You’d think that when you’re sitting around with no lights, no TV, and no Internet, no brand would be able to get through to you. But for me, that definitely wasn’t the case. Here are a few things Irene taught me about marketing over the past few days:
- Relevance is still king. At Mascola, we have always beat the relevance drum, particularly when talking about social media. But relevance is equally important elsewhere, and in the aftermath of a hurricane, it’s crucial. Since radio was the one up-to-the-minute medium available to the powerless masses, the insurance industry took over the airwaves. Big guys like State Farm ran very specific ads at the perfect time, while local insurance adjusters actually got on the phone and took questions from listeners. There are so many other brands who could have benefited from radio airtime at the right time, but didn’t take the opportunity – generator companies, local restaurants who had power and fresh food, gas stove manufacturers. The list could go on and on.
- Word of mouth doesn’t need to happen online. It’s actually the oldest form of advertising, and I experienced it firsthand two days ago. I was sitting in a meeting talking about my lack of power, when a coworker mentioned they had an All-Power brand generator. I took it home that night. My husband used it to operate the wet/dry vac in our basement, loved it, and will be ordering one within the next week or two so we can be prepared for future outages. We also recommended it to all our neighbors. Yes, social media is the fastest way, but it’s not the only way.
- Retail environment can change everything. I went into the local health food store to pick up two items – milk and yogurt – for my daughter before dropping her off at my parents’ house (they were blessed with power by Monday night). I left with a bunch of healthy, nonperishable items that I could easily prepare on my gas stove. Why? The store was smart enough to have a special section targeted directly at people like me. Retail stores aren’t the only ones who should be thinking this way. Savvy brands should keep current with local trends and events, and work with their retailers so that they can be seen by their target audience at the most relevant time possible (see Lesson #1). It’s a win-win situation.