The #standbytoughmoms campaign by insect repellent brand All Out has had an unprecedented response within days of its launch. While comments from viewers are diverse from the euphoric to the downright critical, the initial objective of the campaign -- to generate national conversation on tough parenting seems to have struck a chord. Campaign India caught up with the global CMO of SC Johnson to understand the rationale behind this campaign and to debate and discuss if this helped the brand at all
Are you a tough mom yourself?
I am. The funny part is that my husband is a very fun loving guy. So when we had children everybody thought that I would be the stern person and my husband would be easy go lucky. It turns out that he’s a pretty tough dad. But when mom gets tough, they know they cannot cross the line anymore. You cannot control the child every moment of the day. But if we encourage the right values, the children will differentiate the right from the wrong.
Given the context of this film, there is too little that we see of the brand. Why did you choose to do that?
In today’s world of marketing and brand building, consumers are very smart. There are multiple exposures that they can get from a brand -- when they are in a store, on social media or watching television. The context by which they are seeing the message is just as important as the content that they are seeing.
In this case, when they are at the store we expect to do marketing that is trying to influence the purchase. So we might be more functional. Trying to say, why is this product better than that product? If they are watching TV we want them to understand the brand promise. What is this brand going to do for you.
Ultimately, great brand building is all about helping consumers achieve what they want to achieve. That’s about understanding a brand’s ideal, that the brand is in service for the consumer to achieve an outcome. A brand has to stand for something on the side of its consumer.
People do not want to just buy brands today. They want to buy into brands. The consumer wants to know what are you as a brand. It’s not just about the product that you sell. But what does the brand believe in. That belief has to match the consumer’s belief. That was really the point of this campaign.
But isn’t it important to make a connection between the campaign and the product? For argument’s sake, you could have replaced All Out with any brand from the portfolio and it would have become that brand’s story.
Of course, it’s important. It’s our job to make sure that the 360-degree connection happens. Just because you are seeing this film, does not mean this is the only exposure that you get to that brand. I have to make sure that the linkage happens. That’s what I think modern marketing is all about.
You have to make sure that as a company we have the means. We should ensure that there is value marketing, brand marketing, product marketing. As marketers, it’s our job to ensure that it all comes together.
When brands pick up a cause, isn’t there a danger of the cause over-shadowing the brand?
That is if that’s the only thing that you do as a brand. This is a campaign with multiple facets to it. If we stopped with just doing this film and nothing else, we are a loser, right. But we have a whole amplification plan behind this. We want people to discover the brand. The debates, conversations will happen, you will get the next amplification and bit-by-bit consumers will get this is what brand All Out is all about.
Marketers often think, everything I do has to have a strong brand connect. Not necessarily. It’s part of a broader dialogue, broader story. You have to make connections in the minds of the consumers.
In China, we have done this with Raid. In the US we have done this with Windex. This is our form of building brand stories. It’s less of a cause but more of a point of view of the brand. What are the brand’s values? What is the brand trying to stand for on behalf of its consumer?
For All Out, a lot of our consumers are the women of the household. In India, we are seeing a massive change in our society. Women are becoming more progressive, they are working moms and it’s a wonderful transformation to see. But despite that, in some parts of the country, there are still some things that are so deep rooted in our culture. That’s what we were trying to bring out in the film. There are different facets of it. At the end of the day, let women continue to progress and let us show them support as a society.
The connection of the narrative is that we make tough products, safe products and they help protect the family. That’s what is beautiful about ‘it’s good to be tough’.
This is a journey to help consumers understand who we are. If done right, this should live for a long time. For us, getting that right was very important.