My husband says I'm a level 9 susceptible. I am too easily influenced by sound and visuals. I have to see pictures on menus to choose my meal, or if there aren't any, I look at what other people are eating. All of which makes me extremely vulnerable to the world of marketing. But I've learned to cope. I know that the photo of a delicious burger will not look the same when it arrives on my plate. I know to not go food shopping when I'm hungry.
A Trigger Strategy is one of the best ways to market your business but is often one of the most underused strategies in marketing. Simply put Triggers can ignite related thoughts, ideas and actions and remind customers that you exist. The goal is to associate your brand with a trigger that people will encounter often and by using this association your customers will think about your brand periodically. You've probably seen several this week without even knowing it. Social posts are filled with Wisdom Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays and every store seemed to use the tag Black Friday.
Associating your brand with a specific day ensures anticipation of the event. If I said the words Valentine's day you probably thought of a heart-shaped box of chocolates or flowers hopefully not bought from the petrol station! To most brands, they use it as a time to connect with a loved one.
Coca-Cola has a long history of creatively combining digital signage and its vending machines. There were machines that would only dispense a soda if you danced and in 2014 for Valentine's Day, Coca-Cola rolled out a special vending machine for couples. "The Invisible Coca-Cola Machine," was hidden behind a screen and blended behind a wall. It remained "invisible" when a single person passed by, but when a couple approached, the machine would light up and reveal itself. It would ask them to say their names before launching a mini light show and dispensing personalized cans of Coca-Cola. A lucky single might get the chance to see it, but only if they were near a couple.
You are probably aware of the phrase, “May the force be with you” with Star Wars Day being a play on the iconic words, falling on May 4th. Initially started by fans, (although it still perplexes me as to why none of the Star Wars movies was actually released on May 4th!) many companies take the opportunity to
incorporate the ironic movie into their advertisements.
Trigger days may also include seasons, for example, Autumn = Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte with customers twittering a count down to the actual date Starbucks starts offering their Pumpkin Spice Latte. The popular drink even has its own Twitter account with over 96K followers. And then there's Pi Day which is celebrated in countries that follow the month/day (m/dd) date format, because the digits in the date, March 14 or 3/14, are the first three digits of π (3.14). Food outlets invite their customers to eat pie and people post photos of their pies. And of course, every horror movie comes out just before Halloween with confectionary brands repackaging their treats in the Halloween theme.
2. Words and associations
Another option for companies is to either create a slogan that becomes a phrase or piggybacks on existing phrases. For example: Have a break…Have a Kit Kat and Just do it ... Nike. Ideally, the word or phrase becomes the associated trigger - think Hoover for vacuum cleaners, Google as a term for searching the internet, or Netflix for staying in and watching tv.
A combination of both dates and words or associations triggers can often result in what becomes a milestone. A recent social media post reminded fans that it was on October 22, 2012, when Taylor Swifts Red album was released. Fans went into a frenzy as they began posting nostalgic photos of their teen years and connections with the songstress' songs which led to an increase in her songs being played on the radio and streamed.
Yes, a trigger strategy is a great way to place your company in your customer's mind. And the power of it can even help your brand when you least expect it. In 1997, to the delight of the Mars Inc, sales for Mars bars began to spike. The company were perplexed since they hadn’t spent any extra money on advertisements or promotion. After some investigation, they realized it was due to NASA’s Pathfinder mission to Mars. The huge media attention given to the exploration mission had triggered customers to subliminally think of Mars bars. Although unintentional, it worked.
When the company A Box of Stories launched they chose World Book Day and consequently use this day and other Book days to remind their customers what they stand for. Using these international days as a trigger allows your company to choose a cause that resonates with your customers. If you're stuck for a trigger, below are just a few great ideas that do more than promote a sale or discount, and while you're reading through them I'm going to have a Mars Bar and listen to Taylor Swift!!
Get to Know Your Customers Day (third Thursday of every quarter) #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Third Monday of January)
National Compliment Day#NationalComplimentDay
World Cancer Day#WorldCancerDay
Random Acts of Kindness Day#RandomActsOfKindnessDay
World Day of Social Justice#SocialJusticeDay
International Mother Language Day#IMLD
World Wildlife Day#WorldWildlifeDay
International Women's Day#BeBoldForChange
National Pack Your Lunch Day#NationalPackYourLunchDay
National Freedom of Information Day#FreedomOfInformationDay
World Sleep Day#WorldSleepDay
International Day of Happiness#InternationalDayofHappiness
World Water Day#WorldWaterDay
Earth Hour Day#EarthHour
Equal Pay Day#EqualPayDay
World Autism Awareness Day#WAAD
World Health Day#LetsTalk
National Stress Awareness Day#StressAwarenessDay
World Book Day#WorldBookDay
World Asthma Day#WorldAsthmaDay
Thank a Teacher Day#ThankATeacher
International Day of Families#FamilyDay
Endangered Species Day#EndangeredSpeciesDay
World Oceans Day#WorldOceansDay
World Refugee Day#WithRefugees
World Blood Donor Day#GiveBlood
World Sight Day#WorldSightDay
International Day for Tolerance#ToleranceDay