Reflect Your Brand Truth

Janet Wang, Account Director, David&Goliath

Today’s consumers are savvy. They know when they are being marketed to and aren’t so quick to accept advertising at face value. Now, more than ever, brands have their work cut out for them to ensure that their messages break through and resonate.

Some of the most powerful and successful marketing efforts are those that 1) are relevant and 2) reflect your brand truth. These efforts don’t feel disingenuous or out-of-touch to a consumer because they aren’t.

REI first made a big splash in 2015 with their #OptOutside Black Friday Campaign when they challenged consumers to get outside and make meaningful memories rather than shopping their holiday weekend away. Their stores remained closed on the biggest shopping day of the year so that REI employees could enjoy a paid day off to do the same. The announcement came via a TV spot featuring REI CEO Jerry Stritzke at a desk set atop a mountain inviting Americans to join him outside. Aspirational online and social media assets featuring lush hiking trails, snow capped mountains and beach sunsets urged people to explore the outdoors. Even third-party Black Friday deal aggregator websites reinforced the message to NOT shop their stores at REI’s request.


As an outdoor brand, this unconventional move not only reinforced REI’s core values but also set them apart from other retailers. Timing this initiative during a period in which shopping was going to be on everyone’s mind made the message even more topical and impactful. What could very well have been a costly gamble made headlines, garnering an incredible amount of earned media and winning the continued admiration of their customer base. The #OptOutside message quickly became a rallying cry and began a movement that continued through the 2016 holiday season with additional like-minded brands following suit.

So what learnings can we glean for the Lottery industry? While shutting down operations for a day is probably not the right move for every brand, the same principles of relevance and reflecting your brand truth still apply. Luckily, every Lottery has the benefit of being founded on a principle—and a noble one at that: to offer fun and entertainment for the benefit of a worthy cause. So whether it’s a simple, cleverly-timed social post that taps into a trending conversation or an entire campaign dedicated to putting a firm stake into the ground for what you stand for (i.e. the UK Lottery’s “This Girl Can” initiative), opportunities are abound.


References and extra reading

More info about the REI campaign

What is it about living your brand truth (the “why” that drives your brand) that makes it so powerful? Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Model may offer an explanation.


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