As a small business, do you ever look at big companies and ask yourself, “How can I be as successful as them?” You may idolize their grandiose campaigns and large social followings, but what if I told you that there’s a recipe to their success? While we’re well into 2020, we can learn a lot from looking at some of the biggest and most successful branding campaigns from last year; some that even occurred on Canadian soil.

Branding isn’t what it used to be. Trends have changed over the decades, and what started out as flashy tactics with the use of celebrity endorsement has now shifted focus: you and your reality. Let’s take a look at what I’m referring to. 

SickKids VS: This is Why

The name says it all, but unless you’ve visited the hospital firsthand, do you really know what goes on in there? Launched in late 2019, SickKids Hospital’s campaign “This is Why” showed Canadians the realities faced by staff and patients alike regarding grave and cramped working conditions. Production value aside, these are real kids battling real sicknesses.

This campaign creates an emotional connection with its viewers through the use of real people, real facilities, and a real, genuine problem. Additionally, they provide a solution at the end of the video with a clear call-to-action: BuildTheNewSickKids.ca

Since the start of their broader “VS” campaign, launched in 2016, SickKids has already raised almost 75% of their $1.3 billion goal.

GoodLife Fitness and #ChangeYourStory

Like SickKids, GoodLife Fitness used a similar approach to their successful 2019 campaign #ChangeYourStory. This campaign focused on sharing real fitness stories from real people, and even looked at the perspective from the eyes of the employees. Oftentimes, consumers have a perception that companies are in it just for the money, but if you can exemplify that your staff can make a positive difference in their lives, they’ll take notice.

One of the other strategies GoodLife Fitness used for this campaign to increase exposure was their robust media mix. This campaign included television and radio spots, online videos, blogs, and social media posts.

Dove’s Project #ShowUs

Known for their history of boosting women’s self-esteem, Dove did it again with their 2019 campaign: Project #ShowUs. Except, this time, they approached it with a new angle. According to Dove, “70% of women still don’t feel represented in media & advertising.” Their solution? Creating a campaign featuring real women who could submit their own photos using the hashtag #ShowUs on social media, perhaps sans filters, make-up and touch ups. The goal was to feature women from all backgrounds, regardless of how they look on the outside.

Although SickKids had a budget, the driving force behind their campaign was led by consumers. Dove relied on photo submissions from women across the world, regardless of whether they were a customer. In addition, they relied on another upcoming marketing trend, cause marketing, to spread their brand.

As you can see from the examples discussed above, one of the biggest trends right now in marketing is centering your brand around real people and real stories. If you’re wondering how this applies to your brand, think about two things: 1) the issues your customers face, and 2) why they chose you. If you haven’t already, I recommend simply asking them these questions! Once you’ve come up with your “why”, use it to your advantage.

If you’re unsure about where to start, or you’d like to discuss creating a marketing campaign around your customers’ real stories, reach out to CreativeWorks Marketing today!