Brand Identity Concepts: Tying Generosity and Scarcity Marketing to Brand Strategy

November 25, 2019

When you think of your company brand, do you tie your marketing methods to your overall brand strategy? Or are those methods siloed to the type of campaign you’re running? There are so many different ways to approach marketing. Some are based in psychology, others in expectations, and some rely entirely on analytics. These approaches have a direct reflection on your brand identity and your company brand’s perception in the marketplace.

Take a look at two proven techniques: generosity marketing and scarcity marketing. Both methods have been used in marketing campaigns for ages. These tactics persist because they work. Before we get into tying these methods into your overall brand strategy, let’s take a quick look at what each method is.

Generosity marketing is the concept that we are open with our knowledge, our time, and often our products. A service firm might approach this by being generous with their knowledge, producing educational video and blogs that educate their audience, even to the point of some audience members going the DIY route. While other audience members will see the value in the expertise and hire that service firm. A manufacturer might be generous with their time, working with customers to walk them through options to find the right product, even if it isn’t the manufacturer’s most expensive item. And we’ve all experienced grocery stores or restaurants being generous with their products in the form of samples or an unexpected appetizer.

Scarcity marketing uses FOMO (fear of missing out) and the psychological concept that fewer of something means that item is more valuable, inflating demand. Brands might limit availability in time or products. This limit may be arbitrary, such as early bird pricing for a tradeshow. Or the limit may be a real constraint, such as a consultant only having so many hours in a day in which to help their customers one on one. An EV company might use scarcity marketing by limiting where their cars may be purchased, increasing the perceived value in the marketplace. A solar software company might use scarcity to introduce a new product and offer a limited time introductory price.

Ultimately, both methods have pros and cons in delivery. Generosity will often lead to more loyal customers and more referrals along the way, but has a longer lead time. Scarcity, on the other hand, can lead to more immediate sales, but often relies on price, creating less loyal customers. When used well, either tactic will serve to increase sales. Before employing these, or other marketing methods, consider how these tactics will reflect in your larger brand strategy.

Lovely Solar, a made-up solar company, has a mission statement that reads, “Helping people transition to beautiful, clean energy.” They may choose to use generosity methods in marketing and offer free consultations on design because they feel it more strongly reflects the part of their mission that states they help people. Or, they may choose to employ scarcity marketing and only sell their custom solar systems in showrooms because they can more readily control what “beautiful” means.

If, however, Lovely Solar ran a scarcity campaign offering a year-end stock clearance sale, this would not fit into their larger brand strategy tied to their why. The stock clearance sale devalues their overall product line, showing their products were not valued enough during the year to be considered helpful or beautiful. While the tactic may use FOMO techniques well, it does not fit into their overall brand. It would not feel genuine to their brand story, muddying that story in the marketplace.

Can you use both tactics when developing marketing campaigns? Absolutely – assuming both tactics are deployed with your brand strategy in mind. Here are a few questions to keep in mind when evaluating marketing methods and your overall brand strategy:

  1. Your brand has a story. Does this marketing campaign fit into the flow of that story? If your brand journey were a novel, would this marketing campaign be edited out of the overall story?
  2. How does this campaign help your company towards your brand vision?
  3. Will this campaign appeal to your core customers; to those most attracted to your brand?

Evaluating marketing campaigns and tactics through the lens of brand strategy will provide a holistic approach to marketing that will serve your company well in the long run. If you are struggling to define your brand, reach out to Corbae to help you build a solid brand strategy.