A new idea for making a brand advocate out of a doubter.

It’s possible to make new believers of your product from the doubters. One way to do it is like British discount grocery store “Lidl”: have doubters ask the hard questions themselves. The grocers’ campaign, dubbed “Lidl Surprises”, is an innovative way to make people believe in a brand that previously had only caused doubts about the “questionable origin” of its’ low-cost products.

The ads feature real people asking real suppliers about the product they provide; the first commercial shows a customer named Sharna, who was an actual social media doubter, visiting a beef farmer named John on his farm in Scotland and asking questions about the provenance of Lidl’s (discount) ‘Deluxe Scotch Beef’. Later on in the series, the commercials are going to focus on the seafood, fruits, wines, and vegetables that the discount grocer provides.

An internal study showed that many Brits still think of Lidl and its products in a negative way, and so the company decided to try to turn its “anti-advocates” (their word) or “haters” (our word) into believers.

The move comes at a time when many Brits are tightening their purse strings because of Brexit, and before that, the austerity measures enacted by the government. Lidl’s goal as a discount grocer is to continue expanding so that many more Brits have access to their stores.

It is currently the fastest growing grocer in Britain, but as Claire Farrant, Lidl UK’s marketing director says, “We need to make the brand more accessible to Brits as many don’t have access to a local Lidl. We can try to change perceptions with our marketing but that means absolutely nothing if someone doesn’t have access to a Lidl store.”

She also stresses the fact that they are not remaining complacent with Lidl’s previous customer set.  “…It is important as a brand to seek out new customers. We’ve targeted the middle classes before but we must now appeal to every single consumer regardless of their social background,” Farrant says. That means growth and some hard work for Lidl’s marketers to create more “Lidl Surprises” for potential consumers.  

Do it (or experience it) yourself is a great method to try when you want consumers to experience your product or service first-hand, so they know it’s good. If your company doesn’t have the budget of a national grocery store, or maybe you can’t swing a general “come try out our product” invitation, you could try following Lidl’s lead on a smaller scale.

Do tests and run them on Facebook Live, Periscope, or even Instagram and Twitter so that possible customers can watch in real time and find out a real person’s verdict about your product. In order to market to your customer successfully, you need to view your product from their perspective. Asking them what they think is a huge step in the right direction.