Hope springs eternal. I always have loved that expression.
So, I love this recent research revealing that hope can benefit brands in their marketing strategy:
- Gain loyalty as well as foster forgiveness when brand performance is below expectations.
- Reduce the amount of persuasion a brand must use to encourage consumer trial.
- Form deep-lasting consumer relationships.
Hope is one of the most powerful human emotions, so it is relevant and valuable while creating customer experiences.
That is the heart of research by Deborah MacIinnis and Gustavo E. de Mello presented in the Journal of Marketing. These experts use the success of Manchester City soccer to illustrate their points. Hey Cub fans, these benefits of hope will ring true as you think about last year’s historic World Series run.
MacInnis and de Mello believe that brands and marketers can be promoters of hope, and use this powerful emotion to enhance consumer experiences by turning impossibility into possibility and enhancing yearning:
- Turning impossibility into possibility using strategies suggesting possibilities like:
- In the product itself through innovations or revolutionary designs, so consumers see that unattainable outcomes are possible.
- In the purchase process, where achieving a goal is seen as impossible if a consumer does not know where to start.
I am more familiar with the Cubs than Man City. Like the soccer club, the Cubs invested in their “product innovations” both in free agents (John Lester) and trades (Jake Arrieta and Anthony Rizzo) and the draft and in a farm system (Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber). And ultimately, they found their maestro in Joe Maddon.
- Enhancing yearning by using strategies like:
- Increasing the outcomes’ perceived importance.
- Increasing the degree to which outcome is associated with favorable goal.
Man City and the Cubs used social media extensively. The Cubs social media accounts saw a 387.3 percent increase in average interactions during the World Series compared to their regular season interactions. During the entire playoffs, the Cubs saw 118 million interactions, dominating other playoff teams. And the Cubs playoff and Series ticket prices proved that yearning; possibly becoming the most expensive tickets ever.
Okay, so you’re not the Cubs. You’re a smaller enterprise, so how can you take advantage of this research. I have worked with smaller companies and brands that have:
- An emerging college’s sports management program. It creates opportunities for students to work with Chicago sports teams through its connections and by positioning Chicago as its classroom. The program promotes its alumni, many working in important jobs with Chicago sports teams, as proof of their program’s success. They are using LinkedIn and advisory panel and networking events to engage alumni, students and sports organizations and spread word about the program.
- A renowned sports instructor who wants to sell more of his new instruction book and DVDs by breathing new life into his website and rebuilding exposure with traditional media. He then will use those foundations to create brand and content authenticity. And that will drive more exposure on his site and eventually on purposeful social media channels.
- A startup, cool and hip Chicago T-Shirt company who wants to get more young, cool and hip folks – young standup comics and bands or other brand ambassadors — to wear their “Chicago-Inspired” shirts. They are using social media to blast out the message about how the cool folks are their customers — the shirts are “edge cool” designs. They are amplifying their coolsters’ outreach by engaging bloggers and promoting the heck out of new shirts and ambassadors on Instagram. They also hit the streets – showing shirts and engaging customers at Chicago’s famous summer street festivals.
- A new overspeed golf training product that using social media channels to inform, entertain and educate golfers of all skill levels about the benefit of speed training – greater distance. They are concentrating on Instagram and their interactive site to show pros and amateurs’ success stories in increasing their distance off the tee.
- A rejuvenated putter brand that has expanded its proprietary alignment technology to an entire putter line, and grows its fan base and popularity among pros and amateurs. It has formed a community of fans and followers for the brand. It also created a special community of instructors teaching putting and building them a new revenue stream for instructors. The brand has been a forerunner in using new technology to unite both players and coaches around new content about putting success.
So, how do you make hope a powerful marketing strategy for your brand and company?
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