Sometimes it doesn't matter whether a product is unbelievably revolutionary or is something we've seen a million times before. The right branding campaign can create something amazing out of anything and helps unknown companies flourish and grow. However, successful branding campaigns and the companies that develop around them don't experience that success by accident.
Interestingly, new technologies and products sometimes suffer from something "Inc" calls the innovator's dilemma. This idea means that a truly innovative product might not get the recognition it deserves as the first company out of the gate.
Whether a company's product is ground-breaking or is just another item in a crowded industry, it's worth taking a lesson from the following branding innovators, which each changed the playing field with incredibly innovative branding.
The remarkable story of Chobani's rise to fame is significant because of the young age of the business. Founded in 2005, it took just three years for the company to become the most successful Greek yogurt brand in the United States. In an interview published by the Harvard Business Review, the founder revealed that the company started with a dilapidated old yogurt factory and a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
In an article published in 2011 by "The Huffington Post," the author revealed sales of Greek-style yogurt went from $60 million to $1.5 billion in just half a decade, mainly due to Chobani's entry into the yogurt game. Why was Chobani able to conquer the hearts and minds of yogurt lovers so swiftly?
The "New York Times" published an interesting piece on the company's early branding strategy. Rather than create an advertising campaign from within, the company encouraged fans of the yogurt to submit their own stories to the company in a giant viral media campaign. The branding effort certainly worked since Chobani remains the industry leader in Greek-style yogurt.
Apple spent a few turbulent decades in the 1980s and 1990s working to establish itself as a distinctive brand, separate from rival Microsoft, but it wasn't until the "i" revolution that branding and advertising executives took note of the company's rise to fame. With the release of the "iMac" and the "iPod," founder Steve Jobs turned what was once a company for computer nerds and programmers into a chic brand for technophiles and upwardly mobile Gen-Xers.
Apple's fortunes experienced a complete reversal through the very interesting tactic of overpriced equipment. Rather than making computers and gadgets available to the masses, Apple decided to create an aura of exclusivity by selling products for much more than their competitors.
The result? A company whose products became synonymous with excellent technology, innovation, and style.
Interestingly, some critics thought that the recently advertised "cheap" iPhone 5C would sink the exclusivity of the brand. However, Apple managed to find the right mix of marketing the less expensive phone and still retain public sentiment regarding the high tech distinctiveness of the overall brand.
One of the first areas where Americans cut back on spending during the "Great Recession" was on eating out. Years of declining sales have forced several huge names in the sit-down restaurant business to rethink their strategy, sell off poorly performing chains, and shutter thousands of restaurants. Waiting in the wings was innovative company Chipotle, which jumped on the "fast-casual" restaurant segment.
According to "Restaurant News," restaurants like Chipotle have enjoyed five consecutive years of growth and prosperity, while fast food chains like McDonald's have been reporting falling sales and haven't been able to capitalize on the nation's economic recovery. According to an article by Slate, Chipotle's success is eye-opening because the chain is one of the only true restaurant success stories in the past few years.
The key to Chipotle's success? An amazing advertising campaign that combined natural, healthy food and the public's love for a good yarn. Check out "The Scarecrow" to see why Chipotle's ahead of the curve on branding and growth.
Great campaigns don't happen by accident and famous brands don't just fall out of the sky. Sometimes the best way to spread the word about a product, invention, or business is through a branding campaign that displays just as much creativity and spirit as the company itself.
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