What can online markets learn from classic branding?

Traurig dreinblickendes Model. Schema SS+L von Peer Hartog. Foto von Chung Shao Tung
Photo: Chung Shao Tung

» Online markets beware: products from the fashion and lifestyle industry are particularly difficult to market. This, something like this, is what marketing experts (Carsten Rieman – Director of Consulting Media at Pilot entertainment GmbH, Alexander Wipf – Head of Strategy at Leo Burnett GmbH, Ralph Anderl – General Manager at iC! berlin and Peer Hartog – CEO of GERLACHHARTOG) brought to the point at Battle-Talk on the Modemarketing conference 2014. «


Of course, as long as the turn-over is right the boss is happy. But the marketing department has to adjust their communications strategy to constantly changing products and trends. The result: cloudy, inconsequent communication.

SS+L – the solution in the fashion sector?

Luxury brands, such Prada, Dior or Chanel determine the image of fashion brands. Sad-eyed models in stylish outfits, always in the same poses. Remove the logo from the picture and the brand in unrecognisable. Peer Hartog calls this pattern SS+L – stylish shooting +logo. This becomes problematic when brands from the lower price segment make use of the pattern. They forget that they are not style icons, which regularly tread the catwalk. The consequence of this is watered down brand communication. What conclusions can agencies draw from this for their own work? If the brand is not clearly defined in advance and the values of a brand not lived consistently, it is twice as difficult for an online marketing manager to market the company or an online shop.

What does the ROI have to do with brand building?

How should sustainable social media campaigns or SEP long tail strategies with tailored keywords be developed, or the conversion rate in the shop be able to lie over 3 percent, when it is not clear which values a brand stands for. Logically channel driven keyword research takes place after contracting the online marketing agency. Their SEM experts then research like crazy and create mile long keyword lists. Mostly a sufficient briefing with the selection criteria and no-goes for the brand is missing. The evaluation of the keywords is based purely on the hard facts, such as search volume. Only in rare cases is the question asked, if the values associated with the keywords actually match.

At the Modemarketing conference 2014, there were no economic considerations in the spotlight for a change. It is not about places a brand with the highest ROI possibilities in the individual online channel. It is more about developing ideas and finding the fitting channels for presenting them . This is how sustainable marketing develops – whether online or offline.

Successful marketing determines the WHAT first

In his presentation, Peer Hartog found that the WHAT comes before the HOW. What makes a brand unique? This is certainly a question every first semester marketing student learns. Without knowing what the USP of a brand is, no clear communications strategy can be designed. Alexander Wipf summed it up in the Battle-Talk, when he said that CEOs and marketers should think in ideas, not in channels.

Hess Natur emerges out of the niche

In the presentation from Betina Breucher, head of marketing at Hess Natur, the question was in the roon: What is to be done when the USP of a brand strong enterprise is encroached upon? Up to the start of the 2000s, socially and ecologically friendly fashion was just a niche, which Hess Natur filled perfectly. But with the growing demands of fashion customers and increasing scandals around production the conditions of fashions, many companies gave themselves a green coating. However, none of these companies integrated their ecological and sustainable responsibility into all company processes. Hess Natur did. As long as they hold strong to their principles, the company is well armed in times of extensive e-commerce development.

What makes “gefunden auf Otto.de” so successful?

Maik Richter from the famed agency HEIMAT showed how simply classic marketing can be transferred to the online world on the example of the current OTTO campaign “gefunden auf OTTO.de” As soon as the WHAT is found, the HOW even starts to be fun. The current campaign, OTTO is going back to its roots. The core competency is fashion. Emotional connections can be made more easily via fashion. Follow up purchases for other products from the area of technology or living are easier once an emotional connection to the OTTO brand has been created. How sexy can a washing machine be? It was quickly clear to everyone at HEIMAT that fashion from OTTO should be present vivaciously. So not according to the SS+L pattern. With the necessary pinch of courage, they dusted off OTTO’s image and so reached a new modern target group. Fashion is presented at the prey and women as the hunter who doesn’t want to share the spoils. This message was brought across impressively in previous TV campaigns. But what does this have to do with online marketing? A social media strategy with the aim of raising traffic on the online shop was developed on the basis of the core competence fashion and the “hunter-prey” pattern. Fashaion bloggers Thuy and Katherin create lots of content for OTTO with the blog www.otto.de/twoforfashion. They are both always on the prowl for prey in the form of new looks, trends and ambitious designers. Everything is mixed with selection form the online shop, Facebook posts and fitting videos on Youtube. It actually sounds pretty simple and it is. Once the WHAT is clear.

ic! berlin: cheeky marketing for real guys

A certainly rather a-typical, but no less successful way is taken by the company ic! berlin when it comes to brand building. As a mid-sized producer of glasses from Berlin, Ralph Anderl, General Manager, explains which advantages working in an owner driven company has for marketing. Marketing here is conducted with idealism and the necessary pinch of cheekiness and so the otherwise rather inert glasses industry is shaken up. And so it can happen that a Mercedes gets peed on in the course of a guerrilla marketing action. However, many other campaigns happen more spontaneously. Unpannte cooperation with Friedrich Lichtenstein (known from the Edeka ad “Super Geil”) when, on the look-out for a new flat, he moved into the offices of ic! berlin for a hundred days. In the end he wore a pair of ic! berlin glasses in every setting for the Supergeil campaign by Jung von Maat.

From an online marketing perspective, the Mode Maketing conference 2014 was a way back to the roots of marketing. Brand building is not difficult when the question WHAT is sorted. All the presentation and talks resulted in 3 concise guiding principles:

  • Stop thinking in terms of channel, but implement the idea of the brand.
  • Big data are just numbers which don’t bring amount to anything with the WHAT.
  • Peeing on a Mercedes is guerrilla marketing.
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