Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Brands Who Failed At Real-Time Marketing

Here's a true story. Last week I read that a 14 year old boy had made £14,000 by selling crisps, snacks and energy drinks to fellow students at school. As part of his black market stock, he was also selling Lucozade, the brand that I work for. Obviously at this point the feelers were out. I heard murmurings in the office... 'should we do something?', 'keep an eye on it'.

don't hate tha player, hate the game

Then as of yesterday this boy decides to sell a signed (by himself) bottle of Lucozade Energy on eBay. It's all over the news. Oh, and now the bidding has gone up to £2.5million. Suddenly, I'm having people come up to me left, right and centre. 'Are you jumping on this?', 'So what are you going to do on social?', 'There's budget if we need to create a really cool response.'


One of the main reasons we are not getting involved with this story is because we are a company that only markets to over 16's. So when a boy of 14 is selling to other under 14's/children - we're not going to encourage or make light of it.

When it comes to big brands, with huge power comes huge responsibility and, even though it might mean sometimes we're 'boring' or 'need to lighten up', we have to remember that social media can make or break your reputation in an instant. 

But at least this story was about our brand....

I believe there is a time and a place for brands to jump into conversations and use it to advertise on Twitter. Below is a good and bad example of brands chiming in on online convos that have NOTHING to do with them.



Social Media is the hub of real-time marketing. Ever since Oreo's 'Dunk In The Dark' Superbowl tweet, it's now a never-ending rat race of brands trying to be the first to tweet, the first to do something cool, for fans to be like 'You Sir, you've just won the internet.'

But often brands choose events that are not relevant to their product and are so far removed that they just end up looking forced and cringe.

Person 2: "OMG What can we do?"
Person 2: "Amazing connection! Let's use our time and budget to create something really forced!"

Someone's had a baby, buy toilet paper!

Prostate Cancer, buy chocolate!

iPhone's malfunction, buy Pringles!

Transfer Deadline Day, buy anti-spam software!

The Oscars, buy life insurance!

Real-Time Marketing Checklist:

  • Is this conversation topic actually relevant to your brand?
  • Understand what’s important to your audience - will they care about this?
  • Make sure the content is being planned around your brand and your tone of voice
  • Plan posts in advance, like events or holidays you know your target audience engage with
  • Experiment!

Things to avoid:
  • Don’t just jump on any trend or hashtag that comes along – do research. Do you have a right to get involved? It might be a sensitive topic.
  • Have something interesting to say to add to the conversation - You can’t just include a trending hashtag and expect your engagement to go up

What Real-Time Marketing can do for your brand:
  • It can get your audience interested in your content.
  • It can get your audience to look forward to you being in their social channel.
  • It will increase your audience with people who understand your brand and are hopefully more receptive for when you share your own branded content.

Good luck and don't forget, the eyes of billions are upon you.