Brands Need To Get More Personal

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Gareth Marshall, Senior Brand Manager at Unilever, states that marketers face the daily challenge of impressing and engaging with consumers at the right time, place and on the right platform. They’re always looking to land a sale, to make our brands stand out and to be remembered. It’s a tough gig, but his philosophy is that we need to start getting more personal with consumers.
One of the most powerful aspects of marketing for me is that everyone has a reaction to a brand or product they engage in. Added to that is that we as marketers are in a very powerful position, we literally have the power to change lives – so why aren’t we doing better work?
I’m in the very fortunate position of working on a brand that I know is changing people’s lives. Through the extremely powerful platform of football, Shield is currently in year three of the very successful Sbonis’iDiski campaign, geared at empowering young South African football talent through grassroots development and skills training.
Through this campaign, we’ve been able to unlock amazing partnership opportunities with Chelsea Football Club and Orlando Pirates. These opportunities have enabled a number of players to take their game to the next level and land professional football contracts. It’s a campaign that is life-changing on all levels.
I always encourage my teams to think back to who our consumer is and what problem we want to solve. Don’t just throw money at a problem, we as marketers are so much more imaginative and powerful than that. Ask yourself, ‘Is your brand is making a sustainable difference?’ The important aspect in marketing for me is that we must add value to a person – always put the consumer first – they are after all spending their hard-earned money on your brand.
Consumers don’t want us to just show them a product, they need to experience it. Put it to the test. They should tell you if it works, not the other way round. I believe the real insights come from speaking to people on the ground. I’d encourage my fellow marketers to not be scared of any negative feedback. Feedback is engagement, and engagement is key.
Constantly evaluate where you are, reinvent, tweak your strategy but take time to speak to consumers, and always be authentic. I think that all brands no matter the size, can and should do better. Every brand can improve!
Marketing is one of the most exciting places to be in right now – live and breathe the business that you’re in and importantly, get personal!