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Taking your mission mass market

Josh Clarricoats, Managing Partner at Hell Yeah! offers answers to the question around, when a brand’s growth stagnates, how can they convert the less-engaged majority?

Josh Clarricoats, Hell Yeah!

Managing Partner

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Ambitious start-ups and challenger brands are often hyper-focused on pushing their mission. 

And it’s definitely a great place to start. Early growth can be impressive, driven by passionate early adopters who are hyper-engaged with the issues at stake. But this approach can only get you so far.

Sooner or later, challenger brands’ growth can plateau. Unfortunately, there will almost always be a larger audience who are unaware of or don’t care about the mission. Without bringing this group on board, growth will always be limited. 

What happens when brands get to this point and growth stagnates? How can they convert the less-engaged majority? 

It’s a strange time in a brand’s journey. When doing everything right has moved from a great differentiator to something that limits their growth. 

So, how do they make the move to the mass market without losing this edge?

It can be a bigger, scarier challenge than starting up in the first place.

[Brands] need to find the segue between what the mass market wants and their driving purpose.

Josh Clarricoats

Going mass market

A different approach needs to be taken to get this bigger tranche of consumers. It can feel like a conflict between purpose and broad appeal, a tricky message to get right. Brands need to look at what drives the mass market purchase decisions while feeling confident that they won’t lose their point of difference and initial fans.

This means brands moving their messaging into a slightly different place. They need to find the segue between what the mass market wants and their driving purpose. 

Last year, online grocer Farmdrop was in the same place. Its mission is to fix the food chain, and its marketing was hyper focussed on this. However, it was clear that for Farmdrop to compete with the likes of M&S and Waitrose, it needed to talk to the mass market. Our consumer testing showed that Farmdrop customers are first and foremost foodies, they want the tastiest produce money can buy. 

And here’s the thing. Because Farmdrop does everything the right way, paying farmers properly, sourcing locally, championing seasonality, insisting on sustainable farming methods, super high animal welfare, its produce tastes better. This truth resulted in the brand platform, ‘Doing the right thing tastes amazing’. It’s simple, true and takes the brand to a place of broader appeal. 

So, how can ambitious challengers make their mission appeal to the mass market? 

Appeal to your competitors’ customers

Look longer term. Don’t lose your original purpose but do broaden your messaging. Remember purpose might not set you apart forever. In five to ten years’ time ethical principles should be the norm for all. You can’t pin your point of difference on being more ethical if everyone will be doing it. An ethical bank might decide to focus more on tech and customer experience alongside its ethics. An eco-food brand might start to focus more on flavour. It’s about finding the bridge between what you as a brand care about and what the consumer cares about. Defining this sweet spot is how you can make it big without ditching your founding principles.

Ask the controversial questions. Does it matter whether consumers know your mission if they’re buying your products? If more people are buying, then you’ve won. The founding principle can become the secondary messaging and what was once secondary now might become your primary focus. Once customers are bought in, your ethical stance becomes another reinforcing point you can add in. You can work up a new customer journey to talk about your purpose once you have them onboard.

Look to test new channels. TV, radio, print, OOH and more are what can amplify everything. These channels could be the key to reaching a broader audience. It doesn’t have to be big and expensive. Careful targeting and testing will pay its own way and lead to huge returns. 

Go big on creative. Something brilliant that really stands out will not only achieve its primary aim but can earn additional attention. An ad we created for Farmdrop is still being used and generating value nine months later.

Does repositioning give you a new set of competitors to consider? It’s worth some analysis on how your mass market message + purpose makes you more appealing to your competitors’ customers. Then you can go after them and increase your market share even more.

Guest Author

Josh Clarricoats, Hell Yeah!

Managing Partner

About

Josh is the managing partner at Hell Yeah! a creative agency that works with challenger brands that are making a positive impact on the world. He's overseen highly effective campaigns that really champion the challenger mindset for brands such as Farmdrop, THIS, Rubies in the Rubble, Manscaped and OLIO. Previously, Josh worked at various ad agencies across London including Don't Panic, Pablo and Engine, as well as stints client side.