I believe one of the key factors to good marketing is authenticity. We are bombarded with marketing EVERYWHERE we go. When driving we see posters on street poles, flashing billboards, people handing out flyers and, those who skilfully manoeuvre banners in all sorts of ways which you wouldn’t have considered possible. Scrolling through Facebook & Instagram Newsfeeds we see sponsored ads scattered between posts of friends keeping up with the Jones's and selfie shots. The worst is watching YouTube videos and getting blatantly FORCED to be indocterined by watching an ad. At least Facebook & Instagram algorithms tries to show you something you would be interested in. Switch on the TV and if you are watching a live TV show you keep on getting interrupted during the best bits with ads selling flashy cars, junk food and all sorts of things you didn't think you need, but they make you feel like you do. Play a game on your phone and win ‘points’ for being brain washed by watching a series of advertisements.
The only way it seems you can get away from being blasted with thousands of different products and services is to switch off everything electronic and set-up a tent somewhere rural like in the middle of the Kalahari…
So, amongst all this advertising noise, what sets good advertising apart from bad advertising? Why do we engage with Nando's ads but find some of those legal insurance ads just damn irritating? Well, I have no degree in marketing or a MBA or anything but here are my thoughts:
1. Who are you? AKA Authenticity
Unauthentic advertising is just as easy to pick up as a fake smile. As you will notice someones eyes are dead, dull and don’t light up during a fake smile, so does advertising with no heart or soul. You will quickly pick-up a mismatch between the service offering or product which may be promising the world at your finger-tips but instead offers you something substandard which doesn’t meet the expectations you imagined based on the messages blurted out to you. You will also pick-up mixed messages when looking back at previous advertising attempts seeing there is no common thread. So what are you trying to promote then? What makes you special? Strong, full, pure-bred advertising requires a solid, well-thought out business concept. You need to live and breath what you are offering. Not only you, your premises, your staff, your presentation, the way you communicate with your clients, all of this needs to align with the message you are spreading in advertising. Your company values (do you have company values?) need to align with what makes you, you.
I think this is a lot easier said when you are running a company with only a few staff members. I believe this can become a challenge when a company expands and you need to restructure it all - this is a job for professionals (I know some of these, let me know if you need their numbers). Therefore, if you are starting a new company, ensure you know what your company values are, spend time on these values, they seem trivial but they are not, they are actually quite important. Successful companies like Google, Apple, Virgin, Microsoft all have a set of company values which they live by. Ensure you have a solid foundation and then when coming up with a successful marketing plan it is way more simple. What you are then putting out there will be authentic and true to you. And this will help your company stand out from the rest.
So, does Baby Bubble have values? Indeed, we do. I have listed them below. If we ever have a mom who does not believe these values are being met then I want to know about it. I can give personal examples for each of these values but I think that is a post for another day:
Personal: we offer a personal approach to our services, we treat each mom as an individual & work towards building relationships with our moms
Empowering moms: we want to empower moms on their journey to raising their munchkins
Accountability: we remain accountable & take responsibility
Integrity: we have the best intentions for our mom & co-workers; we have strong moral compasses
Service matters: our customers always come first
Credibility: we remain credible & keep up to date with latest research
Reflective: we continually evaluate our own performances & identify where we can improve either personally or in the business
Work hard play hard: we respect a balance between work & personal lives
2. Will I recognise you from afar? AKA Branding
Your brand will be influenced by your values and your business concept. There is such a thing as colour psychology and the feelings that colours makes us evoke. These feelings need to be aligned with your service offerings/product and target population. Somewhere you need to find a midway point between what you are offering and who you are speaking to in your advertising. Virgin Active is predominantly red, which is vibrant, it offers a sense of energy, it is intense, perfect for a company oozing passion from someone like Richard Branson. I just love his brand, as it represents him. He loves adventure sports, taking risks and he comes across as a zealous, enthusiastic person. He is a go-getter. I think that is one of the reasons his branding works (and it is authentic & thus rock-solid!).
In Baby Bubble’s case we use soft pastel colours as we appeal to moms with baby’s and we want to create a calm and serene setting, amongst an often chaotic world we enter upon arrival of a newborn. Mint green offers a feeling of tranquillity, stability and has a calming effect.
“Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the centre of the spectrum, it is the colour of balance – a more important concept than many people realise. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level.” (Author Sarah Gooding 2014).
Part of the colour pallet are traces of light pink or salmon in the marketing too, these colours provide feelings op optimism, calmness, innocence and femininity.
You may be reading this and thinking I have been brainwashing you with the marketing! No not at all. Why? Because it is authentic. What you see is what you will get. I want you to experience these feelings not only looking at Baby Bubble’s website, social media posts or flyers but you need to experience this before, during and after a spa session too. Yes, we are working with baby’s and baby’s can be quite unpredictable but despite their volatility, you still need to remain feeling safe, secure, calm and optimistic at Baby Bubble. You still need to know that what we are offering will remain stable despite changes in our baby’s mood states.
I mentioned a colour pallet earlier. Baby Bubble has a set colour palette I refer to each time a post is designed. Sometimes I will deviate a little just to keep it interesting but not too often. You need to become accustomed to what Baby Bubble’s colour pallet is without even seeing the logo. Consider Virgin Active again (sorry for riding on them but they have such a strong brand), when walking into a Virgin Active you will find their signature red on a wall somewhere. Yes, they will adjust colours with changes in trend but their signature red will be somewhere on display. A common thread always remains which sets it apart from the noise! You get to know the brand like you get to know friend.
Marketing unlike most people think, is not something at surface level. It is not about making something ‘look pretty’ for shits and giggles. Good marketing goes a lot deeper than that. It is influenced by the various layers of onion, by the core of the company. Get a solid core, ensure all the cogs aligns with that core, then market, and upon the arrival of your customer, make sure that what you are promoting is what your customer receives too.
I truly hope Baby Bubble will always maintain that integrity across our marketing platforms and service offerings. May what you see be exactly what you get. No fake smiles here.