It’s tough for an organization to stand out in a crowd, but brand differentiation can be especially challenging for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). How does such a brand differentiate itself if consumers feel there’s little variation between what it and competitors offer?
Even big businesses face difficulty in setting themselves apart from competition, whether it be differentiating their sub-brands or edging out the recent rise in smaller, tech-savvy direct-to-consumer businesses. But at its heart, brand differentiation is matter of understanding and listening to your audience’s needs, then tailoring your messaging to meet them. By devising a content strategy that speaks directly to your audience’s concerns, your brand better positions itself to attract and hold onto their attention—and, hopefully, forge a lasting connection with them. Here are three simple strategies FMCG brands have used to successfully distinguished themselves.
Back Hub & Hygiene Content with User Research
One of the most effective ways to begin developing a content strategy is to support hero, hub and hygiene content. Hero content is the centerpiece which you use to cast a wide net and attract a high volume of visitors—think TVCs, for example. Hub and hygiene content, though, are increasingly important as brands face a need for always-on content across digital channels to qualify new leads or maintain relevance in audiences’ minds. To ensure hub and hygiene content are relevant to your consumers, begin by researching the types of information they’re seeking and is most important to them.
Get Personal with Influencers
Collaborating with influencers is another great way for brands to differentiate themselves, particularly by supporting a specific community—or even a handful of communities for targeted, yet broadened, appeal. When Unilever wanted to celebrate its love for fine fabrics with its Skip detergent, they knew the best people to join in the festivities would be fashion influencers and their fans.
In collaboration with +Castro and Google Zoo, we built the Skip Smart Mirror: a high-tech mirror installed at a high-end retailer that measured users’ excitement as they tried on new outfits. If an outfit generated enough excitement for the wearer, she could take it home with her, which culminated in a fun event documented by those invited to attend and try it out. Specifically, Skip invited fashion bloggers to try out the mirror—and various outfits—then share that experience to their communities. The resulting content is akin to the trend of “haul” videos or reviews through which influencers have built up their audiences’ trust.
And that’s an important thing to note; any experience built for influencer collaboration should fit well with the existing content that they produce, helping the brand to strike a more authentic relationship with the audience. Truly understanding your target audience and responding with the types of content and behaviors they’re reactive to can lend an air of relatability to your brand.
Build Trust and Identification through Representation
One of the most significant ways that brands can differentiate themselves is through diversifying their marketing to be more inclusive. But before diving into this method of differentiation, it’s important to realize that aiming to become more inclusive and diverse shouldn’t be treated as a one-time ploy to get in customers’ good graces. Rather, it should be an opportunity for your brand to make a make a true cultural commitment to better represent your audience.
One brand that’s pulled out all the stops for a diverse campaign is Johnson & Johnson. Relaunching their Johnson’s Baby brand, the company needed deliverables that featured a diverse range of families belonging to all nationalities within the 15 markets supported by the brand. This is no simple task—how can one represent their audience accurately without falling short?—so Johnson & Johnson needed a production partner who could optimize the process and deliver on their need using a single budget. The result was a library of over 2,000 deliverables tailor-made for different channels, which could be mixed and matched across markets. The assets’ versatility ensured longstanding value to the brand beyond just helping its consumers relate.
While brand differentiation might seem like a significant challenge for FMCG manufacturers, improvements in technology have provided the space for any brand to intimately connect with a consumer base. From using social listening to better tailor their content to real user concerns, supporting communities or more accurately representing market demographics, there are several ways that brands can relate to their target groups.
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