In the past 72 hours alone we’ve seen some of the best real-time marketing posts from brands across Asia, providing their own take on the latest news and topics. From the hot gossip of Korea’s power couple splitting up that reduced fans around the world to sobbing messes, to the very recent global outage of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram that seemingly left the world’s millenial population in a state of confusion and panic, brands have imparted their unique take on these IRL stories to ride on the buzz with their fans/followers.
So in the spirit of striking the iron while it’s hot, it seems like the perfect time to answer the question – What is all the buzz about real-time marketing and what’s the secret sauce to get it right?
Why do brands need to start thinking about doing real-time marketing?
More than ever brands are finding it harder to remain relevant on social media with the pool of content being created daily that makes it seems impossible to be part of the conversation, much less being talked about!
Enter real-time marketing: connecting with consumers suddenly becomes possible again. Much like parents that are struggling to relate to their teenage kids, brands need to stay fresh in order to stay relevant and be heard. Force your message on them and they’ll turn away from it, but eject your message into topics they’re interested to hear about and they’ll want to listen to you. And perhaps with some luck they might even start sharing it and turn it viral.
So how do we start? Here are some 4 tips on how your brand can start creating real-time marketing content.
1. Tap into popular culture
It’s a no brainer - the internet loves pop culture! And that means there’s plenty of opportunity for brands to tap on anything from celebrity news, Hollywood blockbuster movies and popular TV shows, and of course the formidable force of Korean wave.
2. Respond to local news and topics
If you are a local brand or have a local brand page, here is the perfect chance to build brand affinity with the locals. Conversations about local events/topics are naturally bigger, and that presents a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your brands’ commitment to the local consumers. Of course it should be done with sensitivity and respectfully!
Two great examples comes from two of Singapore’s best brand pages known for their wit and boldness:
When the beloved S-Jie took Singaporeans by storm with her sensational FB live video shopping, IKEA did not miss the chance to remind consumers of their own S-hook product.
3. Celebrate popular events and festivals
Contrary to popular belief, it is not always true that real-time marketing is a frantic process of clients and their agencies working in a flurry to get their social posts up in a time attack challenge. While those are great, there are times where you can predict and plan in advance in your content calendar for responses to upcoming events and festivals that are going to be talked about by your consumers.
4. Friendly jab at your competitors
Warning: This is much like treading on thin ice so do approach carefully should you feel brave enough to and please make sure that you are not violating any advertising guidelines and regulations in your markets!
Once in a while it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun by taking a friendly jab at your competitor but like everything else, this should be done tastefully or it might just draw the opposite effect of negative responses from consumers. Here we have two examples when real-time marketing takes on a big scale where extensive planning and coordination was involved to execute it at the most relevant place and time for the audience.
The first example comes from BMW where they had a little fun bidding goodbye to the CEO of Mercedes-Benz CEO on his retirement day. While it was cheeky, it was highly praised for it’s respectful treatment. The second example is perhaps one of the most epic one done this year – in both scale and messaging. Huawei had a little fun taking a swipe at Samsung’s flagship mobile phone series, Galaxy by buying post-credit cinema spots at Avengers: Endgame showings that surprised and amused movie-goers with their cleverly contextualised message: “This (P30) is the galaxy’s endgame.”
Real-time marketing needs to be done right to benefit your brand in the long term
While it is tempting to tap on every hype and buzz, it is important to remember that it should only be done when it can drive meaningful connection for your brand and audience, and it is certainly not the only thing a brand can do.
An effective content strategy should drive credibility, differentiation and relevance for brands among its consumers, and real-time marketing is just one of the tactics to achieve that. It is important that your overall content framework is a holistic and robust one where other content pillars and tactics are deployed to complement your real-time content marketing efforts to achieve the impact your brand needs.