If you are a marketer, I am certain that you have asked or have been asked this question—What’s trending? And if I were to explain the reason behind this oft-asked question the millennial way, I’d say ‘to be a woke brand’. The modern-day consumer is all about staying up-to-date with everything that's happening around them—be it through news, memes, social media content, or brand communications.
Today, brands are keeping themselves abreast with important events and occasions from across the world on a real-time basis, giving a quirky spin to them by integrating it into its brand messaging—commonly referred to as 'Moment Marketing'.
In the past few years, it has become a part of every consumer’s content consumption pattern. Whether you are scrolling through Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, every other day you will find a post from a brand on trending subjects.
But is it worth the hype?
It is undoubtedly a great way to interact and engage with your audience at a marginal cost. It also helps build relevancy and stronger recall for the brand. But only if it’s executed correctly. Because there is a flipside to the moment marketing coin. Several brands believe that if they don’t participate in trending conversations, they will lose relevancy among consumers. With that in mind, brands often try to forcefully arry their proposition or offerings with trends or events. What they don’t realise is that consumers today are extremely conscious and aware of the reality and can see through it. To that effect, you will actually lose out on the relevancy and irk your consumer. Without the right checks in place, you may just create a little debacle for yourself. Hence, before jumping onto the bandwagon, no matter how tempting, consider the following:
To market or not to market?
Marketers must assess holistically if a particular trend effortlessly syncs with their brand’s ethos and offerings. Then ensure that the messaging tailored for the occasion or trend does not carry any risk of diluting the core brand values. Additionally, take cognizance of the consumers’ values and sentiments before pushing out the content. Yes, appreciating and acknowledging a relevant moment is important, but incorporating it as a marketing strategy is not always necessary.
If you put your consumer first, it’s a win in the long run compared to having a fleeting grip over a topical moment. According to Deloitte’s 'The keys to marketing in the moment' report, "89% of marketers compete primarily on the basis of customer experience". That would most certainly result in gaining customer loyalty and creating a community of your own with potentially long-term binding relationships.
Sensitivity is key
We’re always excited to showcase our wit and creativity. But ensure that the event or brand’s authenticity is not lost in making the copy humorous or witty. Be respectful and mindful of the interest and reputation of the scenario at large. It barely takes seconds or minutes for an event or activity to trend on social media these days. In our need for speed, we immediately join the banter. But take a moment to assess the situation thoroughly. An incident or event that might feel ideal to market at that moment, might change course completely in the next moment. That’s because some of these events are in the development stage and new aspects or layers reveal themselves over a period of time. Therefore be sensitive to the situation, the messaging and the audience.
The dilemma of ethics
Once ‘the moment’ is evaluated through a brand’s lens, marketers must always ensure that brand insertion is implemented the right way. The life-cycle of some trends might literally be equivalent to the attention span of a goldfish. But that does not mean marketers do it the unethical way. For instance, if a personality or music is trending on social media and your brand wants to leverage it for moment marketing, make sure you have the permissions or rights in place. An act like this might affect the brand negatively at a much faster pace than all their great efforts of the past.
A brand should always know that it’s vital to be aware, value an event, and leave it at that sometimes. Choosing the right moments to market is when a brand correctly markets a moment.
The author is CMO and Business Head at Pepperfry.
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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