Marketers need to be exceedingly creative when promoting a new product, especially in 2023. The landscape is uber competitive, with brand new products being released every day. Today’s brands need to stand out from the crowd with unique advertising, clear value propositions, and a sound handle on social media trends and outreach initiatives. Oren John is an expert on product marketing with knowledge to share. As a serial entrepreneur, former President of a CPG company, and marketing executive specializing in regulated and luxury products, Oren’s expertise and advice is applicable across several verticals. In a recent episode of “You’re Not Your ROAS”, Oren sat down with Rabah to share his thoughts on the dynamics of celebrity-driven fashion ventures, navigating the powerful world of social media, and shooting for the stars with moonshot marketing. Listen in at the link below, or read on for a summary of the coolest bits of this episode!
Early in his marketing career, Oren was a Creative Director at Brandsway Creative, having worked with brands like Ciroc, Grey Goose, Red Bull, and more. While working in product development, he realized he enjoyed viewing it through the lens of customer experience. He’s entirely fascinated with incorporating trends, brand stories, and product storytelling into how he presents the product. He also served as President of Unrivaled Brands, a California-based cannabis company, so has a unique perspective on marketing in a regulated industry. These days, Oren John regularly shares insights on product development and marketing on the Builders Build podcast and his TikTok. In this article, we’ll discuss some recent trends and what they mean for the marketing scene!
Endorsements from celebrities are about as common-place as days of the week. Ever since (and even before) Michael Jordan’s face was plastered onto a box of Wheaties, we’ve been making product decisions based on what a celebrity says. With social media’s evolution into branded campaigns and product placements, it’s easier than ever for a brand to ride the coattails of a popular public figure.
When Under Armor released Project Rock in collaboration with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 2018, the collection sold out in 30 minutes. While you might not be able to get The Rock to promote your product (but hey, props if you do), it’s no secret that 75% of advertisers are using some sort of influencer marketing in their campaigns. But, the brands that celebrities endorse (or the products they create themselves) need to make sense to be successful.
Fenty Beauty, created by Rihanna and billed as being inclusive for all skin types, has seen great success with Rihanna as the main spokesperson for the brand. Rihanna applied her Fenty Beauty Invisimatte powder midway through 2023’s Super Bowl Halftime Show and earned $5.6 million dollars in media impact value in the 12 hours that followed. Her influence is undeniable, but it is her deep involvement with the brand that delivers the powerful push required to drive sales. In a similar vein, Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty was reported to hit $90 million in sales in 2022, and continues to grow in popularity. Selena’s values are apparent through the brand’s simple packaging and ethos of loving yourself just as you are, versus using makeup to distort features. By making the founder relatable, they’re able to reach customers right at their level.
Pharrell Williams is now the Creative Director for Louis Vuitton men’s wear, and recently hosted his first Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. In the episode, Oren John explains that Pharrell has an extensive personal network and a great enabler. As a whole, celebrity-backed ventures often perform the best when the degree of involvement and dedication the celebrity has toward the category is very high, which is why a company like Fenty Beauty is so successful. By contrast, Beyoncé’s Adidas collaboration fell flat, possibly because Beyoncé’s personal style lies outside bold activewear. As brands evolve, they should take note of which celebrity partnerships remain valuable and try to emulate the successful ones. There have been many times in the past when industry-altering decisions have transformed a brand, such as Tom Ford’s reinvention of Gucci. There’s often high reward in high risk decisions, and that’s where the concept of shooting for the moon comes into play.
Just like the first time man landed on the moon, “moonshot marketing” is defined as a bold and innovative marketing strategy that has high risk, high reward. The Apollo 11 mission had a 50-50 chance of landing on the first attempt, and we all know how that worked out. A moonshot marketing attempt takes a portion of the marketing budget and invests it in unconventional and potentially high-reward idea. These strategies require significant creativity and ingenuity, but if they’re successful, they can help a company stand out from the competition in a very meaningful way.
What makes a good moonshot goal? First of all, it should inspire us. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy said: “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” And thus, the concept of ‘moonshot thinking’ was born. When we read this quote, we’re inspired to go along for the ride.
Secondly, it should be credible. President Kennedy didn’t write a check he couldn’t cash; at the time he declared the moonshot goal, there already was significant research and technology developed that ensured it was plausible.
Lastly, the moonshot should be imaginative and something that breaks us away from the norm. A great example is Google’s fully-autonomous vehicles at Waymo. Not having to drive sounds awesome, and we can all get behind safer car travel! Examples of moonshot marketing could include unexpected partnerships, viral advertising campaigns, or interactive marketing initiatives. Overall, a moonshot marketing attempt should have a goal of industry-altering success rather than an incremental improvement.
Understanding how to reach customers on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube can be a powerful way to promote your brand for little to zero dollars. These platforms provide an opportunity for brands to engage with their audience in a way that feels genuine, creating a sense of community around their products or services. Leveraging these platforms to their fullest potential is a key aspect of a successful digital marketing strategy.
A significant aspect of this involves authenticity and sincerity in social media personalities. Today's consumers are not just interested in a product or service; they're also invested in the people behind the brands. The way a brand presents itself to its audience can make or break its organic reach, and many brands have masterfully created a community around their product.
Take Liquid Death, for example, which more or less started as a joke. The brand’s co-founder, Mike Cessario, got the idea for Liquid Death after watching competitors in the Vans Warped Tour in 2009, knowing that they were drinking water out of Monster energy drink cans. He thought, why not market water similar to how energy drinks are marketed, since most athletes aren’t even drinking the drinks they endorse, but they are drinking water. Their focus, then, was less about the product and more about the vibes. Mike once said “if you can make people laugh, they will have a deeper connection with your brand, regardless of the functional differences of your liquid.”
And so laugh at Liquid Death we do, along with its 2.2 million Instagram followers and 3.9 million TikTok followers. These brand loyalists are there for the entertainment before the beverage, although the beverage gets a lot of good reviews… it’s just straight-up mountain water. Liquid Death’s no-nonsense marketing and connection to its audience has allowed it to steadily grow with carbonated water and iced tea as more products to murder our thirst. A sincere personality fostered a sense of loyalty amongst the community, and allowed this brand to build a literal cult following.
However, being present on various platforms doesn't mean simply repurposing the same content across all channels. Each platform has its unique features and audience preferences, and understanding these nuances can be the key to crafting an effective social media strategy. Hence, a successful brand will tailor its content and approach to match each platform, thus ensuring that it not only has a broad reach, but also a meaningful and engaging one.
In conclusion, navigating the world of social media marketing requires a keen understanding of various platforms and their specific dynamics. It's about fostering authenticity, embracing diversity, and recognizing the unique opportunities each platform presents. In doing so, brands can unlock the immense potential of these platforms, maximizing their organic reach, and building stronger connections with their audience.
Supercharge your growth with a purpose-built ecomOS for brands and agencies.