Renowned designer Ralph Lauren once said, “You have to create something from nothing,” because that’s what he did. And it all started with a love of neckties. As a poor boy from the Bronx, Lauren had a dream to be rich. Upon telling his boss at Brooks Brothers about his desire to make ties, his boss remarked, “The world isn’t ready for Ralph Lauren.” But Lauren wasn’t deterred. He went on to work for tie manufacturer Beau Brummell and convinced the company to let him create his own line. The Polo brand was born, and Lauren moved up the fashion world ranks. One might deem his early career a grassroots marketing campaign.
Grassroots Marketing and Why It’s Important
Like Lauren’s launch as a designer, grassroots marketing starts from the ground up. It’s an initiative to reach the right people in a strategic, cost-effective manner in hopes of accumulating big results. The methods to execute grassroots marketing have evolved, especially with social media. But Inc.com says the main goal “has always remained the same.” That goal is “to spur movement within a specific target market.”
Yet, this pinpoint focus doesn’t reserve grassroots marketing only for new or small businesses. In fact, it’s embraced by some of the most successful brands in the world. It’s also employed in nontraditional ways, such as by local government agencies to understand resident needs and concerns. All these organizations, no matter their goal, realize the necessity of getting personal with those they serve (or hope to serve). And more organizations like them are seeing the stats and becoming aware of how important is to connect with consumers.
What better way to do this than by getting face-to-face with grassroots marketing?
4 Grassroots Marketing Campaigns to Inspire You
Below are grassroots marketing campaigns that have allowed companies to reach targeted consumers at the local level. If you’re new to grassroots marketing or have yet to realize its full potential, you might just find inspiration.
Know Your Consumers Like Clif Bar
The organic food company is big on fitness, and their employees walk the walk. This helps them get a great grasp on their target consumers. So, when Clif Bar noticed a need of some marathon runners, it sought to help solve the problem. To do so, it engaged expert runners to act as brand ambassadors. These individuals, dressed in Clif Bar-branded apparel, helped marathon runners keep their pace. They also provided the conversation and motivation they needed to keep going and to conquer those 26.2 miles.
A company executive explains why grassroots marketing is so important to Clif Bar’s success. “Realizing that in every interaction we have a consumer, we have the chance for that person to become an advocate, a friend, a supporter, [reach] someone who is upset with us, as well, and also have a chance for us to learn something.”
It’s true. Grassroots marketing, despite its potential low costs, can reap many benefits for the short- and long-term.[Tweet “Grassroots marketing has proven to increase market share and help brands improve in the process.”]
Support Your Community Like Ford
Ford Motor Company is known for several charitable endeavors. For 22 years, the Ford Motor Company has joined in the fight against breast cancer and is proudly a National Series Sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Brand ambassadors were on hand to greet visitors in the Ford area and encouraged them to participate in several interactive elements including a giant “What Makes a Good Day” chalkboard. Here, they could jot down encouraging messages for participants, survivors, families and attendees. They even distributed bandannas from Ford’s signature Warrior Wear. This meaningful event worked for Ford two-fold. One, their grassroots presence showed race participants and attendees their true corporate values, and two, they were able to make a real and touching impact on people’s lives.
Break Into a Market Like Red Bull
People often have varying opinions of Red Bull energy drinks. But one thing remains certain. The company excels at grassroots marketing campaigns.
The brand is most known for its extreme sports events. And considering the high energy of motocross, skydiving and similar activities, the energy drink is a good fit with their enthusiasts. Yet, when Red Bull came to the U.S., company execs knew where it could also find success – on college campuses. The product needed to be in front of the ideal consumer. This was the student who stayed out late partying or studying and needed energy for early-morning classes. So, the company recruited brand ambassadors to throw parties and hand out free Red Bull drinks. Their strategy, no doubt, worked well and demonstrated the potential return of a fine-tuned college brand ambassador program.
Become the One They Choose Like Chex Mix
What goes hand-in-hand with a road trip? Snacks, of course! Unfortunately, for those foods that fall into this category, the competition is steep. And it becomes necessary for marketers to help their product stand out. Chex Mix did that with its “Deliciously Unpredictable Road Trip” grassroots marketing campaign.
The company enlisted brand ambassadors to hit the road and get in front of travelers at visitor centers of four popular destinations. At each stop, they greeted potential consumers and handed out bags of Chex Mix, a nice surprise for weary car-bound families! This initiative not only endeared the brand to these targeted individuals. It maximized the company’s investment by reaching friends and family, too!
The Most Important Asset of All Grassroots Marketing Campaigns
Once you’ve identified the best grassroots marketing campaign for your marketing goal, it’s time to hire event staff. Know that who you choose to represent your brand is arguably your most important task. And that’s because your event staff must engage your targeted consumers and make a connection. This means they must be personable. And, like in the case of Clif Bar, they may require special skills to fulfill your objective at hand.
[Tweet “The people you choose to execute your grassroots marketing campaign are essential to your success.”]
Take the time to understand exactly what you want to achieve and what you’ll need to do that. In the end, the people executing your grassroots marketing campaign will be the ones to create the “something” you need.
Since 1999, EPS has provided brands with the event staff they need to rise in their respective ranks. Let us help you get local and personal with your grassroots marketing campaigns!