Right now your brand probably needs all the attention it can get, as all grapple with the new business landscape. On top of that, consumers are anxious and cash-strapped, desperate for some rays of light in the gloom. Running a competition is something you can do right away to create some noise, and lighten the load for at least one or two of your customers.
The psychological effect of being selected as a winner in a competition brings with it warm and fuzzy feelings, radiating in your general direction. And because we all love sharing good news, winners typically end up promoting your brand organically.
Done with empathy and consideration, giving something away could come across as a generous gesture; participating in the renewed sense of human connection that seems to be at least one upside to this global pandemic. Competitions will always be valuable for brand visibility and new leads or sales, but they’re also an expression of giving back.
A competition is a great brand building opportunity that brings your product or service into the spotlight – especially if it’s the prize in question. You can put it into the hands of new consumers, and make them feel special at the same time. If you’re a brand new brand, competitions can really fast track awareness, and make your product instantly desirable.
Brands frequently use competitions – in the form of contests, lucky draws or giveaways – to make us pay attention to what they’re offering, by involving it in the competition mechanism. With a worthwhile prize at stake, people will gladly use, research, promote, share, and even innovate your product. Leveraging these efforts can in turn result in loads of engaging content, and valuable consumer insights, along with increased brand awareness.
Giving a prize away isn’t just a random act of kindness. Well, of course it could be, but your business should ideally benefit in return for what you’re offering. That’s the trade-off, and it’s a delicate balance to strike.
Gaining or engaging customers is always going to cost some marketing dollars, and this is a worthwhile number to know when weighing up how generous you can be. An expensive prize will turn more heads in your direction, but it could count as a loss for you if fewer than expected cross the threshold from ‘chance taker’ to ‘new customer’.
Do the math – and then make it count by really stirring up some big brand energy while you have the extra attention.
A desirable prize is the foundation of a great competition, but you can ramp up the desirability with a stunning design that makes us stop scrolling, and start reading. Show us what we stand to win (if possible), in its best possible light. Delicious images are the most direct route to the “must enter now!” part of the brain.
Competitions have terms of engagement, which require us to (in the immortal words of Vanilla Ice) “stop, collaborate, and listen.” Drawing folks in to see what’s involved, and decide whether or not to give it a go, is your first challenge. And that requires reading. Ugh!
Design and typography are your biggest friends here. Keep things as uncluttered as possible, and our eyes on the prize. Clean, bold sans-serifs are great for impact and legibility. You don’t always have to stick with your brand’s regular typeface – draw attention to something out of the ordinary. Consider adding a BIG BOLD display font to your brand’s collection, specifically for promotions.
The marketing calendar
AAs with all promotions, it’s wise to consult the marketing calendar when you’re planning a competition. Tapping into the prevailing mood and time of year makes your competition seem relevant: it’s happening right now. Seasonality should also guide your prize. If you’re giving something away, the more immediately useful it is the better. Right now, for example, baking products are more appealing than concert tickets.
Special days on the calendar can thematically tie up your competition, but also gear it towards a relevant audience: an X-Box on National Video Game Day, tickets to the World Cup Final, a designer dress during Fashion Week, a trip to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day… Take precise aim, and incentivise the crowd most likely to sign up, with the thing they want most.
Your own special days are also a good excuse to be generous. Celebrate your business birthday or important milestones (number of followers, product launch, winning an award) by sharing the love.