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Game-changing marketing strategies that redefined five brands

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Innovative marketing strategies that helped Redbull, Domino’s, Gillette, Spotify and Parle-G to turn the tides of the market in their favour

New Delhi: Product matters. But it’s a marketing strategy that can make or break a brand. Here we bring you five smart marketing strategies by leading brands that helped the brands either pull themselves up from the brink of extinction or maintain their market dominance. [bs_input_restrict]

  1. Promoting positioning not product – Red Bull

Energy drink Red Bull’s quirky ads and the tagline ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ helped the brand gain a great recall. However, in recent years, the brand has adopted a new positioning by associating with extreme sports.

The brand which was launched in 1987 by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz and Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya, sponsors 15 sports teams connected with 11 extreme sports.

Some extreme sports that Red Bull sponsors are freestyle biking, BMX riding and skating.

The brand ensures that in keeping with its positioning, most of the posts on its Instagram account are also related to extreme sports instead of its product.

This strategy has helped Red Bull become a synonym for energy among extreme sports enthusiasts helping improve its reach and sales. Despite not having a secret recipe like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Red Bull is one of the largest soft drink manufacturers. In the financial year 2022, it generated a revenue of $10.45 billion.

  1. Negative marketing with a twist – Domino’s

Influencer marketing is a significant part of several brands. However, back in 2008, it wasn’t as mainstream as it is today.

American pizza chain used the power of influencer marketing to its advantage 15 years back—a time when still in its nascency.

The share prices of the Michigan-based brand were suffering after the 2008 market crash trading at 6$ a share compared to today’s price of 300$ plus.

In addition, people in America were also unsatisfied with the quality of the pizzas Domino’s was serving. To fix it, Domino’s launched a bold campaign which involved inviting people to give an unbiased opinion on its pizzas.

It even filmed people saying that the pizza base tasted like cardboard. Domino’s then worked on improving its quality and taste and went back to the same people asking them to try its new range of pizzas. People were impressed by the transformation in the quality and taste and Domino’s ran campaigns comparing the old and new. This helped revive business and helped the company to survive in those hard times. In 2022, Domino’s generated a revenue of more than $4.5 billion.

  1. Razor blade strategy- Gillette

Gillette was launched in 1901 when inventor and salesman King Camp Gillette came up with the idea of a safety razor. When Gillette’s patent expired in the 1920s, the sale of its razors went down significantly. The detachable razor blade model was introduced by its rivals, which Gillette later adopted with a smart pricing model. Gillette used to sell razors for a loss and make a profit from selling interchangeable blades. So, while the razors were cheap, the blades were priced high. This strategy helped Gillette become one of the biggest shaving products companies in the world. Later several other companies from other product categories too adopted this strategy to generate good business. For instance, printer companies started selling printers for cheap and making money on the ink. Even gaming console companies sold their consoles at a loss so they could make money by selling games. In 2005, Procter & Gamble (P&G) acquired Gillette in a $57 billion deal, the largest in the history of the FMCG major. “In 2019, Gillette Mach3 was the leading cartridge razor blade brand in the United States with sales totalling 115.3 million U.S. dollars,” reported statisa.com. “The Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power brand generated sales of approximately 92.5 million U.S. dollars,” it added. Gillette was valued at $6.9 billion in the year 2022.

  1. Free content with ads – Spotify

Spotify was founded by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in April 2006. As of December 2022, it was one of the largest online streaming service providers, with over 489 million monthly active users, including 205 million paying subscribers.

Like every successful company, Spotify too started with innovation. When Spotify entered the business, the market was divided into two groups—people who downloaded pirated music (illegal) from apps like Napster that didn’t pay royalties to the artist and people who paid for every song they downloaded from Apple Music that paid royalties to the artist. In this game of tug of war, Spotify introduced an app, which allowed streaming music royalty paid music for free. How? By getting sponsors and inserting ads in between songs. Those who didn’t want to listen to the ads, could upgrade to the premium plan and stream ad-free music. Spotify’s revenue for the year 2022 was $12.6 billion with 14% coming from ads as per media reports.

  1. Shrinkflation Parle-G

Parle was launched in 1929 by Mohanlal Dayal Chauhan. In 1994, the company introduced an interesting biscuit with the brand Parle-G. The company priced its new biscuit at Rs 5 for a pack. With the passage of time, it became increasingly difficult for the company to maintain its price.

However, Parle was aware that for Parle-G, to maintain its prominence in the Indian market, the price must stay constant so that it remains affordable to all. The solution was to adopt the policy of shrinkflation where over the years, the company sold the biscuit at low margins and shrunk the quantity of the pack of biscuits instead of increasing its price. It is this strategy that has helped the company keep the prices unchanged from 1994 till now. As per media reports, Parel-G contributes 50% to the company’s topline. In 2022, Parle reported revenue of $2 billion.[/bs_input_restrict]

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