The concept of brands employing creative, innovative, and sometimes controversial tactics to generate buzz and demand attention is not a new one. However guerrilla marketing goes a step further.
By its very nature guerrilla marketing is about using unexpected tactics to generate maximum impact with as wide an audience as possible. Its success lies in creating a unique, engaging and thought provoking idea that connects with the target market and develops meaningful brand equity. Needless to say your guerrilla branding strategy needs to be totally congruent with your brand personality and what your brand stands for!
With guerrilla marketing it was often a case of the simple being the most effective. Despite a huge marketing spend at their disposal, Red Bull gained substantial exposure by choosing to adopt guerrilla tactic for their F1 London campaign; exploiting the impact of placing the extraordinary within the ordinary.
So too did McDonalds China with their McNuggets campaign.
Historically guerrilla marketing was typically viewed as a publicity stunt, with brands looking for maximum impact for minimal spend. The potential exposure and reach generated from online viral campaigns now however, has resulted in a new breed of guerrilla tactics being used by leading brands.
With greater understanding of digital metrics, brands are starting to accept the real impact that a virally successful guerrilla campaign can play on brand development. Viral success amounts to far more than greater brand awareness. The right campaign can tell a story and introduce the audience to an element of the brand personality sometimes lost in traditional advertising.
With a strong social media presence in place, the brand has recently engaged in social heavy guerrilla campaigns that utilize social media data to executed targeted guerrilla campaigns to maximum effect.
KLM are the poster brand for social business. Their interaction with fans on twitter is a testament to how to develop brand image and build relationships using social media. Their willingness to engage with their fans has resulted in some incredible activities.
A recent guerrilla campaign by KLM took social involvement with fans to a new level. Over the Christmas period, KLM looked for passengers who checked into their flights on Foursquare and tweeted about waiting to board, did a little social media research to find out more about them, and then surprised them at their gates with personalized gifts. The campaign was filmed by KLM and soon went viral. It helped communicate the brands commitment to customer service, build positive brand associations, and spread brand awareness as well as a little holiday spirit.
In contrast, stress was the desired emotion of Nivea’s latest guerrilla efforts. While not as personally invasive as KLM’s airport gift campaign, Nivea too preyed on individuals to maximize viral attention. Using a variety of mediums the brand sought to play on customer stress and fear to create a context for their latest deodorant product. While KLM’s stunt was about developing brand equity through positive brand connotations, Nivea’s campaign was an obvious product push.
What both campaigns highlight is the impact that personalized guerrilla campaigns can have on the wider audience. While traditional guerrilla tactics get attention, it is not necessarily from the right target audience. By targeting individuals, the brands manage to involve all their target customers through social media sharing the experience of the campaign victims; smiling with KLM, squirming with Nivea! The use of actual customers draws the audience to identify with the people, the situation and evokes a genuine emotional response.
While some campaigns can be complex and costly to execute, the real success of modern guerrilla marketing, is to create great content, in the right context that sparks conversation and genuine emotional engagement.
Here’s the question, what kind of creative guerrilla marketing campaign, targeted at individuals but grabbing mass audience attention, could you leverage to increase genuine brand affinity with your target customers?
Have you even considered guerrilla marketing as part of your brand strategy?