Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But what does that mean in the day and age of Instagram?
With over 200 million active users and 1.6 billion likes added each day, Instagram is paving ways for brands to carve up creative and gripping content to interact with their fans. Many brands, both big and small are using Instagram as a marketing tool as they deem it fit.
While most brands only stop at encouraging their fans to share pictures of them using the products in their everyday lives on Instagram, Chobani does something more; it imitates its fans.
Much before the yoghurt brand’s advent into Instagram in 2011, they were tracking the mentions of their product across various social media platforms. Chobani’s social media team discovered a huge collection of photos (photogenically shot breakfasts, original smoothie libations and everything in between) by their Instagram users. Consumers were already engaging the brand in direct conversation and with other yoghurt aficionados across the world by using hashtags like #creationday and #chobani.
Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder, once said, “We knew we had a great tasting, good-for-you product, now we just needed to get people to try it. Sampling and word-of-mouth were huge for us…” Needless to say, Chobani saw Instagram as a natural fit for its brand campaigns. Hilary DuPont, content manager @ Chobani’s Brand Communications said, “We’re on the platform every day so we know what’s trending.
If our consumers are posting about smoothies, we are, too. We want to be doing what they’re doing.” DuPont emphasised that it was all about presenting the content. “We use Instagram for inspirational and aspirational content that’s still relatable. We’re a leading and innovative brand and we let that show through our content,” she said.
What was the result, you may ask. Chobani used existing creative visual content from their users to create new purposes for their product. They took the ordinary yoghurt that was just considered as a breakfast must-have in the USA to a healthy alternative to many different foods and as a main ingredient. Eventually today, Chobani is an amazing example of how you could succeed by piggybacking on the creativity of your fans.
So Why Imitation is a Good Thing - Key Takeaways
1. Imitation makes you smart spender.
Carol Roth, the author of The Entrepreneur Equation says, "Being the first to do something in a market sucks. And you know why? Because you have to educate consumers and that is expensive. Educating consumers about a new product or service takes effort, time and a boatload of cash. In fact, sometimes the better strategy is to be a second or third mover in a space–let someone else spend the Benjamins to educate the public. Then, you can figure out how to do it smarter, faster or better." In the case of Chobani, they observed their fans first, figured out what they want and how they want; then presented themselves as a consumer-oriented product by mimicking them on Instagram. Money spent on bad advertising = 0.
2. Make 2 mistakes or less.
This advice is particularly good for the companies that don’t have the big bucks to spend on innovative advertising. John White of BestEssayHelp declares, "Imitation helps 'fix the bugs' of the initial business idea. Research and case study can identify major problems and weaknesses of any business. Imitation helps avoid those mistakes and what's more important–upgrade and bring something new to the already existing product or service."
If your marketing idea is based on an existing idea (in Chobani’s case, it is the fans’ ideas), you can soon come to know what will and will not work for your consumers. You don’t even have to create a new marketing plan. It would just be enough if the unmet needs of your users are met through an innovative product. Fine tuning is easier.
3. Same …same but different.
It's a proven fact that customers do not always respond well to big changes. They appreciate products that are the same but with tiny differences. Imitating your fans to sell your product with slight changes might just be the best Instagram marketing idea. New and improved, hello!
4. Let your fans teach you.
Who can be better teachers than your fans, right? They will teach you all the marketing do’s and don’ts. Watch and examine the style and language of your fans that are already talking about you. Pay attention to what they are saying. Then, present your product in the exact tone and voice of your fans.
If this article made you hungry for more, then we have plenty of other tasty articles for you on our blog.