NCET explores business and technology
By Mikalee Byerman
Last week saw two consumer giants — Nivea and Pepsi — making ginormous strategic messaging missteps.
If you’ve not seen them, Google “Nivea White Purity” (I mean, come on…) or “Kendall Jenner gives cop a Pepsi during protest” (seriously) to get the full download. Then proceed to scratch your head and dumbfoundedly stare at the screen, like everyone else did — well, outside of their respective marketing teams, clearly.
Now, full disclosure: I’m a strategist and writer for an advertising agency, so I get that I may be a little more critical than most. But I’m guessing even those WITHOUT a communications background can easily see the problems inherent to these messages. My 4-year- old toddler likely can.
And the truly flabbergasting part: These messages are presumably part of a larger strategy.
Which brings us to point 1: What is marketing strategy? In a nutshell, a strategy is a plan that defines the best way to communicate with the people who should receive your message.
For Pepsi, part of their strategy may have involved using a trending current event to highlight their product. For Nivea — well, I honestly have no idea what strategy led to “white purity.” I just don’t.
Here’s the second point: Every communication that comes from your business should be part of a larger strategy. And I would recommend you develop multiple specific marketing strategies, based on your product and audience. At minimum, I recommend every business tackles at least these:
1. Advertising strategy: This is paid media — which includes traditional outlets like print, TV, radio, etc.
2. Public relations strategy: This is unpaid/earned exposure; in other words, you’re promoting not through ads, but through reputation, word of mouth, image and newsworthiness. At its most basic, PR is persuasion through relationship-building.
3. Social/digital strategy: This lives on the web and in social media.
At its most overarching, 35,000-foot level analysis, here are the basic questions you’ll need to ask to determine strategy:
1. What are your goals?
2. Where does the audience “hang out”?
3. What is your message?
4. How will you deliver the message?
5. What is your time frame?
6. How do you measure results?
7. And finally, here are key evaluation questions: What did you learn? How will this change your strategy moving forward? How will it continue to evolve to address your ever-changing marketplace?
Remember: You’ll repeat this process for each of the marketing strategies listed above (advertising, PR and social). And if you need help, call in the reserves — an agency or internal strategist can help you explore, inspire and create.
With strategies in place, you’ll be a step ahead in business — maybe even a step ahead of Pepsi and Nivea, which are likely back at the table asking some intense questions of their own.
At least I hope they are.
Mikalee Byerman is VP of Strategy for the Estipona Group and NCET’s VP of Communications. NCET is a member-supported non-profit that produces networking events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology. This column originally appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.