These days, it is not enough merely to try to sell consumers your products. It doesn’t matter if you aim to be the number one retailer of DVDs and Blu-rays, like hmv, a popular e-shop, like YOU.gr, or the YouTuber behind the Life of Boris with millions of subscribers. What you need is to sell your way of living. An Idea, a vision, an authentic message for consumers of your brand to collectively identify themselves with the product and share similar views and notions about the brand. In short, a lifestyle choice.
But how do you motivate consumers, customers, or viewers to play a significant role in your promotion? Do you even need that? I had the privilege to interview YOU.gr, hmv, and that famous YouTuber who goes by the name Boris. Let’s hear from these industry experts about why you should strive for content strategy excellence and how to mold your clientele into Brand Tribes.
YOU.gr is a successful company mainly focusing on selling high technology products. Today, YOU.gr is among the most popular e-shops in Greece.
“Users are more likely to buy from a company they know and are familiar with than from a company they have never heard of. Moreover, they are more likely to purchase from a company they trust.” Stavroula also stated that it is a long run to achieving solid trustworthiness, and it’s very helpful when you’re within a family of a well-known and stable company, which for YOU.gr is Info Quest.
We then talked about the substantial amount of work you need to do to nourish the already established trust. Stavroula explained they are always trying to be consistent in what they say to their customers and what those customers expect from them. “This means a consistent tone of brand voice, consistent messaging over time, and consistent messaging across all platforms and marketing activities”, Stavroula added.
At YOU.gr, they strongly believe that content is significant and helps to create a bond with the customers. She states, “Customers connect content with trust”, and I have to concur with this statement as it was a common factor in all interviews. Their key activities for keeping the content in good shape are yearly SEO changes and a daily check of product content to enrich them with branding, videos, and other useful content for the customer.
According to Stavroula “The best way of promoting nowadays is programmatic and dynamic remarketing. Moreover, we search for loyalty programs that will help us more to bring our customers back.”
And loyalty programs weren’t only mentioned during this interview. It is also one of the essentials for hmv’s content marketing.
hmv is a very popular entertainment retailing company with a 97-year-long tradition. The first hmv-branded store was opened by the Gramophone Company on Oxford Street in 1921, and the hmv name was also used for television and radio sets manufactured from the 1930s onwards.
“We build our hmv community and audiences across our channels, and we then engage and communicate with them consistently over a long period of time,” says Silvia Santinello, Digital Marketing Manager at hmv.
With no further ado, we then jumped right into the midst of things and discussed their marketing activities in the worlds of music and cinema. “We can leverage launch campaigns and related product tie-ins to create extended campaigns either side of a product launch.” For example, if a new movie is to be launched on DVD in a few months, they can leverage cinema publicity to encourage merchandise purchases, film catalogue promotions, as well as encouraging pre-orders — thereby improving awareness, overall interest and engagement with the fans of the new releases very early on in the lifecycle.
“This enables us to nurture our community relationships by engaging them at different stages of a new product launch, through all available channels, such as online editorial, e-comm, and in-store. We always try to create touchpoints with relevancy and value for our community.”
As I stated at the end of the first interview, a loyalty program plays a major role in creating interactive and appealing content at hmv. “We have such a broad audience and broad product ranges that it’s essential that our content engages with everyone. Wherever possible, we encourage interactivity, such as using competitions and exclusive offers via our “purehmv” loyalty program.” Silvia stressed that this engaging and interactive content must be presented consistently across all channels, from in-store to the e-commerce site and everywhere in between.
hmv position themselves as an impartial authority in the entertainment industry, more akin to traditional media outlets, rather than a retailer stance. “With support from our supplier partners, we are able to gain incredible access to bands and key movie talent for interviews and in-store appearances, so we’re in a great position to provide our community with high-value and interactive content.”
The company is now exploring the potential for monitoring campaign effectiveness. “When we run geo-targeting and social channel campaigns to drive in-store and on-line revenue, we want to be able to track this via purehmv, our loyalty scheme. This will help us to understand a single view of the o-line and offline purchasing behavior of the most valuable and engaged members of our hmv community.”
Life of Boris
The date May 4, 2015 may ring some bells with hardcore fans, as it is the date of the first video content published on the Life of Boris YouTube channel. It’s 2018, and the channel has over a million of subscribers and YouTube‘s Gold Creator Award, which is, without exaggeration, a tremendous success.
It was my pleasure to have a long conversation with the author, creator, Shashlik King, and Slav superstar — Boris.
My first question was obviously about his silver bullet recipe for success. Boris explained very quickly, there’s no such thing. There’s a lot of work behind his success, and he was kind enough to share his beliefs with me.
According to Boris, creating a bond between the creator and the viewer is essential. It keeps people coming back and staying excited for more in the future. “Even if I do not talk to each and every one of those 1.5 million people, I still like to believe I am getting through to them.”
His first pillar is to be genuine, authentic. As he says, “to be someone that is always myself. Someone the viewers can relate to on a core level.”
Even though the idea of the channel is still the same, he changed the tone and its attitude many times over the years to nourish the audience. He went from a calm voice to a louder one and from a calm personality to a more social one. “Some people even say that my voice changed so much that I sound different.”
The main challenge in content creation is adaption. “Since the market for free entertainment is so saturated, creators must find new approaches to stay relevant. And everyone needs their own. In my opinion, there is no silver bullet when it comes to staying interesting to watch. On the contrary, I believe in putting out a variety of content from different categories. As long as viewers come for the creator, they will stay for the ride whatever the content is. Of course, there will always be those who unsubscribe after seeing a video that does not meet their exact criteria, but at the same time, 10 more people take their place.’
Boris explained to me that to understand channel growth means to see the channel as a viewer. As long as the creator thinks the content is worth watching then there will be viewers who agree with him.
We agreed the freshness of the content is as important as a regular upload. “If you keep grinding on one topic for too long, people lose interest and go find something else to do or someone else to watch. Digital video content is highly disposable. Viewers can watch a video for 3 seconds and leave. Another video is always just a click away.”
The most fascinating part is about the promotions. Interestingly enough, Boris never runs pre-planned advertising campaigns nor does he use other YouTubers to promote the channel or his clothing merchandise — WESLAV.
“I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I post notices there of new limited-edition goods when they come out. I am a big believer in word-of-mouth advertising. If my brand and lifestyle can influence at least one person to tell another about it, then it‘s a success.”
Boris believes in the genuine interest of viewers and completely relies on the viewer’s curiosity to keep coming back. This is slightly different from the classic marketing strategy, however, the common ground is always a high-quality content.
Tribe Is the Law of the Digital Jungle
Having over a million subscribers, customers from an entire country or continent. That is a tribe. A group of people that trust your brand and follow your guidance. Their voice has more value than your own. But, it is not a fluke. You have to monitor them. Not just let them operate unsupervised. You have to make them feel valued, not dictated to, and they will deliver views, traffic, and popularity, as well as generate revenue. A Brand Tribe will sell the products for you.
A product is successful when it becomes a cult.
Whether you’re in the retailing business, running an e-shop, or trying to break through as a YouTuber, building trust and a firm bond with the consumers of your brand is your number one priority. You have to master numerous skills to leverage the potential of your content strategy. However, once you know how to set all the variables, you are on your way to building a strong trustworthy brand and to getting loyal, dedicated customers. Your own Brand Tribe.
If you are eager to read more articles by the author, you can find them on Kentico’s Blog.