How brands engage with customers

The advertising industry is in a state of flux. Marketing budgets are increasing and there are more media channels to choose from than ever before. This also means that that people are being bombarded with messages everywhere they look.

It’s no longer enough to place an image of your product on a page, stand back and wait for the orders to flood in. Today, campaigns are the product of intense thought, meticulous preparation and complicated execution. Campaigns aim to connect with customers, and companies are developing ever-more creative ways to increase brand engagement.

If the shoe fits 
Successful advertising campaigns can help brands multiply sales. The now famous Nike PhotoiD project created by AKQA is one example. The idea was simple: allow customers to design their own Nike-branded shoes and other products. The successful campaign took brand interaction to the next level and it rolled out to Nike stores. Professional designers helped customers achieve their desired look and software was developed for mobile devices so people could work on their designs remotely. This integration of a number of strands helped to grab public attention and contributed to the success of the campaign. 

Describing NikeiD’s success AKQA co-founder Ajaz Ahmed says, “It’s an example of brand building through serving, rather than interrupting through an ad”. 

Small but perfectly formed 
AKQA isn’t the only agency creating campaigns that engage consumers in new ways. Another example is LIDA, which helped Ikea bring its “Making small spaces big” mantra to life. Space is at a premium in the UK – especially in big cities – so LIDA created an extensive interactive home online to illustrate the space-saving credentials of Ikea furniture. 

The interactive tool is connected to the equivalent product pages on Ikea’s online store so viewers can act on impulse and order products immediately. This example of campaign integration ensures maximum customer engagement and is a cost-effective way to pull together different resources across the brand.

This drink has your name on it
In the US, Coca-Cola managed to increase sales for the first time in 11 years when it introduced personalised bottles and cans featuring first names, and words such as ‘family’ and ‘friends’.

The campaign originally launched in Australia with the aim of re-engaging consumers with the brand across multiple media as well as in store. The result was a 7% sales spike, so the experiment was rolled out globally. In the UK, Coca-Cola cans and bottles were adorned with 1,000 different names and the results were impressive, with social media interaction growing and the brand reaching 40% of the UK Facebook population. In the year leading up to summer 2014, Coca-Cola experienced a 2% sales uplift, which represents a substantial boost for a large multinational.

These examples are all complex launches with exposure in print, online, TV and outdoor advertising. But in many cases the central premise is very simple. Businesses should use all the resources at their disposal to create engaging and integrated campaigns that create a buzz around their brands on social media and pique the interest of existing and potential customers. 

By making advertising relevant, interactive and personalised, you can cut through the noise and get your message heard.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK