It’s been a whirlwind year for us at Mattr, helping our brand partners build authenticity and purpose through the power of film whilst creating our own platform all around how to get people to actually care about your brand.
That, of course, includes three epic Build a Brand Movement events, last week’s being the final one in 2018, with amazing lessons from Maeve Atkins, Global Corporate Comms Manager at The BodyShop, Patrick Ryan, Senior Equity Fundraising Manager at Crowdcube, and Sarah Kilmartin, CMO at new tech start-up Hiyacar. We had a whale with these three, and would just like to thank everyone who made it for such an insightful evening!
For those who didn’t attend (boo), the below summarise all the important things we learned from them. If you like what you read, we hope you’ll join us in 2019 when we start it all up again!
Get your people thinking: ‘how can I help?’
Maeve was our heritage brand representative for the evening. Leading the #ForeverAgainstAnimalTesting cause for The Body Shop, she taught us all about how to successfully create a cause-led marketing campaign that wins the hearts and minds of all stakeholders, staff and customers.
The Body Shop had been campaigning for 30 years on animal rights, but the 2017 campaign was the first time the entire business attempted to get both staff and customers to rally behind a cause (namely, to ban the international use of animal testing in cosmetics globally).
So how did they do it? Ultimately by getting people to understand and really care about the cause and showcase that what The Body Shop stood for was far more than ethically sourced products. To do this, The Body Shop doubled down on educating their staff at all levels about why it was so important to The Body Shop as a brand. The result? Huge amounts of internal advocacy not only boosted morale, but created another layer of word of mouth communication in stores and online when it came to convincing consumers to get involved. Oh and 8.3m signatures on a worldwide petition...no biggy.
TAKE AWAY: Cause-led marketing starts from within.
2. Let your customers help shape your brand
Crowdcube’s main purpose is to democratise equity fundraising. It is now the biggest equity crowdfunding business in the world, and as Senior Equity Fundraising Manager, Patrick sees first hand the power of creating advocacy out of your customer base.
For Patrick, the key is to take the time to really consider how to make people feel like they are a genuine part of your community, that they belong to your “tribe”. That all comes from figuring out what your purpose is, why it’s relevant to your audience and how you to action your purpose so that they believe that what you stand for goes way beyond your product offering.
And it seems that this sentiment is shared by some of the platforms most successful fundraising partners. Monzo, after raising via Crowdcube sent out “investor” personalised debit cards to all the people who invested with them. Crowdcube uses their investors to help them hire new team members. Simple, cost-effective, but something that he explained highlights how brands don’t just see the monetary value in their crowdfunding investors, but the social value as well. It impacts the bottom line in the long run, not just the short term.
And finally, Patrick explained that whilst most people think the investment is a rational decision, particularly with such early-stage businesses as those on Crowdcube, it’s as much about your story and vision...it’s about buying into what you stand for.
TAKE AWAY: it’s all about the personal touch and making people feel they belong.
3. Think outside the practicality box
Sarah Kilmartin has a favourite phrase she uses to describe the founders of her company Hiyacar, perfectly reflecting their mission. She describes them as “practical revolutionaries” because they aren’t trying to save the planet (although that’s a nice bonus), instead, they’re simply trying to change the way people think about and use their cars.
They’re doing this by getting people to understand they can turn their expensive vehicles from liabilities (your car sits in your drive for 95% of the year!) into assets, using money as a motive to share it with your neighbours and the wider community. Their priorities focus on this connectivity between communities first, moving away from the idea of being another disenfranchised car hire company.
There are many things Hiyacar are doing to live and breathe this value of community. From a communication perspective, Sarah explained that whilst competitors are focusing on expensive TV ads and print campaigns, Hiyacar is sponsoring a Christmas tree, supporting local choirs. When it comes to product research, Hiyacar literally goes around door knocking, meeting the users of the product to learn how they feel when they share cars with each other. However, the most interesting thing she mentioned was how business plans have been built and changed based on the value of community. As she said, they could follow the likes of Zipcar and create fleets of their own cars, but this would defeat the purpose of their mission- creating better communities.
TAKE AWAY: always go back to your values when making a decision, no matter how big or small.
4. Ensure you approach your communications honestly
A common factor which all our speakers spoke about was the importance of communicating honestly. Their thoughts all aligned along the same trajectory - the way to get people behind a mission is to eliminate any fancy brand language and go along the lines of promoting personal purpose instead.
For Sarah, this meant changing all brand maxims and statements released to omit the words “car hire”, because their identity doesn’t relate to a car hire company, it’s a community-based service. People are what make the service as reliable as it is, so why shouldn’t their comms revolve around personal stories from users, as well as the cute community moments that entice more people to use it?
At Crowdcube, making sure that all investors could connect with business founders and feel a sense of power in the future of a company was paramount to the success of their product. Giving money to someone can be seen as an act of self-satisfaction, but maintaining a level of equal and honest engagement is important for any investment. Being constantly in communication with investors is why Crowdcube has raised over £150m in 2018 alone.
And finally, for Maeve, continuously reviewing their products and ensuring they match up to their ethical values is paramount to what they communicate. Most cosmetic companies have come under scrutiny for false activism, so real storytelling about that ethically sourced produce is central to everyone in the business, from shareholders to farmers, helps build that trust with staff and customers.
To build a brand people care about, you need to tap into their sense of being part of something bigger than themselves. Whether it’s engaging your staff to build internal advocacy, creating personal touches to make people feel like they own a part of your brand story, or basing entire business decisions around your mission and what’s best for the customer, the key is to action what you stand for in everything you do. We hope to see you at the next Build A Brand Movement soon!