In her famous “power posing” TED talk, Amy Cuddy says, “Your body language shapes who you are.” This isn’t only a great truth for individuals but for CPG brands as well. If brands, like people, shy away, hunch their shoulders and act small, personifying the “low interest” CPG stereotype, they will forever be boring and uninteresting. But if they adopt the behaviors of confident, charismatic brands, they, too, might increase their chances for success.
3M, the parent company of Post-it and Scotchgard is “power-posing” loud and proud. It doesn’t get more boring than a functional, stationery product, but rather than living with this average image, they have created a social media machine on Twitter, pumping out content at the rate of an editor’s desk. Instead of having an account for every product, 3M focuses on the parent brand, communicating the science behind the products and amassing more than 1.5 million followers. Their content strategy is built on asking their consumers a simple question, “What does science mean to you?” and the content they create to respond to their consumers is anything but boring.
In order to transform categories, brands need to be agile and seek out opportunities to break out of the confines of their self-imposed parameters. Axe, long a brand that has punched above its weight, recently had to reinvent themselves yet again. Their equity had been built on sex appeal, but as many brands cashed in on this platform and culture evolved, they found themselves in the boring CPG category again. To launch its new grooming range earlier this year, Axe switched gears, creating the platform, “Find your Magic.” The campaign celebrates diverse expressions of masculinity and once again elevates Axe beyond high interest and into a culture-shaping power brand, relevant to a new generation of young men.
No brand has made their reinvention journey into a success quite like Domino’s Pizza has. Their public journey from cardboard crust to innovative tech leader has been documented at every stage of its evolution, and, in doing so, has inspired brands to look at their own customer experience to understand how they can create more value and be more interesting to their customers. An example would be Australian pet food brand My Dog, which leveraged technology to create a new distribution channel. Through a partnership with food delivery company Foodora, they offered consumers the option to add a meal for their pets. Not only was this a smart use of tech but it also elevates their product to human grade quality, successfully reframing their product and reaching a new premium audience in an interesting way.
Another category defying brand, DB Export recently won a Cannes Grand Prix for their “Brewtroleoum” campaign. Not content fitting within the usual beer mold, they teamed up with biofuel provider Gull to create a new fuel made from its leftover brewing yeast. Not only was this an innovative creation but the way they communicated it to consumers was too. They effectively turned gas stations into billboards with a compelling call to action, that defying the usual category mantra of drink this and your life will be better, to drink this and “Save the World!”
So the next time you hear someone call CPG low interest, remember that this is a self-inflicted restriction, and that CPGs are only low interest until they figure out how to become interesting.