When it comes to marketing, it probably goes without saying that the first and most crucial element to consider is whom you are trying to target. Whatever medium you choose is irrelevant—you want to engage and appeal to a specific demographic to garner more customers. Ensuring your branding is consistent with your business reputation is key, but knowing your audience is the ultimate factor involved.

That being said, when you introduce a new product or service that somewhat changes your business, it can be challenging to navigate the transition. Adapting to new market trends is important, but in doing so, it is equally important not to alienate your current customers.

With the rise of plant-based products in the food industry, we have seen a few fast food businesses known for their meat and animal by-products trying to accommodate this trend. Here are three lessons you can take away from their marketing strategies:

Tip 1: Keep your branding consistent

Already known for its variety of options, A&W introduced the Beyond Meat Burger to its menu in 2018 to a very positive reception. To promote it, the company showed its now-infamous face of the brand (an actor hired in 2017) kindly engaging customers and prospects on the street to try it.

Although the product was new, the branding seamlessly aligned with its ongoing TV commercial campaign. Viewers and fans did not sense a massive redirection; simply that A&W was adding another product to its repertoire. Using the same friendly face to sell it kept the advertising feeling welcoming, and consistent.

Tip 2: Veer the focus

We can examine a similar approach from Subway, which recently launched its Beyond Meatball subs. For the company’s product introduction commercial, it chose Martha Stewart, who embraces the “plant” in plant-based by demonstrating how viewers can grow their own—complete with swan napkins.

Rather than stun viewers and fans with new vegan-friendly items, the marketing tactic veers from focusing directly on the product itself and more on some humour using Martha’s brand. Clever.

Tip 3: Avoid alienating your customers

With Burger King, one of the major differences is that the “Whopper” is arguably its most popular item. The company’s commercial—not unlike A&W’s—focused on getting people to try the “Impossible Whopper” and then revealing it actually contained no meat.

This simply did not sit well with fans or viewers, who seemed to feel tricked or threatened by the temporary swap (in reality, it’s an addition rather than a replacement). So why did the marketing here result in such a backlash? Although it was meant to be fun, customers disliked the lack of transparency.

The takeaway

Introducing new products—particularly ones that can threaten your brand identity—is challenging. If you’re not careful, your marketing strategy can focus too much on attracting new customers and ultimately neglect your current ones in the process.

There can be a fine line when it comes to introducing and marketing a new product or service, which is why knowing your audience is so significant. So how can you bring in more people without threatening the loyal fans of your business? To learn more, contact CreativeWorks Marketing.