One of the main principles of marketing is to reach your consumers where they already are. Each day 300 million people use WhatsApp to connect with their families, friends, and colleagues throughout the world. With a user base of that size, it is not surprising that entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerburg are taking a special interest for this platform, or private messaging platforms as a whole. It also isn’t surprising that big name brands like Adidas are taking advantage of the platform to reach their consumers in a direct fashion. Today, we’ll present to you the benefits of following in Adidas’s footsteps and using WhatsApp in your marketing strategy.
At first, instead of reaching out to already established influencers with a certain level of recognition and fame, Adidas took the opportunity to create its own micro-influencer communities in select target cities through WhatsApp. Through this the Tango Squads were born: communities of young soccer lovers interested in collaborating with Adidas to promote their products through dark social channels. By incorporating the use of more private and personal channels, these micro-influencers were able to increase their influence.
These WhatsApp communities are managed by in-house brand representatives that provide community members with exclusive content, products, and experiences for them to share with their local communities. By managing their communication and promotion through private messages, they give their efforts a touch of authenticity that is otherwise hard to obtain through any other medium. Private messaging allows communication to manifest itself in a similar way to a friend giving you a genuine recommendation instead of an influencer or brand trying to sell you a product.
According to Adidas’s newsroom managing editor Laura Coveney, using WhatsApp has “allowed us to build direct relationships with a smaller community of influential people in an ongoing way that doesn’t feel transactional and allows for a conversation, rather than just a broadcast.”
Consumers like to be taken into account and be heard, and private messaging platforms give brands a place to have dialogues instead of unilateral communication efforts that are typical affordances of other types of digital media such as ads on social media or email campaigns. Because of this, Digiday states that opening rates on WhatsApp tend to be significantly higher than opening rates through alternative mediums.
If you’ve ever asked yourself what the public really thinks of your product or brand, or what your audience’s interests really are, there’s no better way of finding out than through direct means. Because of the conversational nature of private messages, using WhatsApp not only helps you to better reach your audience, it also helps you obtain direct feedback about your products and brand. At the same time, you’ll be able to gain key insights about your target audiences.
For example, Adidas successfully identified an issue that is common amongst soccer communities. More often than not, teams are on the lookout for last minute substitute players to complete their teams. Where do the teams go to find substitute players? WhatsApp. Adidas took advantage of this insight in order to create a new global campaign where teams can request to rent local players sponsored by Adidas through the messaging app. By using private messaging, Adidas is able to exchange private information to determine what each team needs.
Once the request is approved, the sponsored player will appear in Adidas gear ready to promote their latest products while fulfill the local team’s needs.
There’s no doubt that platforms like WhatsApp offer many marketing opportunities beyond customer service. Adidas is a perfect example of how with a little bit of innovation, private messaging apps can be the perfect ally for your marketing strategy. Are you up for the challenge?