Engage your audience with curiosity marketing

Curiosity marketing is a sure-fire way to get customers interested in your business and make them hungry for more.
11 July 2018

Vans is one of the top brands in the market leveraging curiosity marketing campaigns. Source: Flickr / C Watts

Every business person wants customers to engage with their content. After all, a customer base which fails to interact with a business is a relatively useless one.

But how do you pique consumers interest? How do you get them engaged? And most importantly, how do you keep them coming back for more?

Hooking customers in through curiosity is a sure-fire way to build up a loyal following.

We humans are curious by nature – tease us with a little information and most of us want to find out more.

So, what creates curiosity?

The key is finding the little sweet spot between what the customer knows and what they want to know.

Marketing built on this understanding of our innate desire to uncover what we don’t know can seriously drive engagement, helping businesses to build relationships with their clientele, something crucial for a modern business to thrive.

How can your company implement it?

When using curiosity marketing, ensure you don’t give everything away too soon. You can share teaser posts on social media like ‘something exciting is happening tomorrow 6 pm – can’t wait to share’. People are intrigued: what’s happening tomorrow?

In the time between the initial post and the big reveal, you can drip feed your audience information, taking your social media followers on a journey.

London-based artist and musician Keaton Henson does exactly that, combining art and text to intrigue his audience on Facebook. Posts which tease information or hint at future announcements drive engagement hugely.

The majority of posts which do not use curiosity marketing tend to attract less engagement, but posts which do play on people’s curiosity tend to gain a lot more likes, comments, and shares.

The Keaton Henson brand uses the method of posting ‘tomorrow, something happens’ for many big announcements, driving engagement with the posts including hundreds of comments and shares, as well as an increase in likes.

The comments section is often full of people discussing what the post could mean and those “excited” to find out more, bringing them back to the page later for updates.

A more unconventional post such as the post above where people are forced to decipher a code is also an ingenious example of curiosity marketing. While the audience tries to figure out what it means they check the comments – tagging friends, discussing and building hype around the announcement.

Much more effective than just posting, posts like these create a buzz of extra excitement, mystery, and anticipation surrounding the announcement and brand itself.

You can post clues and mix up the content with different media, text posts, photographs, and videos.

You can even coin phrases so long as people can catch the gist of it. Use words which are familiar however may not make sense together. Your audience will be at once comfortable with the idea but also a little unsure, imploring them to check back for more, to quench their thirst to uncover everything.

Once you get people interested, they are bound to keep coming back for updates and interacting with those around them and with your posts on social media to understand what it is you are doing.

Don’t worry about being too vague with your posts – obscurity will only create more questions and more curiosity. If you are purposefully leaving out information, it will get your customers asking the right questions and engaging in a way which gives you the opportunity to connect with them.

Connecting with your audience is key – show customers you are human, and you care. In the modern world, likes are starting to become meaningless; it doesn’t take any real interaction to click ‘like’. What really matters if you want to build a following is interaction.

So, don’t concern yourself too much with likes or shares but focus on being actively involved with your audience by being personable and, if possible, reply to comments.

Authenticity is key, and customers will see right through the campaign if you are faking it.

Teaser videos can also be really effective. Take this one from Vans a few years back for example which gave customers a teaser for what was in store at a new project which opened in London to celebrate street culture, art, skateboarding, and BMX.

A network of tunnels below the London Waterloo Station was transformed into an imaginative creative space named House of Vans, similar to the one in Brooklyn in the US.

The promotional video gathered great traction and the launch was a success. So much so that two years later when Vans celebrated its 50th anniversary it released another series of promotional videos.

But it’s not just teasers which get people interested through curiosity. Video advertisements and publicity stunts can also be used to spark intrigue and debate, opening up opportunities for companies to build a loyal following and get people talking.

It could be something like the ‘dragon bones’ the size of a double-decker bus placed on an English seafront to promote the third series of TV-program Game of Thrones back in 2013 or the liqueur-brand Southern Comfort’s advertisement of a man strolling down a tropical beach, totally at ease, for its ‘whatever’s comfortable’ campaign.

Anything slightly bizarre and different tends to get people talking.

Take Silicon Valley software giant Intuit’s 2018 campaign launched during the Super Bowl in February where an enormous animated robot is used as a metaphor to illustrate how the company’s services use new technologies to tap into data.

“A Giant Story” was given a 15-second slot before the Super Bowl and encouraged viewers to check out the longer version of the video.

Digiday reported in the first week alone the video had over 16.8 million views and a third of these went on to watch the full video. Now, the video has over 25 million views on YouTube and Facebook combined and YouTube reported its ad recall increased by 26 percent, brand awareness by 17 percent and favorability was up an impressive 27 percent.

The giant was present all over social media and even had its own Snapchat filter.

While obviously this is a rather large-scale example of what curiosity marketing can entail, it just shows where a little intrigue can get you.