wonkaticketWilly Wonka is a genius and his golden ticket campaign was brilliant.

Chocolate flew off the shelves. Earned media worth millions flooded the airwaves. And the contest dominated social conversation. I can only imagine how much more powerful the golden ticket campaign could have been with social media in the mix!

The problem is, that campaign wasn’t real. It’s a movie and this kind of marketing lottery just doesn’t exist in the real world. Sure, some big brands try: soda bottle cap codes, fast food “Monopoly” game piece contests, and even Nestle chocolate did a variation on the golden ticket campaign using GPS locators. But even with their global brand awareness and promotion budgets, these brands couldn’t replicate Wonka’s fictional golden ticket success.

Why Can’t We Replicate Wonka’s Golden Ticket Campaign?

Because no matter how big the brand, a campaign must be relevant to work. If I emphatically avoid fast food restaurants, no amount of contest or incentive will get me to spend my money there. These big contests/campaigns are useful in energizing your base, and enticing high-potential customers to try your brand. But they won’t engage people who aren’t already paying attention, or ready to be sold to.  Willy Wonka earned all sorts of free media coverage, and sold millions of candy bars during a depression, but would this campaign break through now?

Brand Building Is Key

It’s important to understand that brand building is a relationship, and takes time.  Clients often want immediate sales, but those are only possible when the audience has an affinity to the brand, or is ready to engage. Marketing seeks to grow the audience. Growing authentically takes time but the audience is more rooted in receiving the messages, making future campaigns more effective.

How can small Local businesses compete?

Yes, small business are at a disadvantage when it comes to ad budgets, audience reach and scale. However, small businesses have the advantage of authenticity, of being able to more quickly harness the human relationships that build brand affinity. Local businesses can adapt quickly to local demands, cultural norms and community needs. Where they lack budget, these businesses often make up with community rooted relationships, those personal connections that drive small business marketing.

So, even though we don’t look for the Golden Ticket for our clients, we do work to identify their authentic role in the community, grow their audience and drive sales with proven tactics and strong communications.

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