Contagious, an advisory service for the marketing industry, has revealed five "commandments" for marketeeers to live by and has urged publishers to be brave with their brands.
Speaking on behalf of the agency - soon to publish The Contagious Commandments: 10 Steps to Brand Bravery with Penguin this autumn - senior strategist Anna Chapman (pictured) told The Bookseller's Marketing and Publicity Conference her first commandment for marketeers to live by was to always "be useful, relevant and entertaining".
Emphasising quality over quantity of output, she illustrated the point at the Milton Court venue in London on Tuesday (26th June) with a case study of the party game Cards Against Humanity, a small brand that punched above its weight when it decided to "save America" with a holiday promotion. For $15, customers were promised six tongue-in-cheek surprises. The first surprise was that the company had purchased a plot of vacant land along the US-Mexico border which it told customers would make it more time-consuming and expensive for Donald Trump to build his wall. Tapping into a timely and enraging issue, the result was that 150,000 slots were snapped up within hours of the campaign's launch, and a $300,000 portion of the profits was given to charity.
In a second commandment, Chapman urged marketing professionals to "be generous" by always asking what the customer stands to gain. This was demonstrated with a campaign run by Swann Insurance in Australia that found motorcyclists aged 30 and above were increasingly in need of an excuse to ride their motorbikes. Knowing this, it proceeded to build and advertise "inconvenience stores" along Australia's best riding routes, promising riders who made it to the stores a 10% discount on their insurance policy. It resulted in a 284% increase in socal engagement while revenue year-on-year rose more than 50%.
"Align with behaviour" was Contagious' third commandment. The company Sleek Make-Up recognised not all of its customers had been embraced by the beauty industry yet and used its products. It released a statement of intent that it would be "brave and bold" and "representative of all make-up junkies - especially those ignored by the beauty industry" - with an advert also showcasing men who chose to use its make-up. Positive comments within the target audience surged 759%.
The importance of the creation of assets was stressed in Contagious' fourth commandment: "Weaponise your audience". In Canada, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection embarked on a challenging campaign to address an 89% rise in cases of boys facing blackmail after sending naked pictures to strangers on the internet. To raise awareness of the issue of 'sextortion' among teenagers, it ran a humourous campaign where instead of sending a intimate photo, teenagers were encouraged to "share a picture of a naked mole rat instead". The shareable assets ranged from stickers to phone cases and 500,000 mole rat memes were shared worldwide. The not-for-profit had a budget of $5,000 but used little over half of this because of its shareability and the traction gained from using humour over shock tactics.
The company's final commandment for brands was to "have a purpose" and a clear organising principle from which consumers could understand the brand.
The Bookseller's Marketing and Publicity conference is running on 26th June at Milton Court at the Barbican in central London.
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