Marketing Conspiracy Theory for Brands

19Jun13

The Premise: Brands benefit from elevating themselves into a position of iconic leadership, becoming brands that are celebrated because of their engaging belief and distinctive appeal.  People want to engage more and will pay more for brands that are celebrated as desirable and different.

To help build a cult following (and this doesn’t imply a niche market sales opportunity), marketing teams should invite consumers who are enthused by their brand to participate at a higher level; by creating a Marketing Conspiracy for their brand.

People are attracted to conspiracies because they signal recognition of shared beliefs and a level of devotion rewarded by enjoyable exclusive experiences and elevated access to the brand.  Setting up a Marketing Conspiracy programmes provides a participation framework to provide richer, more privileged and unique experiences. These generate stories conspiracists love to share with other like-minded people.

Being closer to a brand, participating within an inner circle helps to foster brand desirability, affinity and preference. A Marketing Conspiracy helps a brand to efficiently prioritise who learns more about your brand’s dream, your new product news, and who gets to try your products first.   Rewarding your conspirators invests marketing budget back into the people who not only buy more of what you sell, but who stay with you longer.

Having a Marketing Conspiracy also signals to non-members the positive and engaging difference available by joining in dream and experiences created by your brand. Signalling your brand belief and showing renewed relevance of your heritage fuels a sense of momentum and destination; providing more tangible and emotional reasons to believe in your brand.

Marketing Conspiracies have proven their power already.  They have been used by automotive manufacturers, when they invite car owners to help design their next car.  By food manufacturers to discover new product variants or flavours.  And by mobile phone manufacturers gain insight on how customers use their products and wish them to evolve.

But Marketing Conspiracies have often been limited in scale to one off or product specific campaigns by marketers.  Rather than inviting consumers to join in a longer journey with a brand.

While short term thinking delivers immediate benefits, long term investment in a Marketing Conspiracy can sustain a brand across a generation and perhaps for longer.  Brands like Ferrari, Call of Duty, ASOS, Red Bull, Harley Davidson and Amazon are pioneers exploring Marketing Conspiracy.

The word Conspiracy has perhaps gained a negative connotation for some.  It’s sometimes associated with individuals who create extreme theories.  However the word (Latin: Conspirare) originally meant ‘breathe together’, suggesting conspirators breathe together in sharing an idea, belief, or cause.

A shared belief is arguably the very lifeblood of distinctive and successful brands.  A Marketing Conspiracy provides a shared sense of mission and emotive appeal that drives brand momentum and engagement.   Marketing Conspiracy sells the brand’s dream and promise, through celebrated consumer participation.

 Rules for Marketing Conspiracy Creation for Brands

  1. Act with integrity and authenticity to celebrate your brand and its dream; never fake it
  2. Invite participation that blooms and grows, using clear stages of engagement, emotional experiences and opportunities to share in the passion and knowledge of the brand’s dream
  3. Be distinctive and celebrate contributions from consumers who reflect and share your brand’s ideal.
  4. Promote from within those who positively conspire. Conspiracists become brand champions and potential future staff
  5. Explore and take educated risks that signal progress in your journey
  6. Enrich product participation occasions with uncommon, novel and rare experiences – innovate
  7. Build tension and expectation through engaging layers of experiences
  8. Don’t reveal everything upfront. Allude to further knowledge and tantalise by revealing glimpses of this
  9. Fuel social media participation and comment; encourage debate, interpretation and wish lists of what might come next.  But don’t do the obvious
  10. Celebrate product and brand stories; building consistent themes.  Don’t be tempted to continually add and trivialise.  Keep your Marketing Conspiracy focused and celebratory.
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