How do you make consumers connect with your brand?
Joe Chetcuti, director of creative agency Front, asks the age-old question.
It has never been easier to connect with people and potential customers and there has never been a greater focus on the media that help us do this. These range from the relatively new kids on the block like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram, to the old guard of content-makers like newspapers and magazines with their new digital channels.
The majority of brands are quick to use the latest platform, but this preoccupation with the newest and latest often hides a deep strategic failing: Brand purpose.
Take the supermarket sector as an example. A recent Which? report placed Waitrose and Marks & Spencer at the top of a readership survey for quality and service. No surprises there.
Aldi scrapes in at third; scoring the lowest mark possible (one star) for store appearance, staff availability and quality of own-label products. However, it is bumped up the table with a full five stars for value.
However, even though Waitrose and M&S are pressing all the right buttons when it comes to branding, they aren’t doing the sales compared to their German competitor. Despite Aldi rejecting the traditional quality mantra of the retail experience, and the new call for retail to be more and more experiential, it keeps improving sales and is gaining market share by strategically adopting a singular brand purpose. Namely, value.
In 2018, Aldi managed sales growth of 12%. Even market leader Tesco could only manage 2.4%. And we are all aware of the woes of M&S and Waitrose when it comes to sales. And you know what, this adherence to brand purpose makes Aldi’s advertising better too.
According to Marketing Week, UK consumers voted Aldi’s ‘Like Brands, Only Cheaper’ their favourite campaign of the 2010s. This shows that a clear and consistent brand purpose leads to much better creative output as there’s less to muddy the waters. Also, clarity creates cut-through in the noisiest of environments. It’s why us ad agencies insist on simplifying everything down to the most punchy, memorable and relevant.
So, both the promise Aldi makes through its ads and the real-world store experience deliver on their brand purpose of value.
Even though Aldi rejects the traditional quality-led brand values many of us hold dear, we should celebrate what it does for its laser-like accuracy in maintaining a clear brand purpose and therefore competitive advantage in a sea of mixed messages, virtue signalling and pointless content.
However, you don’t have to be an Aldi to deliver great creative that supports your brand purpose. To help consumers connect with your brand you just need a clear offer that dispenses with the superfluous. It’s not about denying all the great things your brand does but understanding that consumers respond best to clear, consistent, authentic and unambiguous ideas.
What does that mean in practice? Keep it simple, find signature actions and exploit them for all they are worth.
As an extra thought, it’s interesting - although not that surprising - to see that M&S has brought back its “This is Not Just...” food campaign - a truly singular and powerful idea that presents a true brand purpose may be back. Who’d have thought it.