Summer’s in. Brands are Hot.

May 27, 2013sparxoo_admin

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
    • 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?