Every successful brand has an effective hook; it’s what makes consumers choose to engage with whatever you’re pedaling. Let’s face it, with so many different ways for consumers to engage with content, it’s vital to stand out and stand out fast if you want to survive. I heard one statistic stating that the average user scrolls the length of the Empire State Building, daily. If this is the case, then what are the chances that your post will make them stop in their tracks? The answer: A Good Hook.
A hook should line up with your unique selling proposition (USP), mission statement and tag line to ensure that your not delivering mixed messages about what your brand represents (check out our marketing glossary for more details on each of these terms to learn more). However, unlike a USP, hooks should evolve overtime to meet the needs of its audience and help you stay ahead of your competition.
AIRBNB, the home rental giant whose valuation was cited by Reuters as having surged past 100 billion during its IPO in 2020, is a great example of how hooks evolve to catch the attention of its audience. It’s no secret that the travel sector took a tremendous hit in 2020 with the pandemic, causing the company’s hook to evolve and address a different need. Prior to the pandemic their hooks were focused on distinguishing themselves from traditional hotel stays with hooks featured in their Instagram media campaigns like “Don’t go there, live there”, and “Book a real home in [Location] for less than a hotel room“. In the early phases of the pandemic the company through both surveys and actual stays the company determined that travelers were opting to stay within a day’s drive. Their hook then shifted to address this preference with campaigns such as “Go Near” and “You don’t need to travel far to find what matters”. All the while, their USP which was to provide travelers with a different experience by renting a home rather than staying at a hotel remained the same. They also stayed true to the company’s mission statement which was to contribute to the growth of local economies by partnering with destination marketing organizations.
Think like your audience to develop a hook that gets your brand noticed. In the example provided AIRBNB considered the main concerns of its audience utilizing data rather than assumptions. When working with clients to develop a hook, we start by surveying their audience requesting brief surveys and reading through customer reviews looking for a common thread. Consider what you know about your ideal customer and the benefits they point out about your brand. Use this as a starting point to develop your hook. If you find there isn’t enough substance, take a look at your Google Analytics data, focusing specifically on customers that have completed a transaction and their affinities. Next, embark on a creative process and come up with a few possibilities. It’s important that your hooks are not too vague. They must also be compelling – with AIRBNB’s earlier hook “Book a real home in…” they were speaking directly to millennials that may not have the budget to stay at a hotel and were looking for unique experiences. Once you’ve come up with a few begin to test each through limited spend ad campaigns (about $20-$25 per day) focusing on groups that most closely resemble your audience. Once you find the top performer you’re in business, at least for now!
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