When we think of aspirational marketing, we tend to think of high end products “O’ Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” or your favourite film or sports star wearing an Omega watch. How has a carbonated drink been able to tap into this form of marketing for decades and what can we as businesses learn from it?
The key thing is that Coca Cola sell the lifestyle and not the product. At its basic level, all Coca Cola does is fulfil a need to rehydrate, but we do not think of Coca Cola like that. When we think of Coca Cola, we think of the Christmas advert, or friends’ names on bottles, or having a bottle dripping in condensation on a beach in 35-degree heat. The one thing that all these campaigns have in common is that they focus on sharing the Coca Cola with friends, there is a community feel. We are not buying into the drink we are buying into that community spirit.
For us as businesses what can we therefore take from examining Coca Cola? The first thing is that we need to make our product or service aspirational, for some businesses it is easier than others. A good example of a small business doing this well is the Vintage Soga Company in Halifax, they don’t sell furniture, they sell a lifestyle. All their posts on Facebook are of furniture in a room setting, they let their prospects imagine the product in their own home. For something like insurance it is harder, no one wants to buy or use insurance, so instead you are selling peace of mind, you are offering reassurance and when called upon you are selling a fast and reliable service.
Despite their success and brand recognition Coca Cola still invest 10% of their net operating income on marketing. A sum in the region of $4 billion a year[i] . As we enter a period when many businesses are just trying to survive then asking companies to invest 10% of their net income is a big and brave ask. But if Coca Cola, one of the most recognised brands in the world feel that they need to spend large sums of money to keep relevant then we as businesses may need to think about how we can budget for our marketing needs.
For businesses there are several ways to stay relevant, keep reminding your customers that you are there through good content marketing. Do some basic PPC to keep people going to your website and keep populating your social media channels are some of the cheaper ways to keep your marketing ticking over.
The other thing to consider is whether you need extra marketing resource and whether a freelancer is the way to go, sort terms contracts, no NI and less hassle freelances can give companies a few hours a week marketing support to help them re-establish themselves as we all head into the new normal.