Interstellar Digital Marketing

Why Taking a “Soylent Approach” to Marketing Lacks Taste

A few years ago a product called Soylent was launched and quickly gained popularity among technology startup communities, as well as other pockets of fast-paced, highly-competitive industry across the country. The initial Soylent product, a white powder substance packed with vitamins and nutrients, is described as a simpler, more effective food source.

Finally science and technology could allow people seeking to add more time to their day the ability to rid themselves of the burden of preparing and chewing real food.

Said differently, you can now set aside the taste of a perfectly-cooked piece of bacon and the crispy goodness of biting into a tree-ripened apple for two scoops of white powder mixed into 12 ounces of water and have all of your nutritional needs met. Delicious.

It’s like approaching marketing with only one ingredient--data.

Keep it simple

But not too simple. We’re big believers in using data to inform marketing decisions, and most decisions in life, in fact. However, it’s important to leave room in your strategy for the emotional side of how your audience responds as well. I don’t know about you but the idea of giving up the smells and textures of all my favorite foods isn’t something I’m too keen on. It’s where the emotional part of eating is found.

A marketer that focuses solely on data has a tendency to take the emotion out of a brand. In today’s competitive landscape there are tons of brands clamoring to gain the attention of the same customers. Those that succeed are the ones who are not only able to identify the right consumers, but are also able to make a connection with those individuals--an emotional connection.

Take for example Target’s “Thanks a Billion” campaign which encouraged their customers to thank great teachers in their community for all of their hard work.

Target know that education, value, hard work and community are all things that their key customers are attentive to. By giving these customers a platform to praise those around them for helping their families and friends, they’ve become a “partner’ in everyday life.

Keep it real

You do you. It’s important to be authentic in the messages you send to your customers. Find your voice and use it. Maybe your brand is safe, responsible and not overly flashy (a la Volvo). Or may your brand is active and adventurous (like REI). Or maybe it’s inclusive, compassionate and sympathetic (think Dove).

REI keeps it real with their #OptOutside campaign during Black Friday last year.

The smells and sounds that are the unique signature of a given dish are seared into our minds and are the authentic voice of the food itself. The popping sound that sweet corn makes as you bite down on the cob or the hiss of a juicy steak hitting a hot grill are in many respects the voice that whispers to us when we sit down to enjoy them.

Define what your brand’s voice is and talk to the people who are most like you. What is the unique signature of your brand’s voice?

Keep it up

Remember that consistency is key. Regardless of the number of personas you’re targeting across the various marketing and merchandising channels, the experience and tone needs to be familiar.

That said, crafting a consistent brand voice is a process. It takes time to get it dialed in but the juice is worth the squeeze. If you’re like me you keep going back to your favorite pizza shop because their sauce is the best, or their crust is so perfectly flakey. Something about it calls to you like a siren. Because it’s consistent.

As humans, can we survive on nutritional powder alone? Sure. But we won’t thrive. As brands and marketers, we want to do more than just survive. We want to grow and thrive, and that requires really know your audience and building a genuine emotional connection.