Everything in America is bigger, they say - the houses, the cars, and the portion sizes. Even their presidential debate lasted almost as long as the winning candidate’s term in office.
Here in the UK, stereotypes say that we are less overt, more subtle, and more self-deprecating. But how does this get reflected in marketing?
As a company with American roots, we have the best of both worlds. Our DIY tape brands have been leading the market on both sides of the Atlantic for years, and we like to think that both our US counterparts and the British team here can learn a little from each other.
For example, when we launched T-REX tape this year, we looked to our American team. They were able to give us great insights into how well T-REX worked and what builders and construction workers liked about it – namely the all weather aspect and the fact that it could adhere to most surfaces.
T-REX, as the name suggests, is bold, strong and big. Our whole strapline shouts this: four times the holding power, three times the staying power, and two times the bite of typical duct tapes. While these messages were spot on for our market (our weather is worse and we have just as many uneven surfaces!), we decided to take a different approach in our route to market.
The key to launching a new product is research into the audience, and knowing how that audience will respond. What works for one territory, or one type of retailer or merchant, will not necessarily work for another. In the US, patriotism, pride, sport, optimism and celebration are the order of the day in advertising. Here, we tend to be a bit more ironic, sarcastic and self-conscious - and less emotional.
So, we’ve talked to our builders’ merchant customers, as part of our regular visits with our other brands, Duck and Frog. We’ve talked to our end users - the builders themselves. We know how they shop and what they are looking for in a product and brand. While T-REX’s advertising in the US is in your face (and rightly so), we’re taking the same messages and just doing it a little differently.
Through careful analysis of the media channels open to us, we were able to drill down to radio at first, and in particular Talk Sport. A great team to work with, we’ve just completed a massive radio promotion with them and will be building on that soon. We’re also supporting our merchants with some face-to-face activity and can’t wait to start building relationships with our end users, and getting our product in the hands of the ‘consumer’ more and more.
As we expand our T-REX audience across the UK, we’ll be carefully co-ordinating social media activity, with traditional trade and consumer media alongside. All with the aim to drive traffic into store.
To market a brand or a product you have to make it relevant. You have to tap into a culture and work with all of its idiosyncrasies. That’s how you get attention, generate trial, and guarantee purchase.
Alan Murray is head of UK marketing at Shurtape.