Marketing in the moment: the value of aligning with a cause
The field once known as ‘reactive marketing’ is evolving. While it’s still valuable to respond to issues in the zeitgeist, brands are becoming more proactive in what some are calling ‘moment marketing.’ Kineta Kelsall, a senior director at Jellyfish, explores the most effective ways of embracing this new evolution.
Jellyfish on how brands can be more proactive with reactive marketing
There was a time, not long ago, when social media drawing attention and promoting consumer engagement with products was enough to drive sales.
Weetabix, for example, increased brand awareness by 40% over the previous year and improved sales 15% over Valentine’s Day weekend with its award-winning ‘Beanz on Bix: Any-Which-Way-A-Bix’ campaign. The promotion created fun and eager consumer engagement with the product by encouraging the invention of new recipes for its breakfast biscuit. The more outlandish the recipe, like Heinz beans over breakfast biscuits, the better.
It was consumer discussion – and approval – that took Peter Thomas Roth skincare by surprise and upended sales with a one-day nationwide sell-out, both online and in bricks-and-mortar, of its Instant Firm Eye. The temporary undereye tightener had already been on the market for 11 years and was widely available when TikTok user Trinidad1967 posted a video to demonstrate to her friends how well it worked.
But social marketing is evolving. It appears to be evolving, in fact, to something more meaningful, something with broad social implications.
This next step in marketing appears to be a corporate alignment with important information or a good cause. The term is ‘moment marketing’ and its origins lie in reactive marketing; online marketing that responds in real-time to a prominent social issue.
One famous example of reactive marketing began by accident when Yorkshire Tea found itself suddenly drawn into the Black Lives Matter protest. A hard-right vlogger, Laura Towler, thanked the company on Twitter for what she believed was the lack of its support for the movement. In response, the company tweeted: “Please don’t buy our tea again. We’re taking some time to educate ourselves and plan proper action before we post. We stand against racism.”
Other firms have jumped in with a more proactive approach to aligning with a cause. Bodyform created a public information campaign about endometriosis, a condition suffered by one in 10 women, which is seldom publicly discussed. This public awareness campaign, Pain, showcases visual art that expresses the pain of endometriosis from an international collection of artists. There are written testimonies of its torments too. Both can be viewed in the Pain Museum, Bodyform’s online museum dedicated to the illness.
Creating alignment with values
Successful campaigns launch from carefully-chosen causes. Brands should stand behind a cause that aligns with their values and goods. Bodyform’s public information service on endometriosis is a case in point.
Religion and politics are pretty much verboten because of the tremendous potential to alienate as many consumers as you draw. There are exceptions, though. Paddy Power discusses politics because of the popularity of betting on politics and current affairs.
Moment marketing works best with a team in place, ready to react 24/7, since social issues can emerge into the public sphere all the time. Have your platform ready. Know your stance on it. Put someone in charge of building content. There should be someone on hand too to spot the issue when it’s once again at the public fore. Because of the sudden nature of the emergence, someone should be in charge of responding and signing off in real-time. You might even consider hiring a comedian, one who can lob points with humor and tweet as the situation unfolds.
So plan ahead, get a policy aligned with the company ideals and its product, be consistent, have a plan to bring it into the public eye and keep staff on hand to respond when it comes up in the public arena.
If you plan carefully, you may be rewarded not only with attention and sales due to a good product, but with the loyalty that arises from alignment with a cause.
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