One day, as my fingers glided across my iPhone screen in their ritual Instagram dance, I saw a sponsored post that instantly caught my attention.
The video was for Lovepop, a greeting card company that makes intricate, origami-esque pop-up cards. The video showed one of their cards doing what it does best: opening. As the card opens, a beautiful tree impossibly rises up. It’s a wonderful surprise.
I’m not a big Instagram ad person. Is anybody? I want to see pictures of Jill’s dog! Show me a 10-picture slideshow of Emilio’s brunch! Get these ads out of my face!
This particular ad, however, did not evoke my typical reaction. After watching the card opening a few times, I did something I literally had never done before. I greedily clicked learn more, and I imagine that across the country, Lovepop’s in-house advertising team breathed a sigh of accomplishment.
Lovepop’s powerful product, combined with the timeliness of the ad appearing in my feed (two weeks before Valentine’s day), completely melted my anti-consumerist heart. After a brief browsing period on their pleasant website, I had a greeting card in my cart. A few clicks later, the card was on its way. The folks at Lovepop played me like a fiddle.
A few days later, the card arrived at my doorstep. When I opened the large envelope, there was a thank you note nestled on top of my new card. Written from the creators of the company, the note thanked me for my purchase and for making the creators’ dreams come true. It also went on to explain the big idea of the Lovepop brand: the magic of a surprise. I read this note to the end; it elaborated on the way that surprises make people happy, and on the hope of the creators that I would use the card to make someone happy. I was delightfully caught off guard by this unexpected gesture. If I was any more sentimental, I might have gotten choked up. Immediately after reading the note, I knew that this was the type of work I wanted to do in my career: being the voice of a powerful product that can act as a force for good. The note is still taped up on my wall. It made the interaction between the company and me feel so small and important.
What I took out of my Lovepop experience was this: they had their brand identity down to a T, and they wove it into every step of the consumer journey. The ethos of Lovepop is surprise. Without surprise, Lovepop wouldn’t exist. First, they surprised me in my Instagram feed by simply showing me the key feature of their product. On their website, they surprised me with both their Shark Tank success story and their variety of cards for sale. When the card I bought arrived in the mail, I was surprised that they wrote a thank you note that absolutely charmed my socks off. They know what they’re made of, and they flaunt it because they’re confident in it. I think everyone with something to sell can learn from this.
They know what they’re made of, and they flaunt it because they’re confident in it.
About a month later, I was visiting New York City. When I saw at least three different Lovepop stands, I felt absolutely bamboozled. The company is so much larger than I thought it was, but Lovepop went so far to make me feel special when I ordered online that I felt like I did a good deed to support a small business. I was so wrong. I was even… surprised. That’s the power of branding: the power to challenge expectations, make people passionate about your company, and get real sales from Instagram ads.
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