Summer’s in. Brands are Hot.

Well… If you ask us, brands are on fire all year around. But this summer, there are a few that simply can’t be ignored. Whether old, new, or thriving as an underground rage, different brands have their ways of getting and staying hot. What’s their secret? It depends. Each untouchable brand has their way of securing success through constantly reinventing themselves, leveraging their matchlessness, or catering to a niche.

Riding the Wave: GoPro

GoPro has actually been around since 2004, but they’ve suddenly gained contagious popularity. Video cameras aren’t exactly a new thing… so how did GoPro become such a rage?

It’s not just a regular video camera. Once the brand came to its full design, GoPro had created a new need in the industry, and fulfilled it: a versatile, indestructible, rugged, convenient, and quality camera. It makes perfect senseScreen Shot 2013-05-26 at 10.05.19 PM for anyone, as it offers an array of capabilities, from standard to high-definition, and still frame to video.

In this case, the brand offering itself is what allows the marketing to be exponentially impactful. GoPro is iconic because the camera has been associated with the active, edgy lifestyle. It includes everything – from built-in WiFi to any mounting accessories. It truly is the world’s most versatile camera, which has allowed for the creation of a community rooted in sharing great photos that wouldn’t have been captured otherwise. The camera has the feel of RedBull, and uses similar tactics (such as sponsoring extreme sport events) to become associated with the active lifestyle. In doing so, GoPro has become a social phenomenon: those who catch never-before-captured footage feel like they are a part of something – a visual community.

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 10.01.52 PM

GoPro is an empowering camera – it makes the experience that much better, since you can collect untouchable footage. While GoPro offers one type of product, it can still be taken anywhere: cycling, surfing, skiing, kyacking, water rapid-ing, or snowboarding, or taking a jumping shot while traveling the world. Whatever you’re doing, you’re the hero.

First and foremost, GoPro’s product is unique. Then, they catalyzed the attraction to their brand through powerful commercials, great footage, and strategies that get their name and offering to spread in a viral way. A truly durable, quality, and branded video camera was an untapped market.

Building Their Own Sand Castle: Chubbies

Chubbies is building a never-before-seen empire somewhere down the beach this summer… and more and more people are starting to help them. Chubbies is a new brand, and probably relatively unknown to the world. They are, however, extremely popular in their niche.

How has this short-shorts company ignited their wild success? They created a cult following. The Chubster Nation, the Cargo Embargo, whatever you want to call it, Chubbies attracts the fun-loving frat-guys to join the club.

Their marketing tactic? Be simply ridiculous. Simple by offering one type of shorts, and ridiculous by changing the design and taglines to say something that just makes you shake your head and keep laughing. The “Trophy Husband?” The “Khakmeisters?” The “Walk of Fame’s…” Hey. If you have a cult following and lovable product, it works.

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 9.15.10 AMChubbies designers have the passion to drive the business; it’s so unwavering and genuine that it fuels their hilarious and disruptive presence. The business is rooted in fun memories and a love for the weekend. Being that there wasn’t really a distinctive “brand name” is men’s shorts, Chubbies was able to run with the idea. The shorts blend casual and classy, and Chubbies exemplifies the cohesion of a social following, community of fun, and crisp, effective branding.

So cheers, to Chubbies’ first summer as a dominating shorts brand – “Sky’s Out, Thighs Out.”

Diving in to Refresh: Budweiser

A classic, yet still the norm. Timeless brands like Budweiser have found their brand nirvana: maintaining fundamentals, while excelling with small but notable deviations from the norm. Budweiser’s been around for 133 years, and when most people think of beer, it’s likely that they think of Budweiser: (insert bellowing deep voice) “the king of beer.”

As an evolving classic, Budweiser thrives on constant reinvention. The brand is always offering a new twist that’s just enough to spark a craze, and keep it dynamic.

  • Example: this May, Budweiser disrupted the norm by making changes to their classic 12-ounce can. A well-branded, multi-faceted move:
    • The name, “bowtie can,” keeps it classy.
    • The design fits with the logo and makes you feel like an improvement has been Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 10.22.48 PM
      made.
    • It excites people with something new and interactive to post on social media, a new life given to an old can… A trend:
      • “We know there are a large number of consumers out there looking for new things, the trend-seekers,” Anheuser-Busch’s VP of innovation Pat McGauley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We expect both our core beer drinkers and new customers to try it.”
    • The can is more eco-friendly, using less aluminum (which prompts consumers to pay more).
    • It’s functional & fun by allowing for an easy grip, and more identifiable and distinctive experience.

Budweiser inherently speaks to a diverse market – beer drinkers. So their two marketing tactics – American baseball & Clydesdales – may not directly speak to every beer lover. Therefore, it’s important to stay relevant through refreshed campaigns.

  • Budweiser sponsors huge music festivals, and has active digital initiatives. You can “track your Bud” online or make your plans using the Budweiser “Happy Hour App.” Robust social media efforts pair well with their competitions to win trips or join the “Bud Lite Fan Camp.”
  • They also offer “Lite” beers, “Here’s to the Heroes” campaigns, and aim to be the American classic, part of occasions to honor, celebrate, relax, and make memories.
  • Regardless of the campaign, Budweiser tells a story and offers an experience: their beer is a legacy and they want to make you part of their story, and make the Bud part of yours.
  • To get the message across, Budweiser uses funny and memorable commercials, and always-witty campaigns. The focus is devising new ways of communicating the same fundamental offering.

May the Summer of Brands Begin

Imagine the summer party you could have if you put all of these brands together… yikes. Close-up snapshot pictures of a chubby guy in short shorts getting drunk? Hmmm… now that’s a reason to be thankful for niche marketing, right?

Which brands do you find hottest? How do they do it?

AdWords Remarketing: If They Don’t Convert, Follow Them Until They Do

Have you ever been on a website—let’s say your favorite advertising & branding agency’s website—and then, once you navigate away from the website, you start seeing ad’s for that same website? It’s like they are following you. Well, they are following you. It’s a strategy known as remarketing, or retargeting.

The idea is that you can track visitors’ cookies—so you’re able to display ads to users who didn’t complete a form, or purchase, on prior visits.  For example, if you go to an online shoe store looking for running shoes, but you don’t purchase, then, with remarketing, the store could display running shoe ads to you, enticing you to come back and buy a pair.

Companies with products or services that require a longer decision-making process often utilize AdWords remarketing—so that, during that shop around process, the company can remind the consumer of their deals or promotions. Travel-related companies, like cruise lines, as well as colleges/universities, use remarketing often—because a vacation and an education will probably involve research and comparison.

My personal favorite feature of Google remarketing is the ability to create remarketing lists. With remarketing lists, I can tell AdWords I want to remarket to the people who viewed the T-shirt section of a website showing a “20% Off T-shirt” ad; and remarket to the people who viewed the bathing suits section of a website with a “Free Pair of Flip Flops with Swimsuit Order”. Remarketing allows you to personalize the ad to the needs of the user, which proves to be quite effective in many scenarios.

AdWords remarketing will display your ads on the Google Display Network. What’s the Google Display Network? It’s the community of websites that have opted to allow Google to display ads on their website. Just like a campaign on the Search Network, remarketing campaigns include the same metrics in the AdWords dashboard, so you can review CTR, conversion rate, bounce rate, average time on site, etc.

Now a piece of advice— change your remarketing ads a minimum of once a quarter. This will make your brand seem less annoying as you follow your past visitors. You can also set impression caps—show an ad no more than X number of times a day—so the user isn’t bombarded with ads.

Remarketing services can prove to be extremely successful for companies wanting to reach back out to their recent visitors. Not sure you want to manage a remarketing campaign in Google AdWords? Contact the Sparxoo search marketing team today and turn visits into sales and leads!

Everything Your Mother Ever Told You Was True

At one point or another, we’ve all come to the realization that our moms were right. Somewhere between all the “Don’t play ball in the house,” “Sit up straight,” and “What’s the magic word?” there were a lot of valuable nuggets. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we thought we should remind you how much a good brand can learn from our moms.

Why should we care about moms (besides the obvious, of course)? Moms make 85% of all brand purchases, but only 3% of advertising agency creative directors target women. Not to mention, 91% of women feel that advertisers don’t understand them (she-conomy.com).

There are 75 million mothers in the U.S. Who does the grocery shopping? The Christmas shopping? Clothes shopping? And who is buying more insurance plans, vehicles, and electronics? You got it. Mommy dearest. Which leads me to another reminder: never underestimate the power of a woman: Today, they control more than 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S. More money = more buying power.

Here are 7 of the many lessons from mom that ring true for good branding… 

Lesson #1: Just Trust Me. I’m Your Mother.

Inexplicable, but true. We always trusted when our moms said it would be okay.

Brand experience must achieve the same thing. Consumers aren’t just paying for a good or service. They’re paying for the emotional connection that comes along with it. Consumers want to trust in brands’ persona and quality, and enjoy associating with the brand.

Lesson #2: Don’t Take Candy from Strangers

Consumers won’t buy from brands they don’t know and trust. Get personal, be their friend, and propose your value, plain and simple. Consumers want engagement and interaction from brands, which builds trust, and thus, credibility. Don’t be a stranger.

Lesson #3: You Can’t Lie to Me; Moms Know Everything.

Part of brand messaging is the transparency that allows customers to see the alignment between value, employees, and product. Consumers notice—and appreciate—genuine brands. In today’s consumer market place, authenticity is key. To strike consumers with authenticity, a brand must show its distinction from the crowd as the most preferable choice. Consumers face a lot of choices, but laddering-up your brand with their lifestyle is the key to their heart (and wallets).

Recognize your target market and investigate. Find out their needs and their desires. Then, devise an enticing and precise strategy, from social persona to brand assets; an aspirational brand with a voice will rise above the other high-quality commodities.

Lesson #4: Always Try Your Best

A good brand is one that simplifies and improves their target audience’s lifestyle. Brands must get into the mind of the target market; a good brand knows what the consumer needs before they know themselves. Simply marketing to the masses won’t work. You must try harder.

Lesson #5: Nothing Beats Experience

Whether it was trying something new or learning a lesson the hard way, mom was right. And just the same, consumers want to be enticed by an emotional connection; create a living brand experience, and you’ve likely hit a gold mine for brand loyalty.

Lesson #6: “Walk and talk”

Moms are juggling kids’ hobbies, education, health, the grocery shopping, and the bill paying. There’s no time for chit-chat. In today’s busy world, “brands are the express checkout for people living their lives at ever increasing speed” (Brandweek). Give a concise value proposition, and be the simple convenience that consumers rely on.

Lesson #7: Never Give Up

Constantly refresh and revise your marketing strategy, finding the leading edge way to appeal to your target audience.

Sources for this article include www.nielsen.com, thenextweb.com, www.askingsmarterquestions, The Entrepreneur, and she-conomy.com