Micro-Moment Marketing: New Ways of Building Strong Brands

under armour store in mall

If the consumer decision process looks like the flight of the bumble bee, if consumers are digitally-enabled, always-on consumers that search for information, learn about brands, buy products wherever or whenever they have “micro-moments” of time as Google says, then we are indeed at the end of marketing as we know it. Or at the least, micro-moment marketing is becoming key.

I previously wrote about these short, fleeting, intention-driven micro-moments that happen frequently, draw some attention and lead to immediate bursts of action by consumers: The Flight of the Bumble Bee: Marketing in the Age of Micro-Moments.

Here are a few ways, marketing is changing:

Context is no longer secondary, but it is of primary consideration. Think Uber — it owes its success not to traditional marketing of identifying a type of consumer, segment, or persona, but building a service around it and then marketing the hell out of it. It is not successful because it has widely declared that it is customer-centric, customer-driven or customer-obsessed, but it owes its success to understanding the context, the micro-moments when we do have a need for a ride and service.

Uber deeply understands contexts and micro-moments of needs: urban areas with poor cab infrastructure, and those moments when riders need to go from point A to point B. It matches drivers with riders using a predictive algorithm that ever more precisely predicts the moments of intention or micro-moments where drivers are needed and where passengers need a ride. Uber manages around millions of micro-moments a day and learns and optimizes experiences in those micro-moments.

Branding is no longer just about communications, image and messaging, but it is about experiences in micro-moments driven by data, technology, and analytics. Branding always has been about creating the right mix of emotional benefits, values, feelings, and thoughts around a product in consumers’ mind. The challenge then was to target the right consumers and communicate the right messages consistently over time.

In today’s world, though, consumers often view such communications merely as thinly disguised veneers to engage or sell something, even when creatively spun or skillfully hyped. It is no longer sufficient to pound away around functional benefits or emotional benefits, or optimizing a few touchpoints or integrate omni-channels that you control. From now on, you market in an omni-moment world that the consumer controls. It is a “by-invitation-only” world.

It requires a different approach and Burberry illustrates. It has built a business ecosystem that delivers on experiences in micro-moments of daily life. It connects its brand with digital Millennials by leveraging technology, data, and analytics. The micro-moments are not shopping moments alone, they are life’s precious moments we all live in. Burberry choreographs music, culture, and British cool and offers this world to anyone that appreciates British culture – art, design, and creativity. All of this sets the stage for the Burberry brand and fashions, any device, anywhere, anytime. Burberry just doesn’t push its new collections. Burberry invites, and consumers respond. Over 50 million connections across ten social platforms, more than any other fashion brand is what Burberry can show for, with multiple interactions with the brand around the world.

From media impressions to expressions in micro-moments. In the world of micro-moments, there is no advertising budget large enough to achieve the necessary reach and frequency levels of traditional brand building because attention is fragmented along dozens and hundreds of short and fleeting moments. Consumers multi-task which lowers attention further. Attention is the scarce commodity.

Under Armour illustrates. Sure they have found a great brand position of empowerment that is well illustrated by the “I Will What I Want” campaign. One ad begins with a voiceover of a rejection letter: “You have the wrong body for ballet.” The screen changes and the ballerina Misty Copeland appears who despite having the wrong body (too short, too muscular) went on to become the third African-American female soloist at the American Ballet Theatre.[i] A wonderful story, traditional brand building well done!

But wait, there is more! Under Armour has more to show than just creating best-in-class advertising that even would get the approval from Nike. Under Armour’s brand-building power is in its 140 million and fast growing community of athletes who use one of its four fitness apps. Kevin Plank, the CEO said that more than a billion workouts and over five billion foods were logged into one of its apps.[ii] That adds up to several billions of micro-moments where Under Armour can connect with consumers, and help them live better lives.

Imagine the opportunity for Under Armour to help consumers in all sorts of everyday life matters such as sleep, fitness, health, daily activities, and nutrition. Imagine the opportunities of meaning value exchange between Under Armour and consumers. Then, think of the alternative: tweets or mentions that you need to skip through in your twitter feeds, emails that clutter your inbox, or billions of gross impressions delivered on traditional channels that interrupt your viewing experience of a game or other event.

Would you rather prefer to connect with Under Armour on your terms, when you want and when you really care in micro-moments?



[ii] Aditi Pai, “Under Armour’s connected fitness apps now have 140 million users,” July 27,