Unsurprisingly, some products and sectors are much harder to market than others. One example of this is tobacco, which has been one of the most difficult industries to market for over a decade. This is very consistent, and is unlike most things that are difficult to market, as they change every few years, as society grows and evolves.

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In today’s society, some of the main concerns are tobacco, sugar and alcohol. For this reason, the marketing of tobacco is very restricted, and tobacco companies are not allowed to advertise in print or on television. However, sugar and alcohol can still be marketed – but how do you market something that is viewed negatively by the government and the public?

Brands can do this by changing and evolving, just like the society that they exist in. Brands with products that are hard to market might be tempted to stop marketing all together, but this can be disastrous for their brand. The best option is to try different methods to effectively market their product.

How to market a difficult sector

Some brands that work in difficult sectors are trying to turn the challenges that they face into opportunities. They do this by changing practises and resetting public opinion on their products. For example, pay-day loan companies are frequently accused by the government and media for having high interest rates that are not properly advertised. This means that many people no longer trust payday loan companies, but some companies have remained successful by changing the way that they market their brand.

Payday loan company, Sunny, used advice from the Office of Fair Trading to redesign their loans so that they were fair, straightforward and easy to understand. This sends a clear message to customers that the brand has changed, so those customers are still willing to use the brand. However, other payday loan companies haven’t changed the way that they advertise, so they might notice a drop in customers as time goes on.

Use past associations to your advantage

One of the main problems for brands that sell products that are difficult to market is that customers don’t trust them. They want to buy from brands that are transparent and honest, and they will avoid companies that they deem to be untrustworthy.

Brands can use this to their advantage by proving that past opinions about them are no longer correct. Lots of people worry about sugary drinks, and a sugar tax will be introduced into the soft drinks industry by the end of 2018. Lucozade is known for sugary drinks, but the company has used that to their advantage, by releasing a healthy alternative called Lucozade Zero. Lucozade Zero gave consumers a healthier drink option and it was wildly successful, delivering £11 million in retail sales within its first four months. This shows that problematic brands can still effectively market themselves by changing their image.

Adapt for success

Brands that face controversy must be willing to adapt and change their product, so that it can still be successful. After last year’s hacking scandal, dating website Ashley Madison is now focusing on open relationships rather than adultery. This rebranding means that the company can continue successfully, despite the massive controversy that it was involved in the past.

Any brand can adapt its image so that it will succeed – it just takes clever marketing and possibly rebranding.

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