A publicity stunt for brands: Guerrilla Marketing

A publicity stunt for brands: Guerrilla Marketing

A publicity stunt for brands: Guerrilla Marketing

Arresting popularity in recent years, Guerrilla marketing has become a top pick for startups and for major brands that are eyeing for a change or want to breathe a new life in their brand image. Backed by an unconventional strategy with a keyed-up non-traditional flavor, Guerrilla advertising holds expertise in generating sound brand visibility on a low budget.

The term was sparked by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book Guerrilla Marketing: Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business, inspired by the covert tactics armed civilians employed in Vietnam who took advantage of the elements of surprise and "ambush" better-equipped opponents. Let's have a look at Vodafone's Guerrilla Strategy in Romania

This unconventional tactic certainly attracted consumer's attention and raised the brand awareness of Vodafone.

The term 'Guerrilla' portrays images of rebellion and conflict but Guerrilla Marketing is totally at odds. Guerilla techniques play on the element of surprise to immediately catch viewers' attention in the course of their day-to-day activities. Business writer Jay Conrad Levinson wrote several books about guerrilla tactics.

The whole concept of Guerrilla Marketing has been sub-categorized into multiple types as outlined below:

  • Ambient marketing

A blend of intelligence, flexibility and effective use of the atmosphere, Ambient marketing covers the elements of the environment; from petrol pumps to bus hand straps, all together placing ads on unusual objects and the unusual places to often interact with the customers during their daily activities.

WOW FACTOR: Intelligently placed 

  • Ambush marketing 

A company or brand utilizes this marketing technique by connecting their product within the mindset of the potential customers, without having a direct link or incurring the sponsorship expenses for the event or having a direct or official connection to that particular event or property.

  • Stealth marketing

Stealth marketing is a deliberate act of entering, operating in, or exiting a market in a furtive, secretive or imperceptible manner, or an attempt to do so. People get involved with the product without them actually knowing that they are the part of the advertisement campaign. This needs to be implemented with uttermost covertness because if the participants become aware of the campaign, it will have a negative effect on the brand resulting in ethical doubts about its use.

  • Viral/buzz marketing

Just like a virus, viral marketing carries a strategy to pass on a marketing message to others and creating a growth potential in message's exposure and influence. Viral Marketing's off-the-internet version is called 'word-of-mouth'. The basic advantage of viral marketing is to create rapid multiplication to burst the message to millions of people. Since the buzz is created by consumers' genuine response, hence it is termed as "amplified WOM", and "organic WOM".

  • Guerrilla projection advertising

Holding a risk within, Guerrilla projection advertising's main component is generally a digital billboard, being projected on high buildings with high traffic locations. Guerrilla projection advertising is an effective addition to campaigns of a considerable size, for example, a product launch, the release of a new film, retail promotions etc. Since the advertising is done without the consent of the building owner, hence it holds risk for the company and the brand, bearing unwanted expenses (fines, penalties etc.).

Another type of Guerrilla projection advertising is called wild posting or bill posting which uses static poster campaigns where posters are adhered without permissions in the areas of high traffic.

  • Grassroots marketing

It starts from ground root level. A brand, instead of reaching to a huge chunk of masses, targets a niche group and hopes the message to be passed on organically to a larger audience. The campaign aims to establish a personal connection while building a lasting relationship with the brand. Grassroot marketing uses non-traditional methods which are cost effective and produces great results.

  • Astroturfing

Astroturfing derives from artificial "turf", often used in stadiums or tennis courts – also known as fake grass. Hence, fake endorsements, testimonials, and recommendations are all products of Astroturfing in the public relations sector.[18] Astroturfing involves generating an artificial hype around a particular product or company through a review or discussion on online blogs or forums by an individual who is paid to convey a positive view.

This can have a negative and detrimental effect on a company, should the consumer suspect that the review or opinion is not authentic, damaging the company's reputation or even worse, resulting in litigation. (Jacobs, J. (2012). Faking it – how to kill a business through astroturfing on social media.)

  • Street Marketing

All the marketing strategies involve all the marketing activities carried out in localities, streets and public areas like a park, community centers and more. Street marketing is not limited to areas as it also encompasses advertising outdoors such as on shopping trolleys, public toilets, sides of cars or public transport, manhole covers, footpaths, rubbish bins etc. (Berman M. (c2007). Street-Smart Advertising: How to Win the Battle of the Buzz. Plymouth, United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.) The WOW factor here involved is the physical interaction with the audience and directly conveying the message.

Watch Out!

A mine of creativity and master in creating a buzz for the brands, Guerilla Marketing is the favored one to maximize their impact on the same. While used as a tactic for small brands and organizations, Guerilla Marketing has gained a charted position in the advertising campaigns of almost every organization, irrespective of their shape and sizes. However, if it's not conceptualized and floored to a T, things can turn upside down, leaving you under a burden of fines and penalties worth millions and can even put you behind the bars!

Here are few examples of how things turned off-target for few leading global brands

If you are picking up the seeds of Guerilla Marketing, make sure you plant them at the right place and nurture it carefully to harvest the flowers of increased consumer engagement and a better brand visibility.

Make sure it is,

  • Legal
  • Doesn't hold any type of insensitivity (cultural, gender, racism etc)
  • Based on a practical idea that can be executed well and is scalable
  • Intends should be clear
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