“Here is the wind sheep.
And here is the wave sheep.
Here is the scared sheep,
and here is the brave sheep.
But where is the Green Sheep? “
It’s a great reflection (perfect in fact – given that Nimbler’s corporate colour is Mint Green) of the nature of the challenges that face marketers attempting to create effective brands in today’s digital marketplace that begs the question - Is being remarkable enough anymore?
In the last 10 years marketing technology has meant that “targeting homogenous groups with like-minded attitudes” is no longer enough.
Today there are three phenomena that collectively have brought about an age where every consumer (like every wildly different sheep in Mem’s book) wants, needs and expects to be treated as an individual.
Web Functionality – has reached such sophisticated levels that you not only read about your favourite product online, but you now research it online, talk to other users/customers, test it, ask questions of the seller and buy it without leaving your desk/tablet/phone. Marketing departments are expected to be able to individually deal with every customer’s precise needs in real time.
Fortunately, technology helps us satisfy most of these needs - but only the really creative marketers have started to use technology to take full advantage. A great example is Ford in the US with their new social campaign and website that invites customers to customise their new Mustangs before purchase.
Search – It used to be that a good Yellow Pages spend could secure half your yearly sales. Not any more. Marketers now must manage not only their own results in Search Engines but understand and manage (as best as they can) the prominence of reviews, blog comments and competitor comparisons that will be found in the same search for your brand or product.
Social Media – Marketing communications used to be simple. You put out a message and the market either responded or it didn’t. Today your brand has an opportunity to join the conversations of your would-be market on Social Media. But the rules are very different now. You can’t actually talk too much about yourself (brand) but rather you must be relevant in your would-be customer’s conversations and be a good listener.
All of these disciplines are important to marketing success today, as are several other new methods for engaging with your market. There are, however, two essential messages to learn.
You must engage with individuals within your target market using various new media - at once recognising that they are indeed the “Wind Sheep” or the “Brave Sheep”, while still presenting your brand as a good fit.
A Purple Cow won’t stand out any more. You need to be the Green Sheep – A stand out for sure but also a “missing” if you’re not there. And digital mediums may just be the answer.
If you would like us to help your organisation to find its inner “Green Sheep” (or Digital Brand Strengths), feel free to give Nimbler a call for an obligation free meeting.
PS. If you haven’t read Mem Fox and Judy Horacek’s childrens book “Where’s the Green Sheep?” – ask any four year old and they’ll tell you all about it. (If you’re desperate, call me and I’ll send you a copy.)
Jonathan Poynter is General Manager and Chief Marketing Strategist at Nimbler, a Digital Strategy and Communications firm in Newcastle.
Nimbler can review your Content Marketing plans, or collaborate with you to create and implement simple content plans to engage your market with your brand.