion in mind.

The truth is, with the Internet so integrated in our daily lives not having an online presence is like shooting in the dark. If you are unclear about what your website or online marketing strategy should look like, we have the expertise to help you out. We’d love to chat with you. Just click here to drop us a line.

Marketing, Dopamine and Opioids OH MY!

Humans are curious by nature. Don’t you just love a great mystery? That curiosity we have is great thing because it is exactly what helps to advance our world in so many different ways. Seriously, where would be be if Thomas Edison wasn’t curious? In the dark!!! And no one likes to be there, so let’s shine some light on how you can tap into curiosity to create a positive impact on your marketing. There is actually a science to it, and behind it.

Let’s talk about the science behind it first…and start to stimulate your curiosity!

When we get curious, our brains release dopamine. The dopamine stimulates the reward centres in the brain, so being curious feels good. That’s why we like to learn new things. Dopamine also helps us to become more motivated and pay attention to what is making us curious, which means the memory of the stimulus will be more elaborately encoded into the brain because of our focus upon it. You can read more about it in Brain Rules, by John Medina.

Now here’s another cool part of this cycle. When our curiosity is met with a solution or resolution, we get an opioid release in the brain, which feels even better! And then the loop gets closed until we get curious again.

This is exactly why video games do so well at keeping the focus of teenaged brains (and many an adult too) when they might lack focus in other areas of their life. Video games stimulate and complete the cycle with great regularity. The player is presented a new level to conquer. In order to do it, there is a puzzle to solve. Dopamine is released into the brain and now the player has the concentration and reflexes of a ninja, along with the motivation to stick with it! The level is reached, and opioids are released. YES! The video game celebrates with the player, and then he or she advances to the next level and the cycle starts again! It’s no wonder people can play for hours on end.

A puzzle or a mystery is a sure-fire way to stimulate that curiosity response. The best movie trailers do it so well! Check out this one for 10 Cloverfield Lane. It tells you next to nothing about the content of the movie, but by the time you get to the end of it, your curiosity is stimulated. What is out there??

Our brains want to know and hate leaving things unfinished. We want the opioid release that comes with the solution.That’s why we’ll go to that movie. It satisfies our curiosity when we get to see what actually happens. The marketers for the movie industry have it going on. And so do the writers of your favourite series’. Those cliffhangers have us tuning in the following week, or binge watching as much as we can possibly handle. We absolutely have to know what comes next.

Use that to your advantage and consider how you can use mystery in your marketing. According to Ben Parr in Captivology there are 4 steps to creating mystery:

  1. Build a feeling of suspense
  2. Get emotional buy in
  3. Create a plot twist
  4. Leave them with a cliffhanger

Now if you’re not quite sure that creating mystery will work for your particular business, you can also stimulate curiosity by doing something:

  • Unusual/novel
  • Unpredictable
  • Disruptive
  • Distinctive
  • Imaginative

Or you can create a dopamine release when you stimulate a person’s emotions. It is in our best interest in our society to pay attention to someone’s emotional state. Our well being can depend upon it, so the dopamine release biologically makes a lot of sense.

That’s also why advertising that makes you laugh, feel angry, outraged or even cry (don’t even get me started on the Special Olympics commercials…pass me a tissue!) get your attention, and you are more likely to remember them later too.

So you see, there is a science behind your marketing efforts, and when you get the formula right you get to reap the rewards!

Creating a Marketing Budget

Marketing is an investment that, when done properly, increases your client base, improves your sales, and grows your overall revenue. Like any investment, it needs to be measured to make sure every dollar is working for you, and it all starts with setting an appropriate budget.

How much is the right amount? It really depends on the company, and the overall goals and objectives the company want to achieve during the year. At BottomLine Marketing, we advise our clients to allocate 3-10% of their overall yearly revenue for their marketing campaigns. The budget can include allocations for:

  • branding campaigns
  • digital campaigns
  • traditional media buys
  • research
  • print material (including business cards)

The cost of marketing will vary depending on your needs, and the style of campaign you choose to run. For example, when you run a digital campaign, your marketing budget is dependent on the online platform(s) you target, and the frequency of your ads. Traditional media, which involves print ads, television and/or radio ads, and billboard campaigns, also varies in cost depending on the publications, the stations, or the locations you choose for your ads. Pricing will even vary from city to city.

The type of campaign you choose to run really depends on the goal you want achieve for your business, and where your target audience spends their time. A branding campaign operates very differently from a call to action (CTA) campaign. Branding keeps you top of mind for your client and typically runs for a longer period of time with less frequency than a CTA, which usually has a high frequency of ads running until a specific date.

At BottomLine Marketing, we carefully study our client’s business model, and their target audience, to create an appropriate budget for each campaign throughout the year. This way, we can create a strategic and effective marketing plan that will boost revenue.

Are you interested in learning more about creating a marketing budget? Give us a call at 403-464-7554 and let’s talk about how we can help you!

Calculating Marketing ROI

Today, CMOs and marketing directors are expected to provide quantifiable evidence to prove that their marketing campaigns are actually adding profit to the company. And we couldn’t agree more because marketing campaigns are investments. Like any smart investment, these campaigns have to be measured, monitored, and compared to ensure that your budget is being allocated wisely.

Marketing is one of the single most important investments a business can make. It is the way you drive new business. Yet it’s one of the first things a company cuts back on in hard economic times because most companies lack proper measuring tools for ROI and statistical areas of improvement.

The simplest way to measure your ROI is:

Return – Investment

Measuring your marketing ROI is a must, because solid numbers ensure you’re focusing your efforts on the campaigns that are working for your business, and adjusting or discarding the ones that aren’t. Just like investment statements, ROI tracking tells you exactly how well it’s working for your business, and what statistics the campaign has improved for the company.

Here at BottomLine Marketing, calculating marketing ROI is a huge part of the marketing process we set for each client. We determine exactly what results we want to improve with each campaign we plan. By knowing exactly what we want to target, we can measure how effective we are at every stage of the campaign. With a strategic plan in place, we are able to increase the amount of website traffic, email captures, or followers. We get results, and we can show you exactly how and why those results are working for you.

If you’re worried about your ROI, or still not measuring your marketing campaigns, let us help. Stop wasting money and start making an important investment in your company.  We can make sure you’re investing your money in exactly the right way.  Call us today at 403-464-7554, so we can talk about how we can improve your ROI!