When it comes to marketing, seeing what the big brands do is a great way to look at how you can adapt certain tactics for your own business, whether you’re an SME or larger company.

From promotional merchandise to sponsorships and emotive advertising, there are numerous winning tactics that influence customer behaviour.

Merchandising – Kevin the Carrot Aldi’s merchandising triumph

Over the past ten years, Aldi has grown significantly and how they market themselves is a huge part of their growth. From amusing TV ads to no-frills products, they have shoppers queuing out the door.

But one key element of their marketing is their use of merchandising. Since they introduced the character of Kevin Carrot in their festive adverts four years ago, Kevin and his wife Katie have taken on a life of their own – literally. The giant discounter developed a range of merchandise to support their Christmas campaign around the characters and the new Leafy Blinders (sprouts to you and me) in last year’s campaign even had their own website.

Shoppers bought the merchandise in their droves – providing Aldi with free advertising as well as money in their tills. Unprecedented demand for the plush toys forced Aldi to restrict customers to just two toys per customer to stop people reselling them on eBay.

You may not have Aldi’s budget, but research from the British Promotional Merchandise Association shows that two thirds of recipients still remember a promotional product they received a year later. What’s more, one in eight recipients said that they would be more likely to do business with the organisation that provided them with the promotional gift.

Sponsorship – Love Island and Missguided

Beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes, you can see why fashion brands are queuing up to sponsor Love Island, the ITV2 hit show that showcases the love lives of contestants.

In 2018, for the first time, Love Island partnered with Missguided, allowing loyal fans to shop the looks straight from the villa. The retailer saw a 40 per cent rise in sales during the eight-week run according to Business of Fashion, as well as sales of specific items spiking between 300 to 500 per cent when seen on screen.

It’s a fantastic example of sponsorship and how in our ‘Need it Now’ culture customers can shop on their mobile phone – often with next day delivery.

Being different – the role of music in John Lewis’s Christmas ads

When the John Lewis Christmas ad drops it heralds the start of the festive season but what makes their ads stand out above all others?

One of the key elements of their winning formula is the soundtrack which plays to the consumer heartstrings.

The music is central to the story telling and instantly propels you to your childhood festive nostalgia.

They choose an emotive song, often a cover and use a much-loved artist, with the likes of Ellie Goulding, Gabrielle Aplin and Lily Allen given the honour in the past. And of course, Rocketman himself, Elton John.

By placing the emphasis on music, they differentiate from other retailers at this competitive time of year and get their tills singing!