Disruptive Marketing: How to Break Through the Noise

Jul 25, 2016 | B2B, Branding, Digital

What comes to mind when you think of recycling? The color green? A recycling symbol? The image of a mom, with a baby on her hip, waving to the recycling truck as it drives away?

These images are now cliché, making them typical, boring and expected – perfect for being ignored.

When Penn Waste set the goal of increasing its overall tonnage of recycling and reducing recycling residue in the York, Lancaster, Harrisburg and surrounding areas, we presented an idea that was unexpected and the complete opposite of industry clichés. Our team knew that to motivate audiences to change their behavior they had to be engaged in a different way. We couldn’t us the expected “go green” messaging. Our solution was complete disruptive marketing.

In order to disrupt the norm, there are 5 key things to keep in mind to set you apart from your competitors.

1. Create a Kick-ass Campaign Idea.

When you land on “The Idea,” you know you’re onto something big. It usually comes when you least expect it. After a series of creative brainstorming sessions for Penn Waste, the Gavin team landed on “The Idea.”

The Idea: Use loud colors and create a series of characters to deliver the Penn Waste recycling message.

The Plan: An integrated marketing campaign comprised of digital marketing, non-traditional marketing, traditional marketing and guerrilla/disruptive marketing.

2. Do your homework.

When discovering how to be disruptive, you need to first understand your audience.  Gavin knew it had landed on a kick-ass campaign idea, but would it disrupt and draw the attention of Penn Waste’s audience? We really wanted to hit this disruptive marketing campaign out of the park, so we conducted a series of focus groups to gather insight from Penn Waste customers and general consumers in York, Lancaster and Harrisburg. We wanted to identify the pain points and obstacles that prevented consumers from recycling, their attitudes toward the practice and how our concept would resonate with audiences.

The outcomes of these focus groups helped determine the areas in which consumers were educated, what types of images they liked and disliked, the feelings the images evoked and many more discussion points which aided in the successful launch of the campaign this past March.

3. Don’t be afraid to go bananas, whoops we mean go guerrilla. 

How can consumers ignore larger-than-life marketing stunts? They can’t. Penn Waste wanted to go out to events and locations throughout Lancaster, York and Harrisburg with the goal of attracting attention. The team at Gavin designed a 15-foot kitty litter bucket and other oversized recyclables to make Penn Waste’s message impossible to ignore.

4. Create a Memorable Icon.

When you think about a gecko, does Geico come to mind? When you see a Clydesdale, do you think of Budweiser? There are countless other mascots for a multitude of brands. Creating a mascot or character who delivers your marketing message, helps to create recall and resonates with your audience.

The team at Gavin developed Penn Waste’s new recycling campaign’s leading character, Herb, based on feedback from focus groups and rooted in the overall messaging. We crafted Herb’s personality with witty one-liners and even supporting, unseen characters to add to his personal backstory. Then we held a casting call, determined to find the actor who could bring Herb to life with all the charm and humor we envisioned.

Herb has been crucial in delivering Penn Waste’s recycling message to south central PA. From non-traditional, disruptive marketing to digital marketing, Herb has taken on a personality. He has been featured on a variety of billboards, in several commercials, plastered on social media and has even made a few meet-and-greet appearances in the Harrisburg, York and Lancaster regions.

Gavin’s intent was to make Herb the “gecko” for Penn Waste.

5. Be a resource.

Encouraging consumers to recycle more is at the heart of the Penn Waste campaign. We know that to drive action, you need to provide tools that ease the consumer’s decision process. To house the recycling message, Gavin created a microsite, RecycleMorePA.com. Here, consumers will find information on what items can and cannot be recycled, a downloadable recycling flyer, and an FAQ section.

So whether your embarking on a year-long campaign, a month-long campaign or EVEN that next social media image – set yourself apart from others in your industry. Gavin is here to help you get noticed. Lets start the conversation today.

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