Why should mass-market players not be afraid to have a smaller, more innovative “start up” brand within their portfolio?

by Aurore de Monclin

In an era where consumers seek to establish authentic relationships with brands as they would with their own tribe, it seems critically important that marketing directors should consider having a small disruptive brand within their portfolio which can bond more easily with consumers.

The marketing approach would then be at the antipode of the classically taught marketing. It would most probably follow these 5 simple rules:

1. Develop a community through mastering one social media (most probably Instagram) by developing content that resonates with your followers (quite often through the question ‘Why am I doing it’) although it may not have a direct link with your product. Develop the ability to show a genuine interest in your followers and make comment on their own posts. Grow the community organically.

2. Work with micro- influencers (up to 25k followers) whom themselves have developed good relationships and friendships with their followers and have a high level of engagement.

3. Partner with Innovators that are out there on the High Street: the coffee shops that have become the second home of consumers and also have a genuine connection with their own community, love sharing the latest trends and findings.

4. Develop collaboration with other perceived smaller brands, even from different categories whether clothes, services who share similar interests and values.

5. Stay in Retail Supermarket for volumes, but break free once in a while by having a pop-up store even for a day to come closer to your consumers and talk with them.

In essence, no massive Billboard ads, no TVCs, no paid PR, just connections, connections, connections through genuine human engagements.

And you’ll see that when the time comes to develop a new range of innovation, then you would find that the stage-gate process is obsolete because you can go straight to your community and ask them to co-develop the product with you.

You’ll see that what’s coming up the curve will become obvious for you because you would have had that pulse on the street.

Your risk of failure would have disappeared because instead of having to convince the whole internal sales organization, your high-street coffee shop connections would help you to soft launch your product and perfect it.

Having that small disruptive brand would benefit a whole organization to stay ahead of the game.

Aurore de Monclin is HMT’s Managing Partner and Senior Consultant. With over 15 years of experience in healthy marketing, and having worked in more than 20 countries from US to Kazakhstan, leading brand positioning and innovation projects for medical nutrition, food, beverage and ingredient clients, Aurore brings global perspective and practical expertise on how to understand customers’ health needs and develop better targeted brands, faster to market.

Interested in how HMT could help you bring better targeted innovations faster to market? Please contact Aurore@thehmt.com.