Friday, February 15

Prep for Speed

There's been a rapidly increasing trend in social media marketing that seems to have hit warp speed just this past couple of weeks.

We call it "news drafting" where a brand takes an event in pop culture or in the news and leverages it into a timely marketing engagement, or series of engagements, with its consumers.

Back in the Fall, we witnessed this activity when Taco Bell gave out free tacos whenever there was a stolen base in the World Series.  Staples quickly responded with a binder promotion the morning after one of the Presidential Debates when Romney made the infamous "binder" reference.

We also just witnessed it this past Super Bowl when Oreo, Tide, Calvin Klein, and Coca-Cola responded to the blackout scandal with tweets and posts that kept the viewing audience's attention.

News drafting ... brands taking advantage of what is happening in the moment to get into people's lives.

Now this is no small feat, and if you've ever run a brand then you know what I mean.  It's not easy to think on your feet, and it's even harder to get approval.  A brand has to be engineered and programmed to act with speed ... it has to prep for speed if you will.

You can certainly tell when a brand isn't ... enter Poland Spring who lost a tremendous opportunity for news drafting during the State of the Union address rebuttal.  Not only did the brand not jump on its five seconds of fame, it also got flagged by the social world for not really having an ongoing social media presence.  The crowd can be quite critical if it notices that you're not playing!

The point here is that news drafting has become a "thing" and an opportunity to engage with consumers in the moment, in their lives, in sync with what's relevant to them.

Who wouldn't want to do that?  The key is to structure for it:  have staffing in place, creative ideas on deck, and an approval process that preps for speed.  Assign team members who are responsible for acting in the moment, who have the authority to act in the brand's voice.  Put up "bumper guards" of appropriate behavior, but give an assigned team permission to act like the brand. 

If you do it right, you will be instantly immersed in pop culture.  Look how cool Oreo is suddenly, again.

Try it ... and tell us ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

PS:  Coming up for the Oscars -- live tweets about the marketing all during the red carpet and then the show at #OscarExp.

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