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Hypergrowth strategies for commercial success — podcast

Exploring audience-centric marketing strategies for best positioning of brand strategies and communications.

With so much uncertainty happening across the world pre-, post-COVID pandemic, natural disasters and war conflicts, now is more important than ever for brands to understand their customers and take an audience, human-centric approach to appeal to them and influence their purchasing decision.

For this podcast episode, Gillian Fish, CEO at The 6AM Agency has joined us to talk about marketing strategies for hypergrowth brands.

Tune in to hear more about:

  • The principles of audience-centric marketing
  • How audience behaviour has evolved through the pandemic and how has it has influenced audience-centric marketing strategies
  • The different digital levers available for brands to drive hypergrowth
  • The role PR plays in hypergrowth strategies for brands

Guest

  Gill Fish.png

Gillian Fish
Founder and CEO at The 6AM Agency

 

Vitafoods Insights Podcast

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Podcast transcript:

Vitafoods Insights 00:06
Welcome to the Vitafoods Insights Podcast. Join us as we explore the latest science and innovation, helping the global health and nutrition industry, connect, develop, and progress. Today's host is Natalia Franca Rocha, content producer.

Natalia 00:25
Hello, and welcome to another Vitafoods Insights podcast episode. Today we'll be talking about marketing strategies for hypergrowth brands. I'm delighted to be joined today by Gillian fish, who is the CEO at The 6AM Agency in Australia. Thanks for joining me today, Gillian.

Gillian 00:41
Thank you very much for having me, Natalia.

Natalia 00:43
So, to get us started, Gillian, I know that the principle of audience centric marketing is key to your suggested strategies to hypergrowth brands. But could you please explain more to our listeners, what is audience centric marketing? and how do we employ its principle in our brands, strategy and communications?

Gillian 01:00
Now is an excellent time to be talking about audience centric marketing because human beings are at the centre of everything that we do. The world has gone through a huge trauma with COVID-19, with lockdown, and our behaviour has really changed, and our needs and our wants have changed. And we've needed to be able to connect with brands on a more human centric level, or an audience centric level, rather than just as customers, as people who consume the products and the services that we offer. So really, audience centric marketing can be defined as marketing, which shows us that we put our customers at the centre of every single thought and activity that we deliver as a brand holder. It means that we completely understand them, their needs, and what interests them. But importantly, also, what they are fearful of, what makes him scared, what the anxieties are, what their dreams and their hopes are. And really, if we get audience centric marketing right, we're able to build the impression that we understand them, that we know what they are seeking, that they can have trust in us, and that we will deliver to them on their needs. Even more so than our own as businesses.

Natalia 02:15
Audience behaviour has definitely evolved through the pandemic, so it makes a lot of sense to put an audience centric marketing strategy in place. So how has this influenced audience centric marketing, per se?

Gillian 02:27
The pandemic has really influenced the way we market to our audiences in that the biggest change has happened in our homes. Essentially, our homes have become our total universe for months on end. We've needed to school our children at home. We've needed to work from home, they've become restaurants, and so forth. So, they've really become like a mini universe, which has been the centre of our lives.

As a result, the way we interact with brands, the way we interact with each other, has meant that we've needed to as brands redefine the way we approach our audiences. So first and foremost, we need to understand what our customer is experiencing at home. And we'd call that the evolution of marketing, from ‘Business to Consumer’ to ‘Business to Human’. We need to understand deeply, what they're going through, we need to understand them as whole human beings, not only how we understood them before, as customers of our services and our products. Secondly, we've got to understand that there are going through a lot of challenges. Let's face it, right now in Australia, we've just come out of lockdown. We've got major floods, I'm not sure if you've heard about this overnight, massive flooding that hasn't been seen for 1000 years. And then we've got what's going on in Europe, in Ukraine. So, there's a lot of pressure, not only from the pandemic, but globally, there's a lot of pressure. And our audiences are feeling the stresses, the strains, the fears and anxieties. And if we understand the mental wellbeing challenges that they're going through, we can then tailor our communications accordingly. We need to be able to identify and understand how they have changed their behaviour, how they've changed their buying patterns, how they've changed the way that they actually engage with brands. And accordingly, we will then build to make sure that we connect with them in a way that is relevant, that builds, importantly, trust and loyalty during a time of pressure, that will keep them engaged with our brand long term. There are other things that have happened as well in terms of the kind of products that they're consuming. If we look at the return to nostalgia, for example, nostalgia or Noshtalgia has seen particularly in the nutrition industry has seen people changing the patterns in the foods that they eat, the foods they consume. They are going and leaning towards things which are more lean towards which brings back good memories. For example, we've seen the rise of baking, we've seen the rise of people returning or leaning into healthier foods, into nutraceuticals. We've seen a change in eating behaviours, for example is, is purchasing more organic, because people want to build their immunity, they want to build their resilience, they need to sleep better. So they're using food as medicine. So that's another key trend. So, overall, there are multiple audience trends that we need to as nutraceuticals brands take into account in order to ensure that we connect in the best possible way with the most resilience and impact.

So in essence, as marketers, what we need to do is we need to take into account the behavioural changes of our audiences. There's actually a technique or a science called Cognitive Behavioural Psychology that we look at. What does that mean? it looks at the changes and the cognitive factors that come into play to influence our customers’ behaviour, when we are creating experiences, when we're creating content for them, and so forth. So it's understanding if they are in a state of fear or anxiety, or hope or possibility. But importantly, what we need to do is we need to solve problems for them, bearing that in mind. So the messages that we take to them or the experiences that they need, need to be cognizant of those behaviours which have changed during this time. And I think it's important now this time to talk about the merge between the physical and digital world. And let's face it, digital has never ever been more powerful, and more connected as part of our customers and the audience's behaviours in purchasing and consuming products and services during this time. So, there are multiple tactics that we can use in order to make sure that the experience is effective, and delivers what we want in order to drive that growth. And there are brands that I've seen meteoric growth during this times, brands in health care, if you look at some of the vitamin supplement brands, which have tapped into personalization, they use AI to really define and understand what it is that the audience is looking for. Those kinds of brands, who then through AI and through digital, enable customers and audiences to order the vitamins online, for example, and get them shipped directly to their home. In other words, very convenient, in sustainable packaging, and so forth. Those are the brands that are really listening to what the audience wants, they are using digital and AI particularly, to really advance their needs and objectives, and to reach the audience in the space and the time that they are looking and searching for support, for example, for support for their sleep. And then they are delivering a great brand experience at the home and in the place, a place of convenience for that customer. The questions that we need to ask are:

  • What experiences are customers seeking now?
  • What kind of state are they in?
  • How are they feeling emotionally?
  • Are they happy?
  • Are they anxious?
  • What does our customer not want?
  • What shouldn't we do?
  • And what do we need to do to communicate with more empathy?

Because at this time, let's face it, we all need empathy, and we need support. And how also can we add more value to the customer experience? I think one of the key trends that's really interesting is the trend of personalization. And we see that in personalised medicine, right? we see that in personalised nutrition, that is the way forward and digital and AI have really enabled that. So that's another key trend that we are seeing coming to the fore, which our industry can really tap into.

Natalia 08:57
I love the concept you brought to the table about business to human. With all these stress factors across all over the world, audience trends happening with dietary habits and digital with strengths you mentioned as well, especially with AI implementation, a digital first approach to marketing seems to be really essential for marketing success. So, what digital levers can we actually pull to drive hypergrowth for brands?

Gillian 09:20
Well, that's a great question because there are multiple. In essence, it is digital, which is driving a hyper growth. And here are a couple of tactics. Number one is we need to know that brands win and lose against competitors in search. So, SEO, search engine optimization is the new frontier of the battle for hyper growth in brands. And in search, that is organic search, and how do we use that and how do we bring it to life?

Essentially, search engine optimization is developed through smart tactics and deployment of content that actually delivers the brand message in the time and place that the audience are playing and/or searching online. So, search needs to engage multiple tactics within that in order to be successful. Firstly, we need to understand the keywords that we are competing against with other brands and make sure that whatever content we put out there is competitive, is a value add, because remember, we need to be solving customers problems. Whatever they are searching for: I need to sleep better, or an ingredient for better sleep, or what is an ingredient that will support reducing my stress. If we can understand how to solve the problems of our audiences online and deliver content in the time and place responding to those questions, we are halfway there to winning. A

very interesting development that we see is the use of voice, so we call it VEO, so it's voice optimization, essentially. So as we know, we use Siri and a number of other voice tools, and if we are able to answer the questions that come up in search, so when we first search and we see at the top of Google, if we're searching about ashwagandha, for example, or stress or sleep, there normally five or six questions that are asked - those are the ones that are responded to by voice when Siri answers a question, for example, when it's voice answered. If a brand can manage to claim those questions they own through brilliant content seeding that answers these simple questions, then we are certainly on our way to rankings in page one or two, which is going to help us win that war. So, search engine optimization is absolutely critical. Secondly, is the use of personalization with artificial intelligence. And that really brings a competitive edge. So we can use that, as I've said earlier, around personalised vitamin prescriptions, for example. But when we actually use personalization and targeting online, that's when we start to win as well. So there are affordable AI solutions that are enabling our brands to use that online in the digital battle so to speak. The third story that we need to look at or tactic that we need to look at is the power of retargeting. So we need to understand that seldom does a customer go from A to Z in the purchase decision, with one click only. We go back several times, and that path to purchase really needs to be understood. There are multifaceted needs. And when we as a brand show up along that journey, we need to understand where the customer is, in that buying decision. Where along that journey, is it around consideration? is around building awareness? or is it actually around conversion? And we need to tailor our communication through digital online at that time, with relevance.

Creatively number one, and through the words that we use number two, keeping in view that the words that we use, the search terms are absolutely critical. Let's also be cognizant of the power of social media. So when we talk about digital, we're talking generally about web, but social fits underneath that. And we know that there are surveys that have shown, for example, on Instagram, that there's huge power in connection between audiences and what they read and purchase about food and drinks and health categories on Instagram. It's important that the messaging that we use on web is absolutely transferred also to social media. The power of the social media channels to drive brand awareness and engagement is absolutely clear. And I think overall, what we've got to look at, we got to make sure that whatever we use digitally apart from keywords and competitive keywords, is that we are providing a value exchange. In other words, we know their time is precious. And we know that our audiences spend time online with a goal in mind. They want to find information about a health product, for example. And therefore, when they reach our content, it must provide a value exchange, we can't waste their time. It can be fun. It must be informative, and they must walk away or leave that experience more informed than when they came in. How do we achieve that? It's again through the information that we share with them. We need to understand where they are on their journey.

We need to try and understand them better as human beings but also as customers in terms of that journey, and we need to deliver a distinctive creative experience that leaves them enriched. We also need to look at a smart amplification strategies. So we need to put paid behind it. I spoke about SEO, which is search engine optimization. But we've also have to look at SEM, search engine marketing, because let's face it, that's how Google makes money. And if we want to rank higher, and we want to show up more, we need to use search engine marketing in order to deliver a result.

Natalia 15:26
With all this content competition with SEOs, SEMs being the new frontier of hyper growth, voice optimization and search trends and personalization for aligned targeting and retargeting strategies that you mentioned to provide value exchange, what role does PR playing hypergrowth strategist for brands?

Gillian 15:47
Well, PR is now being called the new frontier of search engine optimization. So number one, it helps with the Battle of the Brands online. But if PR is done well in traditional media, which is traditional print, but also online, it can build massive awareness. But importantly, it can build trust, and credibility. It's an essential part of the storytelling, which connects our brands with our audiences. And during the pandemic, in fact, it has come to the fore because why? We've all turned to traditional media to understand and keep abreast of matters that are happening of the day. Never before have we consumed as much content, particularly online through the media platforms, which have had seen a resurgence. The key though, is to look at the powerful media. So starting firstly, with targeting tier one media, broadcast and online news, for example, those are the top tier media that we should aim for. If we've got a new story, and let's see how we can create that we bring in key opinion leaders to build authority. We use case studies because people are very interested in human interest stories at this time, how other people traversing this time? Then we should also not forget pop culture media, because pop culture media, particularly in younger demographics, has relevance and cultural relevance with the issues of the day with what matters to people. But the key as well is this, we need to always continue to focus on solving an audience problem, before we chat about the amazing product that we have. So when we go into pitch to media, we've got to think about what matters to that journalist and their audience, but also how we can make it a valuable experience if it gets picked up from a PR perspective. The other thing that we need to look at is PR or influencer-led PR, content speaks volumes about the brand, or the product. And it can provide what we call a longtail to an SEO inquiry that we might get. So PR, if done well is hugely powerful, and would absolutely forms the basis and the central point for all of the work that we do. We talk about thought leadership in building category leadership, which is a specific type of PR, and that is an ongoing objective to build the credibility of a brand, sharing a specific point of view. And that point of view just keeps on getting repeated all the time, over and over again, in order to build that category leadership. And eventually, one would start to recognise those messages across the multiple media platforms, both online and offline, which then position the brand and the product at the forefront of their category.

Natalia 18:45
Well, thank you so much, Gillian, for joining us today to talk more about this marketing hypergrowth strategies for brands. It's been a pleasure talking to you, but also learning from you. And I'm sure it has been also very insightful for our listeners. Before we just end the show, do you have any final thoughts that you'd like to share with our audience joining us today?

Gillian 19:05
Yes, thank you, Natalia, there is one thing that I'd like to talk about. In essence, during this time, all of us, in business as brand holders, or just human beings with families and friends, we've known that we've needed to pare back on everything that we do. Time is poor, we need to have our mental availability and capability for the things that matter. And what we like to talk about is everything that we do we need to be effective: effective use of our time, effective use of our audience's time, effective strategies that actually deliver a result and a return on investment for marketers. So that is the overall goal of a super growth strategy, is the importance of laying the foundations to drive volume and ROI without being completely reliant on investment in one channel. So, for example, how do we pull multiple levers in order to deliver Effective Share of Voice? And I think the key is this: communication is not about only growing volume. Yes, it is, we want to grow our bottom line in sales. But that effectiveness if we can always keep in view and ask a question, is this the most effective way of communicating or the most effective message that we want to share with our audience, we will then be able to create Katroo, because it's important to stimulate our audience to act or feel something so they have an affinity with the brand. It's about offering it with purpose, at a critical time or moment where they will consider the brand, where they will be open to considering that. They must already be open to considering an understanding and having a connection towards a brand. But how do we tip them over in order to actually make that buying or purchasing decision? And I think in the end, our philosophy is, it's about having that what I call a bit of an obsession with may having a commercial impact because in the end, you're just nutraceutical brands, like all businesses, right? We've got a commercial imperative, and if we can keep that in mind, and we can use Effective Quality of Voice in order to deliver great strategies, that's when we really unlock the potential of brands to drive the hyper growth.

Natalia 21:28
Thank you, Gillian, what a great way to end the show. And once again, thank you so much for coming on the show today. And thank you also to our listeners for tuning in thus far. If you're interested in learning more about The 6AM Agency, make sure to check out their website hyperlink, which will be made available in the show notes. Thank you.

Vitafoods Insights 21:46
Thank you for tuning in. And don't forget to check the show notes that will allow you to link to the information discussed in today's podcast, as well as any sponsorship opportunities. Be sure to stay tuned, subscribe, and even suggest to a friend!

 

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