Deb Lutz found her purpose when her newborn daughter was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a rare genetic disorder that causes an insatiable appetite. In 2013, Lutz was making a high six-figure salary as Vice President of Marketing at Johnson & Johnson. A year later, she ditched corporate America and invested in B.GOOD, a farm to table and "fast casual" restaurant. For Lutz, the move from big pharma to farm fresh just felt right.
"I was looking for something I could feel good about that met [Isabel's] dietary needs," says Lutz. "It does not have preservatives. B.GOOD takes an authentic, whole approach, and the two founders behind it are authentic people. This was not another big franchise, but felt different," said Lutz.
Currently, B.GOOD is available in over 60 locations worldwide. Whenever possible, B.GOOD sources the ingredients that go into their food from local producers. The brand is excelling with this transparent and mission-focused business model. Their commitment to farm fresh ingredients has created a loyal following among health-conscious customers. It's clear that this franchise's growing customer loyalty stems from one key brand characteristic: authenticity.
With the right strategy in place, you can replicate B.GOOD's success by creating more authentic local marketing. In this article, we'll teach you exactly how.
How to Create More Authentic Marketing in 2018
What is Authentic Marketing?
For most corporate marketers, hearing the phrase "authentic marketing" isn't anything new. However, it's clear that in 2018 distributed brands will make considerable investments in more authentic local marketing programs. Why? Today, consumers want to know that brands will serve their interests and not take their business for granted. For example, Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs & Restaurants has built a cult following with its no-frills approach to fast food and marketing. Today, the franchise has become synonymous with New York City, grit and hustle. And its marketing team hasn't shied away from being the same Great Nathan's the brand has always been.
"The Nathan's name is evocative when it comes to hot dogs," said Charles Denson, director of the Coney Island History Project. "It conjures up hot days at the beach, crowds and family memories at the only grab joint that has survived a tumultuous century of change and loss at Coney Island. It has more to do with survival and nostalgia than anything else."
Brands have to work hard to nurture and build this level of trust with their consumers. This year is shaping up for many brands as a defining moment in their work to craft customer experiences that are more authentic to what they stand for as an organization. As such, marketers who oversee multi-location networks have to equip their local affiliates with the tools, resources and strategic guidance about what the brand is and stands for so that they can deliver authenticity across every marketing channel — social media, print and digital.
Top 5 Essentials of Authentic Marketing
The journey to being more authentic in your marketing starts at the top. Corporate marketing teams have to craft a brand mantra that is synonymous with the work everyone in the company does for their customers. A strong, simple message is where it all begins. The brands everyone recognizes all cultivate a brand message that is consistent, relatable and which inspires the customer in some way. But they don't just stop there, and that's just as important. At the local level, partners and affiliates have to utilize this foundational promise in their own marketing as well.
There are five elements that any successful brand has to create more authentic marketing:
- Knowing the brand's value proposition. What makes the brand unique? Really simply, it's about knowing what your customers would be missing if your company went out of business that they couldn't get somewhere else. For B.GOOD, the key differentiator is the brand's commitment to harnessing fresh and local ingredients.
- Determining why customers don't "get" the brand's value proposition. It's inevitable that some of your customers don't understand the brand's unique value proposition. Corporate marketing teams have to know why this happens so they can find the best way to overcome it. Can the brand change its messaging in a way that speaks more clearly about the brand's promises or values? Always keep one or two extra taglines in the back of your mind that convey exactly how you help your customers in simple terms.
- Not assuming that customers "get it" when you say it. In addition to communicating the brand's value, the best multi-location brands go out of their way to "show" the brand's values. B.GOOD doesn't just talk about its dedication to supporting local communities, families, and agriculturalists; it demonstrates it by running marketing programs that demonstrate this commitment transparently. From the local farmer to their employees, B.GOOD showcases and represents its key stakeholders not just in words but "in action."
- Being transparent. How is your customer choosing to spend her money? In all likelihood, she isn't throwing it away on companies she doesn't trust. So brands need to raise their level of accountability with customers and do everything possible to be open and honest. B.GOOD takes this to heart, not just in their advertising but in their business practices. From the farm to the table, B.GOOD customers know where the food is coming from because the brand communicates it all the way through.
- Never lying. Like your mom always said, people don't like liars. For marketers though, telling the truth is extra important, and it means making promises in your advertising that you know you can always keep. Extra tricky when you have dozens of locations.
Three Steps to Help Local Marketers Do More Authentic Marketing
So authenticity is important, and it has to start with the marketing team at HQ. No question. But when you have a large network of dozens or hundreds of different stores and locations it's even more difficult to be authentic in your marketing than you might think. So this year, corporate marketing teams at multi-location brands need to equip their local affiliates with an authentic marketing toolkit that will guarantee they deliver more authentic local marketing.
There are three steps your brand can take to spread authenticity throughout your network:
- Having an editing/approval process for local advertisements. If corporate marketers allow the local affiliate to create their own ads, there should be an approval process in place where the team at HQ can collaborate with the franchisee or dealership on improving the communication to the customer. Some of the most authentic marketing your brand can ever produce comes from these local affiliates, so you should work really closely with them and offer guidance rather than just trying to nail them down to a specific outcome.
- Creating a framework for authenticity. To help corporate marketers share the brand's authentic mission and value throughout the company, it's usually helpful to create a resource or document that will clarify those points for marketing purposes. By creating a framework document, brands essentially give their local affiliates a frame of reference to work within. The document can include guidelines and historical examples of authentic marketing that everyone doing marketing for the brand can seek to emulate.
- Understanding how to avoid the authenticity trap. Sometimes, brands can take authenticity a little too far. In an attempt to tug at their customers' heartstrings, brands sometimes overdramatize the brand promise and values. In this instance, the brand's marketing messaging can feel cynical and exploitative. So it's important for marketers at HQ to know the warning signs of this authenticity trap. Pay attention to marketing that feels forced or things you see in the field which could be viewed as gimmicky by customers.
Master Marketing Authenticity in 2018
When a brand launches a marketing campaign that truly resonates with consumers, local affiliates are usually eager to pick up on that message and use it for their own marketing as accurately and efficiently as possible. But if this isn't happening at your brand, the entire customer experience can end up feeling a little off-kilter. When a brand misses the mark on authenticity, there's usually a lot of work for corporate marketing teams to do to clean up the customer experience inconsistencies and reorient their local affiliates towards success.
For this reason, many industry-leading multi-location brands have turned to Local Marketing Automation (LMA) tools to help them orchestrate more authentic marketing. With these tools, corporate teams have the controls and intelligence needed to institute more authenticity across all their local marketing. Additionally, LMA allows these teams to monitor local marketing impact at a granular level. Instead of leaving your marketing team wondering if that new campaign is actually being utilized by the local affiliates, a Local Marketing Automation system puts that intelligence in your hands in real-time. At the local level, these platforms empower local affiliates to carry through with the brand's marketing in a way that is more consistent and efficient.