March was a big month for real-time marketing and for me professionally. Brands went nuts about a black and blue or white and gold dress. TopGear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was sacked. Zayn left One Direction. And I launched a new consultancy TBC and have committed to blogging more regularly about brands attempting to be more relevant with their content.
To kick things off, I’ve partnered with my incredibly smart friend Jessica Hagy to provide you with original infographics related to trending topics that brands are currently newsjacking:
Jessica captures this tragic moment perfectly for me. I wish brands were as clever. Fortunately, supermarket Lidl UK captured Zayn quitting the band in a way that made me smile with this tweet:
This response from Lidl was quick and clever. It was related to what they do. It featured a relevant product. It got global media coverage and 20K retweets. There were a few other brands that scored well on my BALLSY rating. By BALLSY, I mean Brave, Actionable, Long-term, Likeable, Surprising and You-centric:
As I do more BALLSY workshops with brands and collaborate with awesome folk like Jessica Hagy (check out her new Art of War Visualized book here), I am hopeful that more brands will create real-time content strategies and write them down and post them all over their newsroom/war-room/board room with screens/command centres. There are more brands out there who are willing to take risks and fail faster.
After we get my favourite newsjacking moment out of the way (April Fool’s Day is TODAY), let’s go back to trying to help people. Let’s create useful AND entertaining real-time content.
If you see anything BALLSY — either reactive or planned – please tweet it to me at @jonburkhart. (This is a cut-down from a longer post from my Medium blog. Follow all my posts (newsjacking and otherwise) here.
I’ve been studying this trend of real-time marketing for almost five years. I’ve seen insurance companies and pet foods attempt to opportunistic hijacking tactics for the #RoyalBaby. I’ve seen chewing gum brands asking Luis Suarez to not ‘chew soccer players” after he bit (not chewed) an Italian.
Last night’s humiliation of Brazil made me feel a bit sick. So sick that I think it may be better for me to throw in the towel and join the dark side. So here you go — 3 Tips On How To Be A Brand Troll
Commit to your first thoughts.
Twist marketing catch-phrases to back you up. “Always be shipping” comes to mind. Done is better than good or even coherent.
Don’t spend any time getting to know your audience.
When it comes to doing things in real-time, you really must think of yourself first. Crafting messages that connect emotionally with fans will only take more time. At all costs, do not do something that your fans would expect from you. Be sure that you newsjack any event that is getting a lot of traction. This is not about being relevant to your audience. It’s about being quick. First one out the gate wins. Always.
Only think in tweets.
Don’t even think about doing something interactive and fun like the Suarez bottle opener and game. Or a simple 10 second film (screengrab above) where a cocktail glass is obliterated by a massive German pint.
Shoe-horn your product into the post.
If you’ve got some stock shots lying around, then use them. If you can photoshop your product into them in any way, shape or form, do it. It will help with brand recall and shift a load of goods. That’s what it’s about anyway. Social selling. Get that product in — hopefully in an unnatural way — and make sure you’re agency punslingers are at the ready. Also try to invent silly words like punslingers and then overexplain them (cross between gunslinger + pun) to further insult your audience.
Forget that you’re human.
This is the most important factor of all. It’s all about not forgetting your human not just a marketing machine. It’s about making stuff that creates an emotional connection with your audience. I Or maybe we should just give up.
There’s a new book coming out in August and I’ve written a chapter in it about this topic, but don’t bother reading it. I also do workshops on the matter but you really should ignore this second attempt at blatant self-promotion because it’s easier to just keep trolling. If you learn anything from me, you’ll only have to go sell it in to your CEO and then that may require some organisational changes. Now, this is getting a bit complicated. I thought you just wanted an easy life, right. Fine, may the quickest troll win.
Thanks to Digiday & Adnews for doing round-ups (including examples abov) in the middle of the night while I went to bed crying thinking that my real-time mission and career was a total failure before I woke up with an evil plan.
(This post originally posted yesterday on my new favourite platform Medium. It’s here.)
A Chinese male model had comped himself onto major Western fashion magazine covers to make out that he was bigger than he actually was. In November 2013 it became a trending topic on social media in China and Garnier and their agency Fred & Farid jumped on the trending wave. They signed up the model and got him to upload an image of himself with a tube of ‘PS’ Garnier cream with the caption “. On social media I use Photoshop. But in real life I use PS cream. ” The context to this is that in China girls are known to Photoshop their images before uploading them to their social networks. Garnier’s response caught fire immediately and saw 66,000 re-posts most of which happened within 3 hours of the post going up.