How Mars sales increased from space missions
After a journey of seven months, the Pathfinder finally reached planet Mars on July 4th, 1997. For the first time in human history, a small robot - the Sojourner - drove around the planet. The robot sent many pictures of Mars back to Earth and made it a popular news topic.
Around the same time, the marketers of the Mars chocolate bars noticed something strange. They saw an inexplicable increase in sales. They soon realised that the Pathfinder landing and the photos of planet Mars generated free advertising for their chocolate bars.
Frequent mentions of Mars in the news reminded people of Mars chocolate bars, which led to higher purchase intentions.
Corona virus has a positive effect on Corona beer sales
A recent example shows that this effect is still alive. The recent pandemic actually led to higher sales of Corona beer than other similar beers.
Contrarily, when consumers are asked if the virus had a negative impact on the image of Corona beer, they said yes.
This again shows that misalignment of people's speech and their behaviours: the sales of Corona beer actually increased more than competing brands during the pandemic.
Triggers activate consumer behaviour
How does this phenomenon work?
In our daily environment, triggers - or prompts - can automatically activate behaviour. For example, painted footsteps leading to a waste bin encouraged people to dispose waste in the bin instead of the street (see image on the left).
An image of a fly in a urinal encouraged men to aim for the fly and better maintain the cleanliness around the urinal (see image on the right).
The examples of Mars and Corona similarly have shown that simply mentioning or thinking about a brand encouraged people to purchase those products.
Make sure your brand is continuously in the spotlight
How to accomplish this? Within a product category, you can calculate a brand's 'share of voice': how much a brand is spending on advertising.
If a brand has a higher share of voice than its market share (and the brand advertises more than its competitors), there will be 'excess share of voice'. Research shows that brands who invest in creating an excess share of voice, will grow their market share.
The success of strong brands can be attributed by the fact that they're more often on the top of consumers' minds compared to their competitors. Your brand name should therefore always play a consistent and prominent role in all communications.