Insider Insights: 5 Key Tips To Build Brand Love From Leading Marketers At Burger King, EA, Walgreens, Visa & Danone

Innovation, purpose and leadership are key factors that can help brands navigate the insanity that the world has thrown at them. While they may not always be able to predict what is happening next, building a solid foundation can help build brand love through trying times. 

Innovation, purpose and leadership are key factors that can help brands navigate the insanity that the world has thrown at them. While they may not always be able to predict what is happening next, building a solid foundation can help build brand love through trying times. 

Consumers today look to brands that aren’t just selling products but that show up in the world with purpose and shared values.  

“Our vision is to have the most loved brands in the restaurant industry, and ultimately, to be the most loved brands out of any industry,” said  Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer, RBI, at State of the Industry - Brand Love: Innovation, Leadership, Purpose on Oct. 6. “If that is your big dream, you need to be doing things that make your brands relevant for the long run. In order to do that, you need to be doing good for the world.”

Burger King has been trying to help people smile despite the doom and gloom of the 24/7 news cycle this year. The QSR chain created “QR Code Whopper,” a TV ad that gave away free Whoppers, as well as made giant social distancing crowns and offered recipes for DIY Whoppers that people could prepare at home amid the booming home cooking trend driven by the pandemic. “We tried to keep it fun, comic relief for people and to do what our brands do best, which is the unique personalities that these brands have,” Machado said.

Walgreens is also trying to humanize the experience this year. The brand recently launched a campaign called “Feel More Like You,” starring real people who are going through oncology treatment. The effort aims to help people undergoing these treatments to feel better about how they look, after consumer data revealed that not only do people in chemo feel badly, they also start to not feel like they look like themselves. Walgreens took their pharmacist partnerships with beauty consultants to come up with solutions to help.

“We looked at the top 10 treatments for oncology, looked at the side effects and looked at what are the products that help address them to make people feel like themselves,”  said Alyssa Raine, Group Vice President, Customer Marketing Platforms, Walgreens. “Everything from not having eyebrows or eyelashes, of course hair, to discoloration of skin, sensitivities of fingertips, issues with nail growth and dry mouth.” 

For Electronic Arts, this has been a big year as more consumers are turning to gaming as they spend more time at home. The brand team said they would not capitalize on the crisis but instead focus on building connections. Elle McCarthy, Head of Brand, Electronic Arts (EA) launched her first brand campaign just a few weeks into joining the brand in a newly created role – a surprise, as she didn’t expect to run something so big until 2021. It all came from a simple brief that McCarthy wrote when lockdown started. 

“It had three rules,” she said. “What can we do to help people connect during this time? What can we do to help people connect to our developers and our talent? And what can we do to help people connect to things that we miss in the real world? Those first two things, any gaming company can do that, the third one, is actually leaning into the thing that really differentiates us through time.”

Find out more about how these leading brands are connecting with consumers by watching their sessions on our video on demand platform.

Here are 5 takeaways from these leading brands to help you learn to connect with consumers during unusual times and build brand love.

Make your purpose your business and marketing strategy.  “I am a big believer that your purpose is your business strategy, and therefore also your marketing strategy,” said Alyssa Raine, Group Vice President, Customer Marketing Platforms at Walgreens. “For us at Walgreens, we are very honed in on improving the health and well-being of our customers and our communities.” 

Walgreens leverages its network of tens of thousands of our pharmacists across the United States, its store footprint in these communities, its 230,000 team members and their app to help drive connections to help support the health of their customers.

Create a backup plan. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is hard to know the future. However, savvy brands like Visa have imagined different plans for different possible outcomes. 

“It is impossible to predict,” said Steve Greig, Vice President, Global Marketing at Visa.

“You just can’t predict what is going to happen. One can try, but you probably are not going to get it right, and that’s been the lesson of the last year. Right now, we plan, but we have a whole raft of different scenarios underpinning our major initiatives and investments that allow us to hopefully be agile and pivot and shift in the moment. In absence of a crystal ball, that is the best solution.” 

Ensure bias training is ongoing. Weeding out bias should last longer than one meeting.“We noticed there was a slight problem with how unconscious bias treatment was being received, which was that you had all of these groups and in them, you would have the moderator say, well I realized that I had unconscious bias and they would give their example, and everyone would do the training and people would say what they were surprised by and then they would never talk about it again,” said Elle McCarthy, Head of Brand at Electronic Arts (EA). “And you could see people walking out of the room feeling shame at the bias that they had had to reflect on that they had. It is really important that we interrogate our biases but if we don't do the follow up work then what is the outcome that we are trying to drive?”

Know your target audience. Understanding your customer is the first step in starting a conversion that will get their attention. 

“Creativity can make everything better,” said Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer at RBI (Burger King, Popeyes, etc.) “We were launching mobile payment, it was really painful to execute that technically, high degree of complexity. It took us a while to crack the code there, so when we launched, which was essential during the pandemic with contactless payment. To come up with a great idea, you need to know your target audience really well.” 

Promote shared values. Consumers these days are making more intentional choices in their purchases, looking to support brands that share their ethical values. When Danone launched its Two Good yogurt brand, they wanted to create a brand that would make a dent in a big environmental issue. They identified food waste and food insecurity and are trying to help solve both by partnering with City Harvest and We Don’t Waste to help deliver unused food to people in need. 

“Over half of millennials are talking about how they’re making purchasing decisions based on how it will impact the health of the planet as well as society at large,” said Surbhi Martin, VP Marketing, Danone. “When we look at that data, we see a way to show up in a much more purpose led manner.”

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