Nothing is more memorable than seeing something confusing, weird or scary in your everyday life. There are always moments that shape and change our views on certain topics, people, locations, and companies. You may not even notice those changes until sit down and think about it. In your life, do you genuinely remember the usual activities you engage in? Do you remember every episode of every season of CSI? Do you remember every commercial or advertisement you see? Because if you do, you either have photographic memory or you’re lying. However, there’s always that one memorable moment, that one drastically different episode, or that one ridiculous commercial or ad that sits in your brain for a long time. Some may call these moments unconventional since they break away so drastically from the norm. Seeing or doing something different is what makes it memorable and in the business of marketing, everything needs to be memorable. Eventually, repeating something unusual will gradually become normal, but that’s when you change it up again. Bring something new to the table that’s totally unconventional and roll with it for a while. This tactic will make your brand or product unforgettable and the power of unconventional marketing will be in the palm of your hands.
Marketing That Actually Works
Let’s start off strong with some examples of unconventional marketing that works.
Will it blend?
Although these commercials are widely different from each other, they each have something in common; they push to convey their products in memorable ways. “Will It Blend?” shows the power of their blender using product that people normally would not think about blending. Old Spice decided to get loud and weird with Terry Crews, which makes those ads unforgettable. Aviation Gin has Ryan Reynolds as a spokesperson and presents the drink in a hilariously unrealistic way. Reynolds later does a cross promotional comedy sketch with Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee based on their fake social media feud. Now that’s genius marketing!
Whether you’re marketing on social media, email or advertisements, creating unique imagery that pops is important across all mediums. You can either be a little weird or very weird. However, it depends on the industry you work in and the image you want your brand to have. Don’t get too weird if you’re an insurance company, but get as weird as you want if you’re a coffee shop. For the rest of this blog, I’m going to assume you’re an industry that’s willing to get very creative.
How’s Your Site?
Your first stop should be your website. Look it over and ask yourself some questions:
- Would I visit this website?
- Do I feel the need to explore?
- Does it look like they know what they’re doing?
Based on your target market, your website should be appealing and different from your competition. Use complementary colors, create an odd but easy to navigate site layout or even a mascot to give your brand a face. Additionally, make sure not to go too overboard with your website. You still need to be able to convey what you’re selling. If it’s not easy on the eyes or too complicated to navigate, visitors may leave.
Check out these unique websites as an example:
- Feed Music – Feed has a visually stunning website designed in a way that should not be possible. The animations, videos, and colors keep users glued to the site wanting to learn more about what Feed has to offer. Scrolling through the site takes you through beautiful imagery that only enhances the user experience.
- Opus Grows – Need healthy and organic soil? Opus proves their soil is the best with an in-depth evaluation of the ingredients and properties associated with their product. The site has plenty of greenery with fascinating blogs and even a guide on how to grow plants.
- Toggl – Visiting Toggl immediately presents you with an adorable animation that doubles as a basic explanation on how their time tracker works. The animation style and colors flow through the entire site with simple text boxes for further details. Quite possibly the most polished website I’ve ever seen.
Once your website is complete, use your customers as guides to improve. Conduct consumer research and use constructive feedback to make necessary adjustments. You can also use Hotjar for a visual way to understand how users navigate your website.
A Cavalcade Of Content
Now that you have an awesome website, it’s time to get visitors. Content is the key to getting your website found in the first place. Without a steady stream of content, you might as well be invisible. Provide useful content that’s interesting enough to encourage repeat visitors and social media shares. But as we all know, that’s easier said than done when everyone is creating blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, newsletters and videos. So here are some tips that might work for you:
- Blogs should be entertaining and informative! Have gifs, videos, images, and jokes (but only if they’re actually funny).
- Infographics should be part of a related blog and promoted across all social media. Make sure everyone knows it exists!
- Whitepapers and eBooks should almost always be behind an email wall. In order to view either of these items, have customers input their email address and some additional information. This will give you an idea of who is downloading the material and allow them to opt-in to your newsletter.
- Newsletters will vary depending on your industry. By now we all know newsletters need to be filled with relevant content, but the biggest thing that is less common is exclusive content. Give your subscribers early access blogs and special deals to make it worth the sign-up.
- Videos need to relate to your brand and can be just as weird as the commercials at the beginning of this blog. It will take a lot of experimenting to figure out what works so take your time. Ideas like those don’t just happen overnight. Well, sometimes they do if you’re lucky. Some of mankind’s greatest inventions and stories appeared in a dream or in the shower.
Now that you have all this content lying around your website, go and promote it! Post your new content on social media and inject them into your newsletters. Connect with other bloggers and do some guest posts or get them to refer to your relevant blogs. But you’re not done yet! Now it’s time to get unconventional on social media with unique posts and follower engagement.
Oddly enough, social media can be a tricky beast to tame. If you Google anything about the ‘do’s and don’ts of social media’ you’ll come up with a sea of lists giving you stats and rules to follow. You’ll learn all about when to post, what to post, how many hashtags you should use, common social media mistakes and how many dog photos is too many. Well, as helpful as these tips can be, the most important lesson you can learn is to be real and weird. If you aren’t posting what you or your target market would consider ‘interesting content,’ than why are you doing it in the first place? Social media is the main place where you can get as creative and weird as possible, so do it.
Here are a few examples I found that may be helpful:
- Staples Stores – Follower engagement and attention grabbing call-to-actions are the key elements to Staples Instagram account. Their posts asked fun questions and got fun responses in return. Photos stay true to the brand and yet they still have fun with their photos.
- Arby’s – Now this roast-beef sandwich food chain had the hardest time with social media. They simply did not know what engaging posts to create for a long time. Arby’s succeeded when they focused on a specific audience; geeks. Their humor comes from the recognition of various anime, video game, and cartoon references. The change skyrocketed their follower count and boosted their popularity.
- Dollar Shave Club – Humor is the key ingredient for Dollar Shave Club. They somehow made shaving an interesting topic of comedy. A portion of their content sometimes has nothing to do with their product or brand! Most photos consist of cartoons, quotes and videos of their hygiene products being used in several hilarious situations.
- Totino’s – Memes populate Totino’s social media. By following recent trends and understanding what makes a meme popular, they’re able to maintain a positive reputation online.
Unconventional Marketing Is Hard and You Will Fail
The title is not meant to discourage you, but to show you the harsh reality of marketing unconventionally. You may post something that doesn’t connect with customers the way you wanted it to. Maybe you think a post is funny, but followers may think it’s confusing or just rude. You may even get comments that discuss how ridiculous your post is. Do not let this stop you from attempting something new. If anything, view it as constructive criticism to fuel your next post and make it better. All you can do is try and try again because when you find content that really works, all your time will have been worth it.
So Be Patient and Get Creative
That’s it! Marketing is about standing out and giving the people what they want. How you decide to go about it is up to you. Being unconventional is not the easiest or shortest path, but it’s definitely the most rewarding. So have fun, be patient and get creative.