Have you heard the story about Hope…

Have you heard the story about Hope…

Branding | Judette Coward-Puglisi

November 18, 2010

No, not the one about Bill Clinton being born in a place called Hope or even for that matter what President Barack Obama embodied for the majority of his electoral campaign. The Hope I’m referring to is a marketing campaign that the Red Cross produced last year to raise funds for its main causes during the Christmas season.

 The Red Cross built a pop-up retail store inside a popular shopping mall in Lisbon selling an unusual product as the perfect holiday gift alternative. The product, you guessed it, was called Hope and it enabled people to feel the experience of purchasing something they had never done before.

The Red Cross store featured the expected fixtures and displays, but also sold photographic cards valued at 10 euros as donations to the Red Cross. It offered different sizes, values and kinds as they related to their various causes. People might have left the store without the traditional shopping bags, but their hearts were full. The results: a massive amount of media attention in both print and broadcast, word of marketing and trending topics on social feeds. Hundreds of people lined up to buy Hope on opening night. On day 1, the store reached the mall’s top 10 in sales and the Red Cross found its own awareness climbing among the public even as the board rolled out plans to have similar stores selling Hope in other countries.

Talk about bringing a brand to life.

Hope changed the way people saw the act of giving. It channeled and timed a behavioral opportunity and linked it to a specific business opportunity for the Red Cross. Can you think of any other brand campaign having that kind of effect recently? Old Spice, for sure, though sales of the product have been questionable.

As marketers continue to roll out campaign after campaign that reeks of familiarity and maybe even hints of boredom, it is not a far stretch to wonder how it is possible to generate new forms of creative thinking capable of developing ideas that cross retail channels, customer databases, mobile applications and social networking platforms. Perhaps it starts with marketing, communication and sales acting less territorial. Maybe it requires a commitment to focus on actions — namely, what needs to be done to bring the brand to life and connect with people. Not what is going to be said, or what is promised . But rather what is going to be done.

Some questions to consider:

  • What behavioral opportunity lies at the core of your most important business opportunity.
  • Who are the people at the center of it and what do they value?
  • Where can they connect with your brand’s purpose?
  • How can you bring your brand to life in a way that engages them around shared values?

I think the answer will activate some powerful insights into what marketers can do to create meaningful customer engagement, at the very least I know the answers may lead us to a place of Hope.