Brands and the marketers, comms specialists and PRs that marshal, guide and protect them are now living within an “always on” social media ecosystem.
Long gone are 9 to 5 office hours; for social media and marketing teams, if the lights are on but no one is at home, you could be missing a trick. But how do you know what opportunities to take and which to leave alone?
Jumping on the back of an event just for the sake of it isn’t always right for the brand and your hard working attempts could have a negative, rather than positive, impact.
I clearly remember the time when the “always on” approach was cemented into the psyche of marketing teams across the globe. On February 3rd 2013, people all over the world were watching one of the most famous events in the sporting calendar, the Superbowl.
During the third quarter of the game, the lights went out and what happened next hit the social media history books as one of the best reactive social media campaigns to date.
Oreo’s world famous “You Can Sill Dunk in the Dark” Twitter campaign was the brand’s real-time marketing reaction to a widely talked about blip during the event.
And since Oreo succeeded in a number of ways, more and more brands adopted this approach and it was no surprise that many took the opportunity before the World Cup to plan for the unplanned. But while real-time interactions and the speed at which a brand reacts can provide huge rewards and opportunities; it can also create grave dangers.
Using the Luis Suarez biting incident as an example, we used our survey tool to conduct one in a series of surveys that ran during the World Cup to gauge the general public’s perceptions of Suarez and the brands associated with him. The survey results suggest that there are three appropriate courses of action that brands can take should they wish to implement any kind of real-time marketing activity:
It might be tempting to get involved, especially if you are seeing others doing it; but is it really worth clutching at straws and will the outcome be positive? If in doubt, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will your audience gain anything?
- Will your audience care?
- Is it the right subject to pursue?
I was on the tube home one evening after the Suarez biting incident and saw an advert on the back page of the newspaper. One particular brand had jumped on the story but the product had absolutely no relevance to the incident. As a result, the brand in question immediately went down in my estimation and I was left feeling confused.
React, but don’t follow the lead
As soon as the Suarez biting incident took place, brands had exactly what they needed to work with, a situation and a concept. The situation in question was the incident, and the concept was the action: the bite. Countless brands jumped on the bandwagon and got involved in the slew of jokes on Facebook and Twitter, most creating images of products with a bite taken out of them.
By the time I had seen the tenth image of a product with a bite taken out of it, or read the twentieth tweet from a brand telling Suarez that he should have taken a bite out of their product, I was bored of it. I wanted to see something different, or nothing at all.
React, with purpose
This is where using evidence to make an informed decision can come into play. The Suarez survey data revealed that more than a third (36 per cent) of consumers changed the way they perceive brands associated with Suarez and that 40 per cent would be less likely to buy products or services from brands that continue to sponsor the player.
With this sort of insight, brands are able to make informed decisions as to whether to act and, if so, in which way.
So what can brands learn from this? If nothing else, it is a lesson to determine the ways in which evidence can be used to help make better, more informed decisions.
If a poor decision is made it could have a negative impact on the brand and fail to resonate; on the other hand, it could provide a fantastic opportunity to say something meaningful. Whatever the opportunity, be sure not to miss it.