a case for evolving marketing beyond national holidays
You know every brand, and every brand’s mom, has talked about what to post for Valentine’s Day this week (no shade here.) Or, your inbox is already flooded with Valentine's Day content.
Maybe you've even brainstormed ways to stay top-of-mind for all of the popular holidays of the year.
Unfortunately, while nice (and timely), this tactic isn’t going to earn your brand any extra painted heart points in 2021.
Come Sunday, your Valentine’s Day post is going to get lost in the sea of other red and pink content.
So what isn’t necessarily easy, takes more work, yet is an unexpected way to garner more captivated attention for your brand?
In this edition, we’re going to talk about one real-time moment that happened in the last month, and how can apply the same approach to evolve stale holiday celebrations into something more memorable (and impactful) for people.
how to graduate from just national holidays to buzzy moments
What happened: by now, you’ve heard about WSB members coordinating buying shares of GameStop stock to stick it to hedge funds, who were betting on the retailers' slow yet imminent death (or so they thought.)
Context: WSB users speak in lots of slang (for example, “tendies” refers to both chicken tenders and ten dollar bills, having “diamond hands” means not selling the stock and holding for you and your fellow comrades…)
so some savvy brands decided to jump in...
Once word started spreading of WSB's Wall Street upheaval, some brands took it upon themselves to quickly hop on the real-time conversation.
Brand #1: Huel
Huel ran a simple promoted ad to reddit's WSB using language that its members already used.
By repurposing the brand's own imagery and adding clever text - in this case, paying homage to having “diamond hands” and members holding the stock - Huel ended up having their own ad reposted organically to the community by a user.
What does Huel have to do with stocks, you might ask? Pretty much nothing.
But does their target audience fit the audience of r/wallstreetbets? Likely.
Brand #2: Paul Campanella’s Pike Creek Automotive
Who is Paul Campanella?
Literally could. not. tell you.
But did this make me Google Pike Creek Automotive? Yes.
And this photo got posted on r/wallstreetbets by a user who spotted it on their drive. It received 14.5K upvotes and 208 comments.
Hey Paul, I don’t know you or your business - but now I do. Well done.
And hey, for any readers in New Castle County, Delaware, go check ‘em out.
Brand #3: Popeye's
You have to admit, between last year’s chicken sandwich face-off and now this, Popeye’s is killing the real-time marketing game.
This was especially brilliant - using stock symbols as promo codes and giving the community a discount on chicken tenders (once again an easy nod to the community’s “tendies” slang.)
Not only did Popeye’s earn real-time accolades for this, but instead of having to coordinate with a delivery app, they encouraged users to download their app to purchase directly. Smart.
you right now: “these are cool and all, but I don’t have time for this!”
How did I know you would say that? Oh, it’s probably because you’re a sane person.
The truth of the matter is, no one has time to constantly monitor trending conversations. But there are ways to be efficient without sacrificing your life for marketing.
Step 1: subscribe to a trending topics newsletter that does the work for you
Easy to follow and read tips on buzzy trending topics, weird emerging news, and more. Sign up here.
Step 2: get meta: watch the trending conversations on platforms you want to trend on
Wanting to go viral isn’t enough (please don’t tell anyone you ever want to “go viral” BTW 😬) however if you have a way to tie your brand to a relevant MOMENT, then there’s room for experimentation.
For example, if you want to grow on TikTok, set aside five minutes a day to check out TikTok’s Discover page. There, you can get the inside scoop on trending themes to see if anything is relevant to your brand.
Alternately, I would also look at reddit’s news tab to see if anything speaks to you.
Step 3: create custom lists featuring conversation around your industry and engage in real-time
As you know, Twitter is an excellent resource for real-time conversation.
Go to Twitter, type in a keyword that is relevant to your brand, and bookmark that search URL.
Now, you can see the top and latest tweets around that keyword. Schedule five minutes daily to go in and respond directly to these tweets with something clever and branded. DONE.
Step 4: run ads around a real-time moment to maximize impressions and engagement
The reason why Popeye’s and Huel performed so well is because they didn’t create an organic piece of content in hopes that it would go viral.
Instead, they invested in ad space to guarantee they’d get in front of the right people and hopefully go viral. And they did.
The next time a trend feels irresistible to your target audience, consider developing clever, catchy creative and then putting $20 dollars behind the ad. You’ll get a lot more mileage (and eyeballs.)
Step 5: engage with positive, ditch the negative
In this instance, misery doesn’t love company. And not all news is brandworthy.
People want to share something that makes them feel happy or makes them laugh.
FYI, trying to “real time” engage with the news around Ghislane Maxwell’s deposition probably isn’t the best choice for 99% of brands.
final note: you are now entering a new age of marketing...
Valentine's Day isn't a bad holiday. Neither is April Fool's (brands love this one.)
It's just time to test real-time marketing for yourself.
It's time to reinvent your brand and test doing something that's more unexpected, louder, and punchier. You'll reap more benefits than sticking to your standard, regularly scheduled holiday content.
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