Marketing matters to every type of business, and blue-collar businesses are no exception. How does this category of brands sell differently to their audience? Is there anything we can learn if we aren’t in a blue-collar industry?
Here’s what you should know about this unique subset of businesses and the ways they speak to their customers.
What is a blue-collar business?
A blue-collar business is one that offers a blue-collar service or that sells to a blue-collar audience. Blue-collar simply means a career that involves manual labor, and it can include trades (welding, plumbing), agriculture, landscaping, or any other job where people work hard with their hands.
Examples of a blue-collar business would be a plumbing company that offers a blue-collar service and a work boot company that sells to blue-collar workers.
A blue-collar business can be B2B (selling lumber to a construction company) or B2C (selling roof repair to a single homeowner).
How do blue-collar businesses advertise?
While blue-collar businesses don’t necessarily do anything unique in their practices, they may have a different style in how they deliver messages.
Typically, they use simple language and bold statements while painting a picture of the best qualities of blue-collar workers today. They may not even present a clear call-to-action (CTA) but simply remind blue-collar workers of the club they’re included in simply by virtue of their occupation.
Blue collar workers are typically seen as busy, hard-working, and in search of solutions that make their lives easier.
While this isn’t different from any other type of worker (including white and pink), they are more likely to identify with this messaging style and even be proud to own it.
Blue-collar workers are also less likely to hold advanced degrees and less likely to work in an office setting, so using business jargon and fluffy thought-leadership slang won’t exactly win them over.
Occupations like agriculture, welding, or even engine repair may be something that’s been in the family for generations, so you’ll often see messaging that speaks to the legacy of the brand or how they consistently deliver over time.
Timeless methods of content marketing
One thing you’re less likely to see in blue-collar content marketing or advertising is a large focus on change. It is often the case that blue-collar workers are doing work that has been time-tested with roots in best practices that haven’t changed much, if at all.
So, an ad that showcases the latest in farm machinery tech could appeal to younger farmers, but without the acknowledgment of the industry’s timeless past, it could be perceived as trying too hard and disrespectful of the past.
One thing that has changed, however, is the marketing delivery. Blue-collar workers use mobile phones and shop online like everyone else. They stream media and interact on Facebook.
One area that savvy blue-collar marketers can harness is the way these timeless messages are presented and marketed to a millennial audience. Blue-collar workers want the best of the old and new, and brands that can manage this tricky balance will win them over.
Best examples of blue-collar content marketing
What makes a marketing campaign impress both its customers and those in the marketing industry? It just so happens that many blue-collar brands are wonderfully positioned to keep doing what they’re doing and move the needle in big ways.
The following campaigns stand out as examples of brands doing content marketing right. They have the right tone for their audience and hold nothing back in speaking to potential customers:
Duluth Trading Co.
While all of their commercials target those who work hard, their recent TV spot challenges the audience to “take on life, with your own two hands” and features cattle ranchers, fishers, welders, and woodworkers.
It goes close up on the activities of these blue-collar workers until you can almost smell the sawdust. With a great balance of both acknowledging the role of a blue-collar worker and also revealing that there is a bit of “hands-on” in all of us, this commercial hits the mark of connecting to a very wide audience.
Often, the best way to imagine ourselves using a product is to see someone we look up to enjoying them. Wolverine Boots both honors the “path forgers” and gives us a little inspiration with their simple yet powerful blog featuring nine hard-working and innovative men and women from various industries.
Caleb, a latte artist who enjoys woodworking, and Morgen, a bridge-builder, help us see what’s possible and maybe even get us thinking about how those boots could help us put in all those miles safely and comfortably.
With a long history of appealing to the working class, Ford Trucks highlights some of the best work on its active and innovative Twitter feed.
From vintage “throw-back” photos of trucks of days gone to their pithy announcements regarding energy efficiency in their newer products, they handle marketing with their audience squarely in mind.
Perhaps their most thrilling content comes in the form of the upcoming Raptor R launch, which had the company using the hashtag #ScaryFast and mocking scary movie posters and trailers to create buzz around the new product. Its nimble attempt to be relevant to a wider audience is something to appreciate.
Tips for creating blue-collar content that shines
First, it’s best to consult with someone who lives the blue-collar life before creating content, as it’s not just about an occupation; it really is a lifestyle.
Having someone on your team who has grown up on a farm or worked on the manufacturing floor can give you that much-needed perspective to know if your content is meaningful or just trying too hard.
From there, create your content like you would for anyone else. Answer questions, offer solutions, and build trust. You may even test your content with some A/B tests to see if anything really stands out.
In the end, you may find that mastering the art of blue-collar marketing is just a bit too much for you to handle at the moment, and that’s OK.
If you aren’t in a position to harness all of these blue-collar marketing tips, contact ClearVoice. Our team of freelancers is experienced in creating content for this audience.
The payoff could be another generation of hard-working customers who are happy to create new traditions with brands they had never even heard of.
A blue-collar lifestyle is all about possibilities, and anything is truly possible with the right content marketing plan.