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Inspiration Alley: Levi, L.L. Bean and Angry Birds

This week we’re taking a look at how two old brands are keeping things fresh and one modern company who went to new heights to promote their product.

Levi’s Water<Less Jeans

Levi’s is a brand that’s been around since 1873. It’s a brand that the world over associates with one thing – jeans. They’re trusted. They’re respected. But they still have to keep finding ways to modernize a product that really hasn’t changed all that much in over a hundred years.

Introducing the Water<Less Jean. Levi’s the average pair of jeans uses 42 liters of water in the finishing process. With their new system, they’ve reduced water usage up to 96%. To date, they have already saved more the 172 million liters of water which is equal to 726,600,812, 8-ounce glasses. Who knew?

To help promote their product, Levi’s has team up with Water.org which brings clean drinking water to folks around the world. They challenged people to “Go Water<Less” for a day. Pick a challenge from the website and Levi’s helps autopost it to Facebook. “I went flush<less for a week in order to help people in need!”

Levi’s Water<Less campaign is effective in two ways. It helps modernize an old brand and it shows that Levi’s is concerned about the world. They reinforce both of these points with their interactive challenges, social media postings and opportunities to submit photos through Instagram.

Now, when you pull on a pair of Levi jeans, you’ll feel like you’ve done something good for the world. That’s great branding.

L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools

L.L Bean is another hundred year old company that has done an excellent job of coming into the modern age. They’re a large retailer that most people think of as a clothier, but they also sell all kinds of equipment for outdoor activities. This month, the company is focusing on the family with events and tips to that encourage outdoor togetherness. To make everyone more comfortable, they offer their Discovery Series of courses where you can learn the basics of kayaking, archery, fishing and skiing for only $20.

Again, we’ve got two pluses here. First, L.L. Bean is positioning itself as a company that cares. They want families to be happy and they want to see kids engaging in healthy, outdoor activities instead of sitting inside playing video games. That’s a powerful message that parents can get behind. Second, by offering inexpensive discovery classes, L.L. Bean tempts people into trying something new. New means you have to buy the equipment and that’s dollars in their pocket.

Craft stores have been using this kind of pitch for ages. But what other kinds of businesses could benefit from a “discovery” class? Cakes shops, flower shops, book stores can offer writing classes. If you’re a mechanic, why not teach basic car maintenance? Teach your customers something for free (or for cheap) and they’ll come back and spend twice as much out of loyalty. Teach their kids something and they’ll pay you back three-fold. I promise.

Angry Birds in Space

From two very old companies to one of the newest – Rovio launched Angry Birds in Space with a radical campaign. They got a real astronaut to explain the physics behind the game while actually floating in space!

To keep it from sounding like a total waste of NASA’s time, they turned it into an educational experience – albeit a slim one. But it was clever, it had viral potential and it suits the brand perfectly.

Takeaway Tips:

1. Charity affiliations are good for business. Pick a charity that fits in with the culture of your business and run a campaign that promotes you by promoting them. It will make people feel good about your company and that means they’ll be more likely to buy.

2. Educate your customers on why they should buy what you sell and you’ll sell twice as much.

3. Getting ready for a product launch? Reach as high as you can to find just the right person to back your plan. It doesn’t have to be a celebrity as long as it’s someone who has a following in with the people you want to connect with.

Did you see a great ad campaign this week, tell us about it in the comments below.