Imagine, you’ve had your content planned to precision for the week, researching exactly what your consumers want to see and read… Only to come into work on Wednesday 9th of October to find Twitter has erupted and all anyone is talking about is Coleen Rooney, Rebekah Vardy and #WAGAthaChristie!
The Coleen vs Rebekah debate even gained 197% more mentions than Brexit. So, your social plan for that day is out the window in order to react to this headline and keep up with other brands, such as Innocent and Netflix, who are already tweeting about it!
Social media is a phenomenon, with the growth of the internet and digital technologies allowing us to receive and share information quicker than you can say... “Coffee?”
In recent years we have seen some of the biggest brands adjust their social media and content marketing strategies to be more flexible, allowing them to respond quickly to viral news. This is called Reactive Marketing - a real-time response strategy to whatever has blown up online.
The beginning of Reactive Marketing
Oreo was the first brand to dip their toes in reactive marketing on social media during the 2013 Superbowl with ‘Dunk in the Dark’, tweeted just ten minutes after the power went down inside the stadium. The tweet accounted for higher returns than their multi-million dollar television advert, which was to be shown during the game. They managed to capitalise on the infamous power outage, gaining thousands of retweets within minutes and so, starting the beginning of one of the most successful marketing strategies of all time.
Does anyone remember the dress incident in 2015? Was it gold and white? Or was it blue and black? Regardless, it was one of the most talked about moments in Twitter history and divided the world. Brands such as Tide, Pizza Hut and Lego all used the opportunity to leverage global exposure.
Reactive Marketing done right
There are so many benefits for brands who embrace reactive marketing. When brands are engaged with news stories, especially when they go viral, they are able to respond to consumer trends much quicker, take advantage of new opportunities and, most importantly, stay relevant. Here are some great examples of brands who have smashed reactive marketing.
The most memorable moment of Glastonbury 2019,and probably the whole of summer, was #AlexFromGlasto. When rapper Dave invited unassuming teenager Alex Mann on stage, nobody was expecting him to rap every single word of the song ‘Thiago Silva’. The footage went viral and not long after, BoohooMAN snapped him up in a sponsorship deal.
The rapid initiative taken by Burger King’s marketing experts was praised and seen as a great gesture to make in light of an important cause.
Lidl are famous for their reactive strategies, so when Lidl dared to respond to the much anticipated 2018 John Lewis Christmas advert, conversation online soared. It was a win-win as everyone had both Lidl and John Lewis on their minds. A bit of friendly banter between you and your competitor never hurts!
Love Island gave every high street fashion brand something to talk about, when one of the most controversial characters on the show had an eye for more than just one woman and riled up viewers all over the UK.
Reactive Marketing gone wrong
While reactive marketing can be extremely beneficial for your brand, it can also hinder the results of your overall campaign strategy. Take, for example, Mastercard’s campaign around the Champions League, which left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths in 2018. Their controversial ‘Goals for Meals’ saw Mastercard pledge to donate 10,000 meals to children every time Messi or Neymar Jr score until 2020 in aid of the World Food Programme. The campaign was promoted on Mastercard’s Twitter account in the Latin America and Caribbean regions but faced backlash for poor taste.
Here are some tips on what NOT to do in your Reactive Marketing strategy.
- Don’t be inflammatory. It is very important when creating content that reacts to viral news that you don’t pick a side; stay neutral and light-hearted. You can face backlash if your cheeky humour is taken the wrong way or if you react to the wrong type of content.
- Be quick to beat your competition. The first brand who can respond to viral news, tends to receive a higher success rate than those who take their time to comment. Don’t post without thought but, equally, don’t overthink it.
- Be organised. Reactive marketing requires quick turnaround of content, so ensure your marketing strategy and budget allows for this flexibility.
- Continue to plan proactive content so that once the hype dies down, you still have a bank of content ready to push live when it’s needed.
Urban Outfitters faced backlash when they tried to capitalise on Storm Sandy, which destroyed thousands of homes. This is an example of a brand who chose to react to the wrong content.
The Coleen vs Rebekah Twitter drama has absolutely given people something to talk about, but for marketing departments across all companies it has evidenced that consumers love to engage with news. If we can meet consumers needs on a quick, reactive basis without being controversial or inflammatory, then engagement with your brand could be huge. After Digital provide training on all digital marketing subjects, including social media. So, if you want a little more information on how to harness your social media channels for success, please feel free to contact us.