What do the video marketing strategies of Coke, Adidas, and Apple all have in common?
They’re all winning in their chosen markets by positioning themselves as the underdogs. So, why is everyone so afraid to create a brand message that places them as a scrappy, worthy competitor? When Rip Media pitches ideas, the idea that gets chosen by our clients the least is almost always the underdog story.
Why is that the case? What about underdog stories in video marketing is so scary to our customers? Especially when they create messages like the one below.
Why Underdog Marketing Messages Shouldn’t Scare You and Your CMOs
We all want to be winners. We want our marketing message to cross boundaries and make us millions. That desire is great, it forces us to push and succeed.
However, the desire to win has a darker side. Sometimes, it can seem like admitting that your business has struggled is like shining a light on weaknesses no one should be allowed to see.
Sometimes it can feel like, if you admit that you’re weak, no one will love you or your business.
That’s not true and we’re here to tell you why.
Harvard Business School recently conducted a study of more than 2,000 consumers worldwide with an online survey to gauge the public perception of brands when they used underdog messaging.
What they found was interesting. According to the study, participants overwhelmingly favored and patronized brands that demonstrated passion and a willingness to succeed when everything’s against them.
These findings were cross-cultural as well. Meaning that, even though supporting the underdog is a more prevalent mindset in North America, respondents worldwide showed similar preferences.
Why? Well, according to the researcher, Anat Keinan, “underdog brand biographies are effective in the marketplace because consumers identify with the disadvantaged position of the underdog, and also share their passion and determination to succeed when the odds are against them.”
How Do You Use Underdog Marketing As a Part of Your Video Marketing Strategy?
We think that, in recent years, Apple has made the underdog marketing move best. In the video below, they tell the story of a scrappy young group of entrepreneurs who’re determined to create the world’s first, round pizza box. Who helps them achieve that goal?
You guessed it, Apple does. (Well, their tech does at least.)
While the commercial doesn’t explicitly say it, the iPads and iMacs that the main characters use are positioned as instrumental to their success. You can watch that commercial below.
So, drawing from these examples, we can gather two things.
- Customers are drawn to companies who use underdog marketing.
- Your company doesn’t have to be the underdog, but it should be an ally to underdogs everywhere.
In a recent interview with the Hard Corps Marketing Show, I went into these concepts and several other video marketing concepts as well.
The key takeaways were:
- The best product does not win – the best story wins, and you got to put a stake in the ground and say this is what I stand for. Underdog stories are great for this.
- It’s not the passion in your product. It is the passion for solving the customer’s problem with your product.
- Your customers won’t act without a ticking clock. You create a sense of urgency so people have to take action instead of waiting to purchase. Creating a story your customers relate to is perfect for this.
These points also align with something I frequently say: you should be Batman’s belt full of gadgets that helps them to succeed.
So, how do you use video marketing to become an underdog?
You, as a company, need to find an underdog type branding message that your audience relates to. You need to say, “I feel your struggle, and I’m going through the same thing,” or “I feel your struggle, and I can help you.”
Let’s break that concept down a little further using each of our two points.
Customers Are Drawn to Companies Who Use Underdog Marketing
I think we can all agree that the power of storytelling is its ability to create emotion.
Emotions can connect consumers with others, and emotions can connect them more deeply to their inner selves.
It’s our job as marketers to use emotions to connect to consumers on a more personal level. This point is becoming even more critical as the world becomes more connected. Consumers want to see that the companies they patronize care and act as entities that put a stake in the moral values that they care about.
So, when a company symbolically “lowers itself” or admits that it’s “scrappy” and “determined” but still capable of losing, then consumers begin to see themselves more intensely inside of that company’s message.
If you can show your company “fighting the good fight” or tell a David Vs. Goliath type of story, then you should.
Think Coke Vs. Pepsi. Coke is the top dog in sales, but they still like to portray the company as “intense rivals” with Pepsi.
Your company doesn’t have to be the underdog, but it should be an ally to underdogs everywhere.
Like Apple so brilliantly showed us, you can approach underdog video marketing as more of an “Alfred” or a “Q” to the customer’s Batman or Bond.
Apple, who was known as the brand for hipsters and pretentious bloggers not that long ago, can be seen here rebranding to reach a more grassroots audience. By siding with young entrepreneurs chasing a crazy new idea, Apple is embracing a sort of counter-culture.
They’re showing support for a side of society that’s messy and tinged with the smell of fear and steeped in desperate hopes.
More importantly, though, Apple isn’t the hero in this message-—the counter-culture is. So, Apple’s message is clear “we stand with the underdogs so they stand with us.”
That’s a powerful thing to say.
Never Underestimate What Underdog Video Marketing Strategies can do for You
It’s hard to admit that you’re not the best or that you struggle and fight in your industry, but—and we don’t say this lightly—you should.
So, what’s your company’s underdog story? How did you struggle to reach the summit of your profession? How do you help the people around you overcome their challenges?
If you can answer those questions, you’ve got a winning video marketing strategy on your hands. And if you need an animation company to help you tell that story, Rip Media Group is here to help. (See what we did there?)
Your story starts here.