Hopefully, you don’t think that I normally talk as a pirate, but since it’s International Pirate Day (September 19), I thought it fitting, considering the nature of this post.
Companies have tried to piggy-back on the popularity of such things like world events, breaking news and other trending topics on the social space to have the reach of the message amplified. This is often referred as real-time marketing. This idea can generate amazing results, but it can also result in terrible backlash.
Do you recall the riots in Egypt a few years ago? I’m sure Kenneth Cole, won’t forget. He decided to piggyback on the trending nature of this event to have his message reach amplified.
This tweet, while may have achieved an amplified reach, also generated outcry and and people vowing never to buy his products again.
Bringing it closer to home, President’s Choice. the Canadian grocery giant tried to promote Halloween treats while piggybacking on the Hurricane Sandy trend. Again, within minutes, the social community was outraged. An apology was tweeted within an hour, but the damage was already done.
Nintendo piggybacked on the Oscars trend and dissed Pixar’s Brave win with a little Twitter fun.
When thinking about real-time marketing, it’s critical to understand the risks and be true to your companies voice. That being said, some things should be avoided. It’s probably a safe bet to never use a human or environmental tragedy for gain. If you feel the need to say something, offer condolences and leave it at that. Don’t mention products or services, unless they are to help those affected.
TELUS has demonstrated a commitment to improve the communities they service. This year in Alberta, we have one of worst, if not the worst, floods. Billions of dollars in damage, tens of thousands of people displaced – truly devastating. So instead of demonstrated a lack of judgement as the examples above did, they piggybacked on a devastation trending topics, not for the sake of financial gain, but to show support and help.
So, before you embark on the world of real-time marketing, consider the following:
think about how your message will be be percieved
never piggyback on a devastation
try to help more, rather than closing the sale
Have you experimented with real-time marketing? What were your experiences?