How to use a product demo to promote your wider brand values
Remember Iceland’s anti-palm-oil advertisement last Christmas?
The ad was banned from TV but went on to be viewed over 70 million times online. This is a powerful example of how sharing your brand’s purpose, vision and values with customers helps you stand out from the competition.
And a product demo is another great platform from which to do this.
Social values are becoming a key factor in consumer choices
In 2007, UK agency MediaCom surveyed 2,000 UK consumers about brands. Here are three stand-out findings from the study:
- 40% of consumers said they had stopped using a brand (or never used it in the first place) because of its values or behaviours
- 49% said that they would pay more for a brand’s products if it supported a cause that is important to them
- 35% of respondents had bought a product based on the values of the brand
Interestingly, 18-24-year olds were more likely than other age groups to pay more for a product if the brand supports an important cause. And, more 18-24-year olds said they had bought a product based on brand values than any other age category.
That certainly seems to suggest that social values are becoming more and more important to consumers when they make buying decisions.
Consumers want brands to speak out on social issues
In a study called Championing Change in the Age of Social Media, Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and concluded that people want brands to speak out on social and political issues.
66% said they want brands to engage in social and political issues. The numbers are even higher for 18-34 years old—73% want brands to speak up. But, it’s not just the younger age groups who want this. 62% of over 55’s also said it’s at least somewhat important to hear from brands about social and political issues.
- You may like: 5 big mistakes brands make with in-store sampling
And here’s the most interesting aspect of the study: despite the fact that consumers want brands to speak out on social and political issues, two-thirds of the respondents said that brand communications rarely or never influence their opinions.
This suggests that brands are generally ineffective at aligning themselves socially and politically with consumers. And since more and more consumers are making buying decisions based on a brand’s values and social activity, brands are missing out on a big opportunity to acquire and retain customers.
Well, handily, the study participants went on to suggest that brands are most effective on social media when they:
- Announce donations to specific causes (39%), and
- Encourage followers to take specific steps to support causes (37%), like participating in events or making their own donations.
The message is clear: if brands are more specific about how they support causes, and demonstrate how exactly they contribute, then consumers are more likely to reward them with their custom and loyalty. It’s also an opportunity for brands to acquire and retain high-value customers who make buying decisions on factors other than lower price.
Why product demos are the perfect platform for communicating brand values
Why did consumers say they want brands to be specific about how they are contributing to different causes? Perhaps because actions speak louder than words.
Iceland’s palm oil ad is a case in point. Iceland acted on its stance against palm oil and fought to bring the message to consumers–which, in turn, bought them a lot of support.
So how can brands get specific about their social and political contributions?
Here’s one way: stand face-to-face with consumers at product demos.
Style/format of communication
Product demos provide a rare opportunity for direct, face-to-face contact with customers. It’s a chance to cut through the noise of constant advertising and look customers in the eye when you talk about the steps your brand takes to follow through on its values.
Practice what you preach
A demo is a chance to put your brand values into action. For example, if your brand says that it aims to reduce its environmental impact—prove it! Avoid plastics. Recycle your waste. Minimise packaging. Re-use wherever possible.
Discuss your brand values and positioning in more depth
Brand ambassadors can explain the more subtle aspects of your product that demonstrate brand values. For example, if you encourage consumers to buy locally, brand ambassadors can explain how the supply chain manages this.
Perhaps your brand sells a food product and goes the extra mile to source fair trade suppliers. If so, you can talk to your customers about this at a product demo. If you have a compelling story to tell, they will most likely want to hear it. Proof? By telling a story about their stance against palm oil, Iceland bought themselves a lot of attention and passionate support from consumers.
A demo is a rare opportunity to discuss the practical lengths your company goes to to fulfil its brand values. It’s a chance to move beyond slogans to how your brand actually behaves.
Beyond slogans and into action
Communicating these kinds of larger brand values can help establish a strong sense of loyalty amongst your customers. It can also influence how consumers feel about your brand and thus how they make their purchasing decisions.
Patagonia is a shining example. The company has a page on its website dedicated to the social and environmental steps the business is taking to make a positive impact. By going into the specifics of what they do to put the company’s brand values into action, Patagonia’s claims to care about the environment are more authentic and meaningful.
A product demo offers a chance for your business to likewise communicate, and be seen to be acting upon, your brand values. Taking a stance on wider social and political issues, can connect you to your target audience by talking about the issues which they care about most, immediately differentiating your product or service from the competition.