Thought Leadership Article
Botswana Life Insurance Limited PR, Communications and Marketing Manager, Gabriel Tlagae
In today’s digitised world, we see a major transformation from traditional marketing vehicles to more nontangible digital domain conveyance of messaging and advertising.
Marketing assets used to comprise of perceptible collateral one could physically account for. Printing 500 flyers meant you calculate the awareness spread at 500+ (with the unequitable hope that secondary viewership of the flyer would take place). This worked until the harsh reality that locked people behind closed doors and strictly restricted movement worldwide during COVID-19 lockdowns. What to do to stay known and in touch with your customers? Digitise!
Pandora’s box to many, but still it had to be done. With digitisation, a new format of how you stay known to your clients, engage and indeed transact became centre stage. Company strategies had to be realigned to either include or totally subscribe to this notion. To top that, it meant a whole new ball game of creating new roles or enhancing existing marketing and communications to corporate organogram structures to address the online capacity requirement. From a corporate strategic build, this factored costs.
The primal understanding has always positioned digital marketing in its rudimentary introductory as cost effective compared to traditional marketing elements within companies. This until the need to keep the online customer engaged ‘without’ causing a scroll down, skip or change screen ‘syndrome’.
The burning cost factor both creative and budget re-emerged. The reassessment of marketing assets shifted from the printed flyer, book or pull banner to recreating those for online audiences. Conscious to convey relevant messaging to the right audiences within the online sphere. Somewhat cumbersome and given the ungoverned 24/7 online world, these messages had to remain relevant, engaging and sustaining the call to action attached to them for companies to leverage return on investment.
Given the essence of now ‘outdated’ marketing strategies that were meant to live on traditional marketing vehicles, crafty companies realised the need to repurpose the latter.
Think KFC’s shift from Finger Lickin’ Good to ‘That thing we always say? Ignore it. For now’. This was a very creative approach in my books given the over 60 years famous slogan’s resonance to KFC. What the famous chicken franchise did was maintain their brand’s look and feel and indeed campaign attributes but for the height of the COVID-19 pandemics era, blurred out the finger lickin’ good and closing with a slam dunk ‘that thing we always say, ignore. For now’. Crafty given that the original custom slogan ran the opposite direction to where the world was heading. KFC’s marketing lead, Kate Wall was quoted saying – ‘This year has thrown everyone – all brands – and we took a bit of a global stance that actually right now our slogan is probably the most inappropriate slogan out there, so we need to stop saying it.’
Another relevant example worth mentioning regarding repurposing existing marketing assets was BMW South Africa. Given the trailblazing success its 325i BMW model received from ‘mzanzi folks,’ to mark the model’s 30th anniversary, their thinking was simple – to celebrate the series, and perhaps spike sales and the ‘aspiration’ stature BMW is known for. For its campaign, BMW resorted to honouring the 325i with the launch of a limited-edition series, the 330i.S Limited Edition. This they called respecting the reputation it led and even more profound aligning the storyboard to true South African culture of stress drifting (go spina Gusheshe). The use of vernacular and maintaining a market fad by producing only 230 cars heighten the hype the BMW badge carried for the 325i.
In my stance, repurposing marketing assets here can be debatable but I am of the view that it was a good strategy for BMW. Yes, to using an existing commodity previously marketed above the line, yes to creating a brand alignment and a robust yes to making the new asset a collectable if you may. Now, this was just pure brilliance in my opinion.
In conclusion, the essence can be debated further. Perhaps the learning here can be to repurpose to save a buck or if the budget permits, you can overhaul the original strategy. The question then will be, is time and brand relevance on your side?