Black and white image of Baileys liquor being served in a glass with ice

Position or Purpose: What Matters Most?

— Hannah Garratt, WE 

2017 was the year of purpose-driven campaigns, with many brands adopting the ‘do well by doing good’ approach. One of the most successful examples was Heineken’s ‘Worlds Apart’ video campaign, a social experiment that shows a group of people with different opinions breaking down their barriers and finding common ground. Admittedly, I thought the ad was incredibly heartwarming, but did it make me love their product more and want to go and buy their beer? I don’t think so.

It’s time for marketers to consider whether they are getting distracted by values that are irrelevant to their brand and sacrificing sales as a result.

Let’s look at a brand that corrected this mistake. When Irish whisky brand, Baileys, realised it had no real insight or evidence to suggest that it needed to play the role of female empowerer, it scrapped its ‘Cream with Spirit’ and ‘Here’s to Us’ campaigns and refocused on listening to what its consumers wanted: pleasure. Moving forward, the brand focused its marketing on food-related campaigns to fulfill customers’ needs through ‘The Pursuit of Pleasure’.

So, as we enter a new year, bear in mind that purpose is not all about showing off that you can do good – and remember that your brand has a purpose to fulfill the needs of its consumers. To that end, consider the following three points when positioning your brand this year: 


1. Get to know your customers

Every marketing campaign has to map to your objectives, but before you begin brainstorming on your strategy, you absolutely need to know who your target audience is and what makes them tick. Think of dating: do you spend hours talking about how amazing you are? No. You ask questions to learn about the person to decide if they are the right match for you. This concept should work the same way in marketing. Once you have identified your audience, look into their behaviours so that you can gain insights into how to create the best solution for them. It sounds simple, but often marketers forget the research part and are distracted by the big idea (note Bailey’s above!).


2. Once you have the solution, don’t overcomplicate it

As humans, we love to overcomplicate things and when up against our competitors, it’s easy to lose sight of our objective in the midst of trying too hard to be different. Just because you understand your idea, does not mean your customers will. Whether it’s an ad or your website, present your solution in the most candid and succinct way possible.


3. Consistency and value is key

Marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. Have patience and remember that trying to be a jack-of-all-trades doesn’t always impress your customers. After all, consistency will make it easier for you to measure your product or service effectively. Try not to focus too much on ROI, but rather focus your attention on adding value to your content and keeping your message consistent to generate the best reputation for your brand.