Consumers around the world encounter ads all the time. Whether they are walking on a busy street or browsing social media, brands selling products and services will always be present.
To be noticed by the public is the goal of every advertisement. Only by visible can brands pitch their products and services to potential customers. There are numerous strategies that help brands capture the attention of consumers and urge them to make a purchase. Many utilize the troves of data that social media companies collect on consumers to target potential customers based on their online activities and preferences. There are also many brands that continue to advertise through traditional means such as billboards and posters.
But with every brand trying to be noticed, both the online and real-world advertising landscape has become very competitive. Marketers have to work harder to come up with a campaign that people will see and feel compelled to spend their hard-earned money.
As every ad grows louder and brighter, some are taking the quieter and more understated approach to marketing.
Getting Attention by Not Wanting Attention
Gucci is a global luxury brand represented by top movie and pop stars from around the world. It is known to hire only the best photographers and supermodels in the world, taking them to the best locations in France or in Spain to shoot campaigns that will go on to prestigious publications and stores.
Whenever it has a new launch, everybody knows. The media await announcements and news coming out of the Italian design house and then share them with the public. There is always so much fanfare around launches. However, for one of the brand’s recent launches, it skipped the runways and celebrity parties. Instead, it did what other brands are not doing: wait for consumers to discover it.
Gucci hosted pop-ups in low-profile locations, and there was no big announcement involved. The brand wanted local communities to encounter it. It did not need to be on the news or advertised all over social media, either. Those who found the pop-up stores broadcast its locations to friends, families, and their own online followers.
Gucci is only one of the brands that have changed their marketing strategy to appeal to the modern consumer. Balmain has recently also halted advertising on print, choosing to spend its budget on full-look styling. Typically, the magazine’s stylist picks which clothes the model will wear, but with the deal with Balmain, the brand directs the styling.
It is evident in music, too. Look at Beyonce and Taylor Swift, both foregoing an album announcement months before release. Instead, they release the entire album seemingly out of the blue.
It is not a new concept. Called stealth advertising, it is a strategy in which the customer does not notice or feel like they are being marketed to. It happens in movies and television shows where the character drinks a soda or uses an electronic device.
It is an effective marketing strategy because consumers can recognize ads, and they do not often enjoy it. In fact, a survey found that 96 percent of consumers do not trust the ads they see.
Marketers need to make the marketing campaign look more authentic for consumers to respond positively to it, and that is exactly how stealth marketing can help. It successfully raises awareness of a brand or a product in non-traditional ways. Therefore, consumers become a more willing audience.
Stealth Marketing for Small Businesses
Most of the time, brands can do stealth marketing because they have become globally renowned and recognized or afford to fund multiple campaigns. However, small businesses can also be stealthy in marketing their brand.
Using a car wrap, for example, is a way to make the public pay attention without making them feel that they are being sold a product or service. The people who see it will be reminded of the brand.
Owners can also promote their business via online forums. If they can become a part of online communities such as Reddit or Facebook Groups, their business can gain new customers organically. But of course, they have to be an active member of the community, not just there to promote a product. Otherwise, consumers would not feel so compelled to make a purchase.
The Bottom Line
Even big brands are pulling back on advertising and opting for a more low-key strategy. It is low-cost yet very effective. It is an excellent way to promote the brand, its products, and its services without being too obvious.