A REMARKABLE LESSON IN MARKETING A MARKER

By Laura Pleasants, Global Director of Marketing & PR at Captify

I’m by no means saying us B2B marketers have it easy. But, of all sectors to market within, CMOs at FMCG and commodity brands (low involvement, high frequency, low value) have the toughest gig. I mean, just how do you build brand love for a bottle of bleach? And, how do you build a tribal fan following for bottled water when absolutely everyone is your target audience? FMCG marketers’ skills have to swing furiously like a pendulum between creativity and then all the way over to the numbers. Not only do you have to drive intent for the goods, you’ve got to keep the CFO happy and sell it all too. And…on top of that, industry curve balls and challenges present themselves every day. From shifting supply chains, to Amazonification, to nimble boutique brands popping up, to direct-to-consumer routes – staying relevant isn’t easy.

In many FMCG sub-sectors, thousands of competing brands vie for the eyes of the consumer, with many adopting price point tactics as the deal grabber. The emotive side of advertising is more difficult to land, but when it does, it can create a beautiful synergy between the brand and the consumer. So why, when I’ve never considered the brand or identified with it, can stationery supplier Stabilo Boss and their recent Cannes winning campaign, turn my head and illuminate my interest in a marker pen, a highlighter.

Two reasons. One is marketing envy – a mixed appreciation and envy for the marketing campaign you didn’t think of, but wish you had. The second is, because I connected with their message, it resonated.

In a recent print campaign (seems like good context for a highlighter manufacturer), Stabilo highlighters cleverly emphasise history’s forgotten women. From Lise Meitner, the discoverer of nuclear fission whose male partner was awarded the Nobel Prize or Edith Wilson, the First Lady of the United States and wife of Woodrow Wilson, who took over his responsibilities after he had a stroke, pictured just below her husband, who is the subject of the photo. Stabilo uses black and white historical images to identify women in the photograph, with a vibrant strip of highlighting. A campaign perfectly executed by advertising agency, DDB.

So, what lessons can other FMCG/CPG brands gleam here?

PASSION POWERS SENTIMENT, WHICH POWERS BRAND LOVE

It’s not easy. It’s a highlighter, a pack of four only costs £2.89 on Amazon. It’s not a big purchase decision but we understand where they’re at, what they’re passionate about and that connects with me, regardless of the item. Brands looking to follow suit need to connect with their customers.

MAKE THE PRODUCT THE SUPPORTING ACTOR

In this campaign, the highlighter is front and centre but actually plays a supporting role in the creative. Put the cause first and the notoriety will follow.

REWRITE HISTORY

These incredibly powerful, intelligent, remarkable women, for just a moment got their moment to shine. For the brand, they got theirs too…on stage at Cannes Lions.

THE BIG CHALLENGE…FIND A WAY TO SCALE IT WITHOUT THE HUGE PRODUCTION COSTS

Data and digital is key. Find the passion, power it dynamically and reach everyone, just not with the same message. For example, sports enthusiasts would resonate with unsung sporting heroes.

I did actually go on to buy said highlighters, but only to highlight incredible women at Captify. Meet Priya, our lead analyst. She’s a data and insights powerhouse in our London team.

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