The key to successful branding: authenticity


tms’s (formerly The Marketing Store’s) Chantal Page, Associate Director of Strategy, shared her expertise with Built In Chicago. Read more about her perspective on leveraging consumer insights below or as originally published here.

We encounter thousands of ads every single day.

Scrolling through Instagram; browsing news websites; streaming television shows on Hulu. Digital marketing and branded content is all around us, like the oxygen we breathe or a Starbucks on every street corner.

So it takes a message of authenticity to stand out in the year 2021. People no longer want to be told what to like and what they should think is cool. Rather, they now understand how “the machine” functions and prefer to fully interact with a product when they feel like their contribution makes a difference, or a brand is in on the joke.

When Britney Spears sang about “the joy of Pepsi” to millions of viewers during the Super Bowl in 2001, it was a rally cry for turn-of-the-millennium pop culture junkies – because it was fresh, unexpected, and lined up with the down-to-earth likability factor Spears exuded to her fans. Britney could enjoy Pepsi in her down time, and so could we.

Consumers are the driving force behind the success of a marketing campaign, so it makes sense to appeal to a dedicated fan base that “can sniff out inauthenticity in a second,” according to Chantal Page, associate director of strategy at tms (formerly The Marketing Store).

“If you represent their idol in a way that doesn’t make sense to them, they’ll call you out in a heartbeat,” Page said.

Built In Chicago sat down with Page to learn more about the ways her agency relies on consumer insight to guide their most effective marketing strategies and all the tools that help them along the way.

Global customer engagement agency tms (formerly The Marketing Store) creates brand experiences that captivate and promote discussion. In order to keep campaigns authentic, Page said she relies on social media interactions to discover exactly what fan bases expect out of celebrity partnerships and marketing collaborations.

What’s an example of an issue you have been able to solve using consumer insights?

Celebrity partnerships are great, but one thing to consider is that a dedicated fan base can sniff out inauthenticity in a second. If you represent their idol in a way that doesn’t make sense to them, they’ll call you out in a heartbeat. So, to solve for that, in a recent celebrity partnership, we leveraged consumer insights to connect with their dedicated fan base authentically. Through social listening and insight mining, we were able to identify what fans would be expecting from the collaboration and what we needed to do to surprise them. In addition, we were able to identify the multiple subcultures of fandom and layer in Easter eggs properly.

What technologies or techniques do you use to gain insight into a consumer’s journey or motivations?

I find that I do my best insight mining when I start with social listening. Taking the time to search our client’s mentions on social media gives me a quick, well-rounded look into how a wide variety of customers feel about the brand – from the good to the bad to the ugly. Hearing how people feel about the brand, from their perspective, in a channel they feel comfortable communicating in, I can start to form a hypothesis rooted in our most important party: the consumer. With that information and my rough hypothesis, I can then layer in additional findings from tms’s (formerly The Marketing Store’s) research vendors to craft a strategic solution that can solve the brand’s problem and resonate with consumers.

How have consumer insights changed the way you view your business’s customer base?

Consumer insights have proven that no matter how diverse our customer base is, there are pieces of our brand’s experience that are shared amongst everyone. Identifying a consumer insight allows you to not only attract fans, but connect with them by showing that you speak their language and understand their lives.