Tag Archives: real-time marketing

Yes, David Bowie is Dead But Your Brand Should Not Care

David Bowie was a great musician, whose music will live on for a long time. Because he was such an iconic figure, there has been unleash of public tributes I don´t remember encountering since Lemmy died. All of those public tributes I can understand. The death came as a surprise and people want to showcase their empathy in social media.

However what made me sick this:


Real-time advertising can be valuable tool, but you should remember the following rules:

1) Just because everyone is talking about it, that does not mean they want you to join the conversation. If you don´t have anything valuable to add to the mix, stay away.
2) If your product is not relevant to what is happening do not jump on the bandwagon (Jack Daniels works with Lemmy, ugly rubber boots not necessarily that well with Bowie)
3) If you have to jump on bandwagon (when in doubt: don´t jump) at least be respectable

Milk and Lemmy don´t necessarily mix that well, but apparently you can do that with a good taste and respect.
4) Generally it is easier to create real-time content on happier topics than death.
5) If what you are doing feels that it makes you a jerk, that is a strong indication that you should not be doing it.

And don´t even start with “every publicity is good publicity”-bullshit, although Crocs Facebook page has not probably gotten this much traction in a long time.

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Going Nuts About Macadamia Nuts

Sometimes people are just nuts.

If you live in this part of the world, you have not been able to miss the nutty episode in Korean Air flight. Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of chairman of Korean Airlines Cho Yang-Ho, had nut rage, as her macadamia nuts were not served according to Korean air protocol: the bag of nuts was unopened (which is naturally totally intolerable behavior in first-class flight). Cho Hyun-ah forced the head steward to kneel and apologize as punishment and was kicked off the aircraft when it returned to the gate. The whole event delayed Korean Air flight from NY to Seoul for 20 minutes. The nut rage might just be a tip of iceberg for bigger corporate culture problem for the troubled Korean Air.

The most intriguing fact about the whole incident is that the sales of macadamia nuts have soared in Korea. Sales of nuts in online marketplaces are up 149% from the week before the incident. This reminds us of the old adage:

Any publicity might be good publicity.

Top-of-mind is the first thing you have to solve for any marketer, brand or product category. The biggest challenge is that your audience does not really know, think or care about you. Before the incident no one really thought about macadamia nuts. When you keep talking about them day after day, suddenly you start craving for them. It also adds more value to the nuts. When you serve them in meetings, you have a good icebreaker and nuts become a conversation topic. Currently macadamia nuts are the superstars of all the nuts, because they have social currency. They are not just nutrition; they are part of the popular culture.

After horsemeat scandal, the demand for the actual horsemeat soared. Again the same reason behind this: before the scandal people had not even thought about eating horsemeat (which is actually way more ethical meat than the traditional beef). Negative event actually sparked positive effects for other category. Brands miss these opportunities all the time, because they are too scared to tap into more controversial topics even though the potential gain would be huge. Real people do not live in sugarcoated advertising dreamland, but in real world with whole range of emotions (both positive and negative, and everything in between).

Brands should seize the real-time opportunities.

Brands understand the real-time marketing in a wrong way. Too often they try to ride existing fad and force their brand brand into it. In reality it works the opposite way. You inject that real-time event to your brand and add value in that way. Therefore macadamia nuts have currently much more social currency than, say, walnuts, although latter ones are arguably healthier. Walnuts did not spark crazy behavior, macadamia nuts did.

For every brand and product, it essentially boils down to the compelling story. Currently macadamia nuts are just damn interesting story. Nut manufacturers and retailers should try to seize this opportunity while it lasts.

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Marketing at the Speed of Culture

If you are reading this, you are most likely one of the 16M+ people who have seen this:

The video was uploaded on Monday and started spreading rapidly yesterday. During that same day, the first brand version of the first kiss was produced by Snog Frozen yoghurt:

Not judging the quality of the film, but only applauding the speed of the execution.

The big challenge with many brands right now is that they want to tap into different trends, memes and other popular events. That is nice, but the traditional briefing process does not enable it. If you want to be real-time, reactive and in-tune with the culture, you have to market at the speed of the popular culture. Other option is just to stay true what your brand is all about and be consistent in your communications. You either change constantly or keep it real to your brand core consistently.

Many brands try to dabble little bit with both and fail miserably. That is why every brand is now doing something around selfies. Unfortunately when something is mainstream, you cannot be trendsetter by reacting to that.

Reactive advertising needs different kind of thinking and especially acting:

1)   Different kind of process
Instead of the traditional brief-debrief-creative brief- presentation 1,2, 3, n-production brief the process is streamlined. It consists of one question and one sentence:
Are we doing it?
If yes: Let´s do it.
And then everyone has to be producer.

2)   Different kind of urgency
When your colleagues share it, it is already too late. You have to act immediately when you are feeling something is getting big.

3)   Different kind of production
Do it quick, dirty and preferably yourself.

4)   Different kind of tolerance for risk
You have to accept the fact that when you are acting fast you might fail. Reactive advertising is risky, but so is everything where you can win big. Brand building should not be for the faint-hearted, but unfortunately marketing departments and agencies are filled with wussies afraid of losing their jobs.

If you do not act like this, you will be doing Harlem shake versions in 2015.

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Social Media Trends 2014: The Truth According to Me

Good folks at Kurio Digital Marketing Think Thank asked me (again) and 21 other Finnish digital dudes & dudettes some views of social media trends in 2014.

In many ways the social media scene has matured and the shifts are not as radical as they were few years back. Many of my answers from last year would not be out of place this year (last year trends can be read here). As majority of the readers of my blog cannot read Finnish, I have translated my predictions below. If you can understand Finnish, the report is highly recommended read.

Before going to my answers, it is important to make the distinction between a fad, a trend and a commodity. Every new thing starts out as a fad (i.e. Snapchat is in that phase). Majority just stay as fads (Chatroulette), but certain things evolve to trends (i.e. brands building their Facebook pages few years back). Only very few make their route to become commodities (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube at the moment). Trends do not pay the bills, so usually only when something is commoditized it starts to make safe business sense. In that way you should approach your social media marketing efforts like investor:

70% of investments to commodities (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
25% to trends (Taking selfies)
5% to fads (Snapchat, Vine)

This is naturally subject to your risk tolerance and your business majority. If you are start-up with nothing to lose, it might sense to flip it other around. And do not get me wrong, my view is that brands should try to ride the trends and fads more proactively. It is just important to realize their business role (such as learning, gaining the opinion leadership, creating the future competitive advantage). Riding on the fads seldom is the way to reach masses.

So with that caveat my social media trends (with couple of commodities and fads thrown in as well):

 1.Biggest Social Media Trends in 2014: Monetization & Mobile-First
There is two big paradigm shifts which are not really trends, but changes which have already happened but keep
a) Money (Show it)
Twitter did the IPO this year, which will affect the user experience. I doubt that the success will not be as good as with Facebook. Mass social media channels are increasingly more bought media than earned media. Therefore community manager or social media director without also access to bought media budget is a position without any real power. In many ways the advancements in bought media (i.e. programmatic buying) have also been way more interesting in recent years than say in, content marketing.
b) Mobile (First)
The switch to mobile is not a trend, it is a change which has already happened.  Consumers  switch wildly between different channels, platforms, devices and even use them at the same time! This puts extra pressure to understanding the consumer journeys. You cannot really understand those journeys without constant testing, measuring and optimizing. Secret to crack the mobile-first challenge is to think holistically consumer-first.

 2. Social Media platform to look out for in 2014: Anything related to visual storytelling
I have talked about selfies before in this blog and they will not go anywhere next year (hopefully twerking will not disappear either). All the applications, which help you to modify and enhance will be hot items next year. China will show the way in this trend. Also, we have to also remember that selfie is a communication vehicle as itself. Combining IM and visual storytelling will be a big thing. Instagram has actually addressed this already with its Direct offering.

3. Biggest challenges in doing social media marketing in 2014: Processes block the real-time success 
Old processes stand in the way of the really great real-time executions. Year 2013 was disappointment in terms of real-time marketing. There were couple of nice stunts, but we should be able to do better than just dunk in the dark (Oreo is still pretty much the only proper case study example). The briefing process that is suitable for traditional big brand campaign just does not fit faster requirements of real-time marketing. My personal New Year promise is to concentrate even more in creating and executing more streamlined, collaborative and more agile way to make real-time success stories next year.

4. Social Media Buzzword, which hopefully disappears in 2014: The whole talk of the social media
If you are still in 2014 talking about social media as a separate unit, you are more old-school than the person still using FourSquare. Consumers switch smoothly between devices and platforms and between virtual and real-life like it ain´t no big thing. What is actually the difference between digital and real-life nowadays? How can your firm address the needs and the behaviors of these consumers in every relevant touchpoints? To separate social media from other digital activities or other activities is just laziness and shutting your eyes of the reality. Digital scene is more fragmented than every before. Therefore it is more crucial than ever to create a big picture of those fragments. We do not need any more social media specialists (or digital specialists for that matter). We need 100% digital people who live and breath like their consumers and have the understanding and empathy to connect with them (and also means to be in the right touchpoints).

 5. Biggest social media hope for the next year?
I do not hope, I just do. And measure, optimize and do it again.

Predicting the future is too much work, I rather create history.

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