How to stay famous. A marketing challenge from Apple’s record quarter

This is not a blog about the greatness of Apple. Phew!

Apple schmapple…but stay with us…

7.30am on January 28th Apple hits the morning news with record quarter headlines. By 8.03am, the FT had written this article – How does Apple top a record quarter?

Gah!

You do the biggest and best thing a listed company can ever do (be the biggest and best) and you get 33 minutes to bask in the glory! Not much, eh?

This prompted us to think about B2B brands getting and staying famous. And how you create levers for awareness when you’re not a superstar to start with.

We spend a lot of time helping companies get and stay famous – i.e. maintain and increase levels of brand awareness to generate sales.

For Apple, fame might seem like a natural side effect to the brilliance of its products. Ask anyone in Apple’s marketing team to concur with that kind of logic and you will, I expect, be greeted with a frosty reply.

“Fame costs and right here’s where you start paying…in sweat”

Brand awareness studies that our research business, Loudhouse , has completed demonstrate that the bigger you are, generally, the louder you call.

The challenge is to decouple the details. It’s obvious that a Top 10 tech giant will have more awareness and generate more sales than mid-size business – but you can buck the trend.

Creating a bigger content footprint can help to generate higher levels of awareness. A case in point from a recent Loudhouse study (companies anonymised) shows the following:

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Company A: Industry heavyweight with turnover over (GBP) 1bn. 25 years history. Operational in 11 regions across Europe

Company B: Industry middleweight with turnover of (GBP) 250m. 10 year history. Operating in 11 regions across Europe

Both sell the same stuff in the same way – more or less.

Their levels of Pan-European brand awareness and propensity to purchase were largely identical. These two factors are important as they represent brand and marketing investment, not sales activity.

How can a company a quarter of the size be just as ‘famous’?

You can see from the metrics that Company B is doing more to stay digitally present. Content assets and making connections are, for these businesses, relatively inexpensive. But one business is choosing to flex those muscles more and it appears to make a difference.

Before we get too stuffy about the causal relationship in the data, this is only a directional view and it’s not true that you ‘gate’ and tweet your way to awareness glory. BUT, if we look at the types of behaviours that help businesses punch above their weight, even in the heavyweight divisions, there are markers that help us understand how to move the dial.

Two businesses take a markedly different view of digital and content marketing. Two notably different sized organisations that seem equally famous. In a B2B world where TV ads and high volume sales are mostly absent, mindshare and thought leadership, driven by your digital voice can create really important levers.

Susan Boyle has sold more records than Elaine Page. The difference? You Tube…probably.

We have our own tailored methodology to diagnose marketing needs in your business. If you’re not feeling famous enough, please get in touch.