July Strategies We're Watching

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Our Thoughts
  • by Courtney PeGan Stevens

From ideas that seem like slam dunks to those with big hurdles to overcome, I am featuring unique empathic marketing & innovation strategies that caught my attention this month.  While I don’t have any insider knowledge of these strategies, I have been around the business block and seen enough to make educated guesses on how these strategies are addressing real human needs.

The Strategy: Supporting “Main Street” with a Campaign to Support Dive Bars

The Player: Seagrams 7 (Diageo)

Why I’m Watching: Seagrams was a big part of my hometown - and so are dive bars really. :) I believe that is why this advertising and brand strategy move from Diageo caught my eye; these ads make me feel happy and nostalgic because the concept of needing some “social refreshers” even when returning to the familiar resonates with me. (except for the conversation training video; it’s still acceptable to show a year’s worth of dog pictures on my phone, right? RIGHT?!?)

Supporting Main Street / small local watering holes helps keep communities connected. While small establishments may never be able to afford the advertising for themselves, Seagrams 7 is here to support them! I am hopeful that this clever, humorous campaign will put a smile on lots of faces and encourage communities to #keepthedivealive.

The Strategy: Banning Weight-Loss Advertising in Partnership with The National Eating Disorders Association to Protect Users

The Player: Pinterest

Why I’m Watching: It’s no secret that many of us are in a bit worse shape than we were at the beginning of the pandemic. From stress eating to sitting in front of zoom to gym closures, there have been a lot of factors at play to wreak havoc on people’s body image. In an empathic and strategic move, Pinterest partnered with The National Eating Disorders Association to ban weight-loss advertising and any content aimed to disparage body types. 

This move feels like Pinterest is putting their user base ahead of their bottom line, especially since Pinterest users skew young and female. I think this could be a groundbreaking move for social media in terms of considering users' mental health as a key part of business strategy. I’m here for this move and hope it pays out in user loyalty and positive PR.

The Strategy: Restaging a Lingerie Brand, Focusing on Empowered Female Brand Ambassadors

The Player: Victoria’s Secret

Why I’m Watching: Victoria’s Secret is the poster child for what can happen if a dominant brand refuses to invest in understanding their target audience. From failing to view women outside of the male gaze to ignoring the plus size market, their cultural fall from grace has been well documented over the past few years through a series of articles in places like The Washington Post, Vox, CNN, Bazaar, Teen Vogue, and more. 

These articles document how the brand has fallen (stores closings, cancellation of the once mega-hit Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and large company layoffs) along with the factors that led to their downfall (accusations of cultural appropriation, failing to provide the comfort that women demand, refusing to include plus-size women in their shows and advertising).

The reason that I am including this as a Strategy to Watch is because this brand pivot is both highly interesting and possibly too late. Tapping strong females who are renowned for their accomplishments to represent the brand instead of the “Angels” could help shift their equity in a positive way, particularly in the minds of Gen Z consumers who may have less baggage with the brand. 

On its own, this brand strategy looks like a homerun, but can VS shed all of the negative connotations it’s racked up over the years? I will definitely be watching to see! 

What do you think of these empathic strategies and how do you see them playing out?  Let’s keep the conversation going!  Follow us on LinkedIn or email me directly: courtney@seekcompany.com.