The holy month of Ramadan is with us so be ready to read multiple articles from many experts discussing its impact on advertising, media consumption, click rates and viewership. In this article, however, we are not going to talk about any of the above, we will talk about Brand Perceptions Versus Reality in Ramadan. What do people want to hear, what’s effective and what is just a waste?
“The more I see, the less I know for sure”.
Year after year, more brands rely on Ramadan to solve their “stock” problem, aggressive campaigns and tactical offers swamp the scene, from online, offline, anytime, everywhere. And questions like ‘what’s effective and what’s not?’, became the prime concern for brands and marketing experts.
At the same time, consumers grow tired of the extensive number of messages that they must face throughout the holy month. And those brands who are not considering purchasing media space or spending budget over Ramadan are more focused on entertaining content, comedy style commercials which is not always effective. While comedy can work for some brands, it definitely doesn’t work for others, and that’s where brands end up with the same question again: what’s working and what’s not?
Stop running price tag tactical campaigns.
It’s accepted that our well-equipped, tech-savvy and “always-on” consumer is very aware that every brand will have a Ramadan offer, a price reduction or a benefit on top of some kind, and if he or she is interested in a product they already have thought about it, and been waiting for Ramadan to purchase it! I’m not saying that a tactical campaign is useless or it doesn’t get any results, in fact, a smart tactical campaign can do great awareness for the brand.
Although it’s not as easy as it sounds, and as most of the marketers know, it’s difficult to create a hard-selling campaign and deliver an emotional message at the same time, especially in the holy month when the scene is flooded with offers and prices. Therefore, setting marketing priorities is crucial.
As one of our clients puts it “A good tactical campaign creates brand awareness, and a good awareness campaign sells product”.
If a brand wants to run a campaign tactical or not, the consumer's point of view on the matter should be a major consideration. How many campaigns is every person seeing per minute in Ramadan play the emotions game and create relevant stories that truly resonate with them? Marketing budgets and campaigns need to push ideas and content, rather than simply buying advertising space.
A brand’s production value is as important as its content. The idea is to create an awe-inspiring content that people will talk about, look for and truly believe in; the power of a well-told story should never be under-estimated, even if the brand is not a household name. Author Mark Twain puts it best
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising”.
There are tons of successful pieces of work that Middle Eastern and international brands have created for Ramadan. To put this in a formula is not straight-forward, but if we boil it down to three core points that have made a campaign work, tactical or awareness, humorous or heartfelt it would be:
Establishing a unique style of communication, tone of voice, message and look and feel is important, but more importantly is the story your brand wants to tell, in short, Standing out doesn’t always involve shouting to be heard; if the room is busy and everyone is screaming, sometimes being calm is the right thing to do.
Your brand needs to have a thorough understanding of the demographics of your target market in the region, what their interests are, and how they communicate. Ramadan maybe one month with set value themes, but it means different things to different people, Understanding your consumer is critical, it gives you a clear understanding of the tone and reaches of your campaign.
Consumers will expect a high standard every time, they will wait for it, they usually expect to receive the same level of quality as they did the first time, so it’s vital that your Ramadan campaigns have a high standard of quality every year.
The holy month of Ramadan is a time of pleasure, reflection, and gathering for Middle Easterns; for some, the principle of “my offer is better than yours” might work during Ramadan, but you don’t need to limit your brand communication to the month of Ramadan only if “my offer is better than yours” is your brand’s message only. Following the three simple rules of uniqueness, relevance, and consistency, while utilizing national holidays and holy days can help your brand’s success. No campaign works without its principles – the same counts for the month of Ramadan: no Ramadan campaign works without the brand’s principles. No matter if and how your brand ticks the boxes, be loyal to your own brand values and have a pleasant Ramadan!