Marketing success demands branding focus: the more focused your brand personality, the more effective your marketing. Then again, one flavor appeals to one segment. What if you want to aim your brand at multiple markets. Old Spice has that challenge and solves it by having a split brand personality.
Hacking away fragmented branding elements to zero in on one core message is a fundamental early step in building a marketing strategy. Being one thing consistently is pretty basic stuff. Doing that alone will net results. Doing it and successfully reaching multiple markets is tricky.
I’m on a horse
Actor Isaiah Mustafa’s Old Spice body wash ads are the stuff of legend. Ask anyone about seeing the guy saying, “I’m on a horse,” and they know ad what you’re talking about. It’s especially good because people remember what was advertised. We’ll talk more about that another time.
Old Spice chose to target women because women buy body wash for men. It’s a 180-degrees opposite angle of approach than the conventional it’s soap for men, market to men approach used by others in the category. It was a huge success by every measure. Almost.
Men buy soap too
Fragmenting markets have taken the mass out media. More channels, remote controls, and DVR’s have freed people to shape their viewing experiences. The net result: huge audiences have become rare. There’s more viewing, but it’s more spread out. That’s actually good news. It makes segmenting markets easier.
That’s exactly what Old Spice has done. While the Mustafa ads are reaching women, there’s an entirely different campaign reaching out to young men in terms they can understand. Here’s an example:
Chances of the women who like “I’m on a horse,” seeing these ads is small. It’s partially because of placement. It’s also a matter of viral connectedness.
Paid impressions on both these campaigns pales in comparison to the earned impressions. That is, the number of people who’s seen it because a friend has sent them a link, or prompted a search to see them.
Not really so split after all
Take a minute. Watch both ads. Listen to what they’re selling. They speak the same truth using different languages. Both ads deliver the same message, but each speaks to different customers in their respective language; different words, same message.
While focus still determines success, delivering the message sometimes requires different routes. That’s what Old Spice has done. You can do it too. Here’s how:
- Define your core message: Speak it in seven to ten words max. What is it people buy from you? (Hint: it’s what they buy, NOT what you sell.)
- Segment the target customers: Determine where different customer groups don’t overlap. Mature homeowners and first-time home buyers are different customers. Both have similar needs, but express them differently.
- Identify each segment’s terms of satisfaction: What matters most about your core message to each segment. Using the homeowner example: mature homeowners may want fast service while first-timers may value trust more.
- Speak your core message in each one’s terms: Think about how each segment speaks. What do they say when they call? Frame your message in their words.
It’s a matter of choosing appropriate angles of approach to the same destination. Once you undestand angle of approach, you can not only segment markets, but you can sell the unsalable. I’ll show you how that’s being done right now in my next post.
In the meantime, enjoy this spicy-scented blast from Old Spice’s marketing past.
Yeah, those were the days.[Originally published on 9 September 2010]