The problem often comes with the words we choose or the promises we make. A major brand awareness campaign can and will (in many cases) increase sales for a business. It is likely it won’t transform a business overnight but can have a positive impact longer term on your bottom line.
A recent example of the confusion between sales and marketing, and more importantly between brand awareness and sales, has been the talk of the advertisement and communications world.
Betting the house on a Snoop Dogg marketing stunt
Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr, or Snoop Dogg, as most of the world know him, is a polarizing figure in pop culture. Loved by some, hated by others. Whatever your views, recognition of the Snoop Dogg brand is high (84.5 million followers on Instagram), across a diverse cross section of ages, interests and location.
Solo Stove, former Kickstarter darling, turned stock market disappointment. What do the two have in common? Well until recently not much. Snoop is famous for smoking and Solo Stove famous for smokeless fire pits.
But what if you could convince Snoop Dogg to go smokeless? And then tell this story via his social media channels? Surely that would help change the direction of travel for an ailing business? This, as far out as it seems, was the plan, or hope.
On 16th November 2023, Snoop Dogg announced he was quitting smoke via his Instagram account.
View this post on Instagram
Marketing metrics, but not the right metrics
One Instagram post set the internet ablaze by generating 2.8m likes, 84,000 comments and the Solo Stove Instagram account grew by 15%. Website traffic more than doubled in the week the post went live (see graph). The viral spike didn’t last long, with traffic dropping well to the lowest level of the last three months (see below).
Cue a flurry of news headlines, social posts and responses. It was considered a clever marketing ploy by many marketers. The Solo Stove ad was voted #18 on Ad Age’s 40 best Ads of 2023.
Anyone that viewed the post and the story around it assumed this was a successful idea that went viral. The age-old tradition of piggy backing on a more established brand to build awareness of a smaller one.
Despite the media fame that came with the new campaigns, success (in the sense of sales) has eluded the company. So much so, that Solo Stove’s CEO stepped down. The parent company, Solo Brands, announced the CEO was moving, stating:
“While our unique marketing campaigns raised Solo Stove’s brand awareness to an expanded and new audience of consumers, it did not lead to the sales goals that we had planned, which, combined with the increased marketing investments, negatively impacted our EBITDA.”
A curious turn of events.
Confusing Brand Awareness and Sales is a marketing problem, not a C-suite problem
As a marketer, my first reaction to this was how quickly it all happened. And how little time was given to prove the success of the Snoop Dogg marketing stunt. More than that though, the clear lack of communication or expectation of what success from this idea looked like.
Did anyone really believe one or two Instagram posts would dramatically alter the sales of a product that for paying customers is a want and not a need, with a starting price of £250?
We could dissect the campaign further. Why only 1-2 posts? Why launch it so late in the year? Was the hope that it would be a big Black Friday / Christmas wish list item for new customers? Was the campaign supported with a huge paid media push?
A bigger question is also, how much of the annual marketing budget was given to it? Given the statement about lack of sales goals and negative impact on EBITDA.
The fallout has been the removal of the CEO, but can the blame be just placed with him?
Someone somewhere has let them believe that this activity would lead directly to a sales lift. Part of this responsibility must sit with the marketing team. We must get better at explaining the what, the why, the who AND the impact.
A perfect example of the powerful impact of marketing strategies like influencer campaigns, coupled with what not to do, and how not to achieve business goals and measure success.
A good refresher for 2024 could be to create marketing resolutions. You can read about how to do that here.
Need help refreshing your marketing goals in the new year? Reach out to our team today.