As brands market towards the next phase of consumers – millennials and Gen Z – they need to take a different approach. Both generations want to feel connected with brands before making a purchase. They are “belief-driven buyers” impacted when brands take a stance. I fall into this category and tend to shop, follow, and engage with brands that share my beliefs. I also will refuse to buy from brands that don’t.
Many brands are starting to take sides in issues around the world. I think you’ll remember the Nike ad with Colin Kaepernick, but also Patagonia has taken a strong stance on climate change, and 84 Lumber’s Super Bowl Commercial in 2017 came out against building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. These are just a few examples, but brands of all sizes are starting to appeal to their audience by voicing their beliefs. While the stance you take needs to appeal to the majority of your target market (you don’t want to lose all your customers), it also needs to align with your vision and company goals strategically. Plus, it doesn’t have to be as drastic as the ones mentioned above.
Two innovative, belief-driven campaigns that I saw this year were by Budweiser and Miller Lite
1. Budweiser calls on other brands to sponsor U.S. Women’s Soccer Leagues
I have always been a big women’s soccer team and love the U.S. Women’s National Team. I follow the team on Instagram, which is most likely why Budweiser targeted me with their latest ad.
If you don’t know, the U.S. Women’s Team was very vocal about equal pay for women soccer players after their World Cup Championship this year. Budweiser has supported them throughout the season, but this ad took a different stance. It calls out other brands to sponsor the league and is targeting the fans to sign a petition that the brands sponsoring the Women’s Soccer League would increase their likelihood to purchase that brand’s products.
Image Source: Forbes
Image Source: Forbes
Of course I signed the petition. I thought the approach to this campaign was extremely innovative. It played on the loyalty and beliefs of a fan base to motivate other brands to take a stance and support a team.
2. Miller Lite asks people to stop following them on Social Media.
The second beer company that took a new approach was Miller Lite. Their latest campaign is “aimed at millennials and a perceived dependence on social media. A MillerCoors study showed that half of drinkers ages 21 to 27 years old meet with their close friends in person less than a few times a month.” Miller Lite’s new campaign focuses on taking the reliance off of social media and getting out to see your friends. They are asking people to unfollow them on Facebook and Instagram. If you do, they’ll send you a free beer.
In a time when most companies are basing their value off the number of followers they have on social media, Miller Lite is telling you to unfollow them and rewarding you for doing so.
So, what do these campaigns have in common?
Research & Targeting – Both of these campaigns were well-researched based on their target market. I am sure that Budweiser strategically targeted me to see their ad because I have purchased USWNT merchandise and follow them on social media. If I didn’t fit that market, I wouldn’t have seen their advertisement. Miller Lite’s ad campaign is trying to motivate their market to go out more to see their friends based on a recent study. By going out, people will buy more of their beer. It also built loyalty by sending free beers to potential customers.
Alignment to Content Vision – Both campaigns align with each brand’s overall vision and mission. Miller Lite’s vision says, “The best times are spent together with our best friends drinking a few beers.” Their campaign fully supports that vision and getting the message to their market. Budweiser’s mission talks about supporting their communities and sharing what they believe in.
So, if your brand is thinking about taking a stance, be sure it is well-researched, will appeal to a large portion of your market, and aligns with your vision and mission as a brand.