Is Nature a Marketing Guru?
Yeah, for about five minutes–then natural instincts take over. Are you going to fight Mamma Nature? Well go ahead and rewrite the rules if you can, cause the Big Mamma knows one thing. She’s tried and tested it all. And if you want to play by her kooky rules, she is willing to teach you a thing or two.
The question is, are you willing to learn?
Do You Pay in Advance?
Have you noticed how big a brand Red Bull is today? Or how insignificant their advertising is? Red Bull shuns print advertising and has never done a triple back flip on a web campaign. Yet, it has found roots in over 50 countries. And has cemented its loyalty in the fickle land of teenagers.
So what’s Red Bull’s big secret?
It’s called GIVING.
Their marketing strategy was simple. They enticed students with free cases of Red Bull, if they threw a party. Guess how many students need an excuse to have a party? With a simple act of giving away free cases to the right target audience in the right universities, Red Bull became a very rich Red Bull.
Yet Where Are Most Marketing Plans Aimed?
Too often marketing is aimed solely at GETTING. Look at all those marketing plans, those many advertisements blaring away on the radio and TV. It’s get, get — all the time!
Yet, nature pooh poohs the stuff. Putting a carrot (not cart) before the horse, nature works on the giving part first. In its own little marketing and advertising way, a flower works contrary to most marketers.
Using the bait of colour and nectar, it draws the bees, knowing full well that its very existence depends on giving bees what they want first, so the bees will carry their pollen.
Wander down the supermarket aisle and you’ll see what I mean. Fifty thousand brands stare at you, screaming at you to buy them. Then a little ol’ lady offers you a sample of a product.
Fifteen seconds into your tasting session, she gives you another sample. Then, for no apparent reason, a bottle or two of the product finds itself in your cart. Were you sold? You betcha!
Giving works for a simple reason. Nature hates imbalance. If the deer get faster, so do the cheetahs. It’s a classic system to keep things in balance. Which effectively means that to create an imbalance in marketing in your favor, you’ve got to give first.
Are You Ready To Do the 1-2-3 and Cha-Cha-Cha?
Do you play the dating game? Or do you rush in to conquer most of the time? Mamma Nature knows that haste makes waste. Yet marketers think nothing of blowing squillions of dollars on various hare-brained, get-rich-quick schemes that achieve far less than their potential.
Here's an example. Harley Davidson has been to hog hell and back. Just in time to save its bacon, it decided to work on the cha-cha-cha instead of the wham, bam method.
The reward has manifested itself in thousands of die-hard Harley fans that would go all the way on their Harleys. Even today, despite being in an enviable position, Harley still finds time to wine and dine its customers while thumbing its nose at traditional media.
Another good example of cha-cha-cha marketing is how the British operated in the 19th century. Instead of slamming their way into conquering new lands, they went as traders. Whether history likes it or not, they maximized their potential in a systematic and natural marketing manner.
What Happens When Nature Goofs Up
Even nature loses out when it fails to obey its own rules. As long as it sticks to its spring, summer, autumn, winter routine, we go along with the “relationship.” Yet every time it does the 60-second prime time TV spot on us, we absolutely hate it.
Oh sure, there’s great colour, drama and pizzazz in a whirling tornado, but there’s zero empathy and a whole lot of defiance.
Turn on the music, move those feet. This isn’t some behemoth CRM program we’re talking about. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but flowers arouse less suspicion. Do the cha-cha-cha and the getting to know your customer. It’s cheaper, it follows steps, and it works.
Is Your Target Audience “Everyone?”
Nature would laugh at you and laugh heartily. Are you setting yourself up for disaster or what? Even a pimple-ridden 13 year old knows exactly who her knight in shining armor is. While the concept of being in the company of 20 gorgeous men would set her eyes alight, her brain knows better.
Yet most businesses horrify the heck out of Nature. In an apparent suicidal move, they go after a general audience in order to maximize their returns. Some of the biggest brands today are built on single-minded focus. Mercedes, Volvo, Rolex, McDonalds, Red Bull and Playboy all have a clearly defined target audience.
If you doubt it, take a look at a wild dog attack on a National Geographic broadcast. Have you noticed the focus and strategy of their attack? They single out the prey and go after it in a pre-defined relay system. It gets results, and isn’t that what you want?
Gotta Keep on Dancing
When was the last time your heart stopped beating? And isn’t that good, because if it did, you’d be taking harp lessons in a big hurry. Nature doesn’t stop its marketing campaign and neither should you.
The first thing businesses do when the economy takes a downturn is pull the plug on marketing. Fat good that’s going to do you! That’s like telling your heart to work at half the heart beats when things aren’t good.
The planet doesn’t stop rotating, the trees don’t stop growing and the fish don’t stop swimming. Yet in an absolute violation of the most basic law of nature, we stop and start like some trainee driver.
There Ain’t No One Like Me!
Nature doesn’t brand-extend. It creates something and then it throws away the mould. When it creates a product, it makes sure that product thrives, grows and multiplies. It adds colour, shape and size for a bountiful variety, but brand extension is a no-no.
Yet look at some of the biggies out there. They put out their brands and then put their names on everything from computers to soap. Dove still stands for soap with 1/4th moisturising cream. Yet, in the supermarket, Dove tries to take on the full force of nature by brand-extending.
Does it work? Yes and no. People have too much clutter in their heads already. To add to that clutter is asking for trouble. Our brains identify with one object when we are given a name.
From Nokia to Chimpanzee
When I say Nokia, you say mobile phone. Yet Nokia sold everything from gumboots to computers — even TV sets. Then one day it dawned on them that they could conquer the world with a brand name that stood for one thing and one thing alone.
Sure a chimpanzee and a baboon are both monkeys, but they’re essentially different products. You won’t find a chimpanzee light or a chimpanzee diet in the species. They’re either chimps or they’re baboons! Besides, their unique brand name allows you to identify them with zero confusion every time! Uniqueness is your brand’s birthright. Use it well.
Here are some “Au Naturel” guidelines to business and marketing strategy:
1) Pay in Advance: First you shall sow, and then you shall reap. And you must sow in fertile ground not on rocky soil. Give, and you shall receive. Does this all sound familiar? Are you giving away anything worthwhile on your website, through your advertising, in your brochures?
2) Do the dance one step at a time: You’ll just make a fool of yourself if you don’t build up your reputation with your customers. Give them the best you possibly can. When nature puts on a beautiful butterfly, it starts with a worm.
3) Put on the glasses: Get focus in your life because Nature will make sure you pay big time if you don’t. Sure you can get business, but think of what’s possible if you focus. A little focus right now reaps long-term rewards. It’s your choice.
4) She’s only happy when she’s dancing: Is that a Bryan Adams song? Or is Nature telling us what we should be doing? She’s on the floor. Go on and boogie.
5) And then there was one: Is your fingerprint different? Is your iris different? Do you have a clone? Nature doesn’t think it works in real life. Why do you think differently?
6) And finally: Take off your headphones and look at what nature is saying.
It’s showing you the colour of money!
Next Selling Article: Like a Virgin – Is Your Marketing As Fresh As Madonna’s?
Next Step: Read actionable articles on branding.