Monday, November 4, 2013

Profit from Polarization

A decade ago, Chrysler Group—the company selling the Dodge Ram truck—paid for a marketing campaign that included hate mail about Dodge Ram drivers.
     The campaign’s designers set up a website on which was posted a video of a drag race won by a Dodge Ram. There was no mention of the name, only images of the distinctive grill design. The impression from looking at the site was that it was designed by and intended for fans of the Dodge Ram. In fact, though, it had been set up by a guerrilla marketing team.
     Next, the team starting sending letters to newspaper editors bemoaning the increase in drag racing and blaming Dodge Ram drivers for it. The letters carried the names of individuals, but had been written by the team.
     This produced spontaneous statements of praise about the truck and its owners from consumers unaware of the ruse. The praise was for upholding the principle of the open road.
     The outcome was positive for the Dodge Ram.
     Researchers at Temple University, Arizona State University, and University of Munich analyze more recent examples of brand opinion controversy and suggest tactics for profiting from the polarization. They start by pointing out how two top polarized brands are McDonald’s (33% of consumers love it, while 29% hate it) and Starbucks (30% love it and 23% hate it).
     Here’s my adaptation of the Temple/Arizona/Munich tactics for use by the small to midsize retail business:
  • Trumpet the controversy. That’s what Chrysler Group did. Along the same lines, a 2011 Miracle Whip campaign urged consumers to take a stand, posting either their love (“…not fancy-dancy elite….”) or hate (“…spreadable disappointment….”) on YouTube and Facebook. Sales of Miracle Whip increased 14%. How might you use a “Love us or hate us” angle in your store’s marketing? 
  • Segment the haters. Among those who hate McDonald’s are parents concerned about the temptations from the toys and the fat in the food. Yet, from the retailer’s perspective, the trinkets and the tastiness draw dollars. One alternative is to have an additional line of items which are toy-free and low-fat. 
  • Publicly ease the controversy. Win over haters by soliciting their suggestions for improving your store operations. Maybe they’ve helpful ideas you can implement. When you do implement one or more of the ideas, advertise it widely. You can earn good will by showing you want to be your best. 
Click below for more: 
Arouse Lovers by Flaunting Haters 
Take Refuge from Controversy in Principles

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