In this cycle of articles we have dealt with the definition of Brand Awareness and Real Time Marketing: starting with the evolution of the definition of Brand Awareness and how Content Marketing helps to strengthen brand awareness. Up to what Real Time Marketing is. In this regard, we will deal with this issue in this article, listing the best examples of Real Time Marketing.
It is February 3, 2013. Inside Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are competing in the Super Bowl. For the past few minutes a power outage has dimmed half the lights in the giant facility, forcing the biggest football game of the season to stop. And it’s not just the interruption of one of the most watched sporting events in the world. With hundreds of millions of people glued to the screen, the Super Bowl is an absolute must-see for marketers: airtime for a 30-second commercial cost $4 million that year.
At 8:48 p.m. (3:48 a.m. in Italy), in a still-suspenseful atmosphere, Oreo posted a tweet that is destined to remain in history: “Power out? You can still dunk in the dark”.
The famous cookie brand owned by the Mondelez International group got 15,500 retweets in just 14 hours, and the same image of the tweet, posted on Facebook, received 20,000 likes.
Although that evening nearly 10 years ago was not the first time a brand used a real-time approach, to this day, Oreo’s tweet remains one of the most powerful examples of real time marketing ever. And almost certainly the most cited.
The “Washington Post” wrote that ads like Oreo’s tweet presupposed a real “leap”, a departure in both the form and process of contemporary communication.
- The lightning-fast process had been able to take place so smoothly because the “social-media command center“ set up in New York included both 360i, the digital communications agency responsible for managing the social channels with its team of creatives, marketers, and account managers, and the marketing executives of Mondelez International.
- The typical format of social networks, which provided an exceptional speed to response times through the elimination of intermediaries, i.e., broadcasters (the traditional media that transmit messages according to the typical one-to-many structure). By choosing to publish on a social platform, Oreo had not needed to purchase airtime for a TV broadcast or the physical space for print. Instead, it was able to travel, so to speak, at the speed of the news.
In Oreo’s tweet, many recognized a brilliant use of the medium, a textbook example of how Twitter could be used in real time to personalize a message about a particular product.
That was just the beginning, as Bob Dorfman, a celebrated sports marketing consultant, commented, already foreshadowing what would gradually be perfected over the course of a few years: real time marketing as we know it today, an approach that has now become essential for capturing the moment during live events.
Optimize time and schedule with Real Time content marketing
Sometimes creating effective content requires time and scheduling. Other times, as in the case of events that are neither scheduled nor programmable, a fast reaction – almost immediate – is needed for companies to leave a trace (positive at best, indelible at any rate) of their digital presence.
We alluded to the ability to respond with timeliness in the face of the unpredictable and unforeseen earlier, in a definition of Real Time marketing. In that post, we were referring, in particular, to the ability to enhance the information structure of a phenomenon or trend as it happens. And we wrote that in order to interpret reality as it unfolds—laying a stable foundation on which to carry out successful Real Time marketing actions—the first step is the adoption of tools that enable continuous and proactive listening to online and offline conversations.
Indeed, only from correct, complete, and profiled information will it be possible to build real, broad, and articulate knowledge to be used for creating content that aims to be instantaneous. To be truly relevant, Real Time marketing should then be based on Real Time analytics: the results of particular analytical processes that process, moment by moment, incoming data from many different sources.
Unplanned events and plannable events
Although a Real Time marketing strategy inevitably focuses on current trends and immediate customer feedback, it can still be set up in a way that optimizes time and resources. The step that needs to be addressed is first to distinguish between two categories of events: unscheduled and unschedulable events and schedulable events.
- Events that are neither planned nor programmable (an exceptional event, a news story, a politician’s speech, the actions of a public figure, an event of social or cultural importance) can be a storytelling opportunity for the company. It is essential not to be overwhelmed by a sense of urgency and to strive to design each and every action so that it is always consistent with the brand narrative in at least one substantive aspect. This also includes content that must be created in a very short time frame to resolve a crisis or mitigate its impact and prevent the brand from further image damage.
- Plannable events: industry events, holidays, public celebrations, and the various “world holidays” that occur throughout the year. In all these cases, the emphasis must be on effective and realistic planning. Through careful planning (which avoids inflation, overcrowding, but also distraction from the missed opportunity) content intended to populate the editorial plan can be used to enrich brand identity and create awareness. In particular, content should be relevant with respect to: to the event, to the consumer and to the brand.
Also in this category are scheduled events for which Real Time marketing can take advantage of so-called “geo-behavioral” information, where data is obtained by cross-referencing the location of users and the “points of interest” most frequented by the target audience (e.g., commercial establishments, sports clubs, theaters, etc.).
Real Time marketing: famous examples for perfect crisis management
There are at least two major differences between the Oreo tweet we discussed in the opening and the Real Time marketing examples we will discuss now.
- Unlike the former, the following two examples refer to solutions that enabled a potentially negative event to be successfully dealt with in real time. In the case of Oreo, the blackout exploits an external incident to gain visibility and newsworthiness (but does not overcome a direct obstacle); in the case of Asos and KFC, the event handled by Real Time marketing is a consequence of an internal error and an uncontrollable event, respectively, that results in disruption (and thus becomes the company’s responsibility).
- Asos and KFC take action to solve unforeseen situations; Oreo seizes a sudden opportunity within a programmable event.
In all three cases, where three different strategies are at work, Real Time marketing acts with a perfect mechanism: it creates awareness through content marketing. Let’s try to explore further.
Asos: how to admit a mistake and become more likable
On March 21, 2018, after printing 17,000 bags that bore an inscription containing a spelling mistake — “onilne” instead of online — ASOS reacted immediately. It posted a tweet candidly admitting its mistake. Here, it is the exceptionally quick, polite, and ironic response that is the key to perfect Real Time marketing (re)action. Thanks to that tweet, the brand acknowledged that it had made a mistake before anyone else pointed it out. The funny (and amused) tone of voice then allowed the company to redefine itself in a more friendly and informal sense.
The micro copy is a little masterpiece: “Okay, so we *may* have printed 17,000 bags with a typo. We’re calling it a limited edition”.
586 comments, 8.5k retweets, and 49k favorites: light-hearted content with which Asos takes responsibility gracefully downplays the episode, and adds humanity to its profile as an online retail giant.
KFC: how to regain control by improving brand perception
Let’s stay in 2018 but move to the UK. In February 2018, KFC’s “#ChickenCrisis” bounces on digital channels halfway around the world: the famous fast food restaurant cannot offer its celebrated chicken dishes because – unbelievable but true – they were out of chicken. Most of its restaurants are temporarily forced to close, without warning.
The brand’s response comes not immediately, but after two days of silence, two days in which KFC’s social channels are flooded with mocking comments. The response comes in the form of a press announcement, circulated in newspapers and social media: a short apology text introduced by an image showing in the foreground the characteristic paper bucket. On the bucket, the letters of the brand name are rearranged to form the acronym “FCK”.
Marketing, together with creatives, here gives expressive form to an urgency, managing to regain control over a chaotic situation caused by exceptional circumstances.
The copy is absolutely brilliant: “A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who traveled out of their way to find we were closed”. (A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who traveled out of their way to find we were closed). The online and offline reaction was extremely positive (after just three months, the the campaign reached over a billion people):
- the brand’s impression score, which had dropped nine points, from -2 to -12, quickly climbs back up to -1 after the announcement;
- more than 700 articles and countless TV discussions for a total audience of 797 million people worldwide;
- 219 million users on social media.
Personalization: becoming relevant with real time marketing
Today’s marketing is mostly about relevance, and a brand can only become relevant to its target audience if it knows their preferences, problems, needs, desires in depth. Behind the brilliant real-time communication of Oreo, Asos, and KFC are analytical tools that enable accurate customer profiles like never before.
Thanks to the insights provided by new digital technologies, marketers are able to make reasoned decisions more quickly, to create copy that is more likely to capture the attention of the target audience, and make real-time offers through which they can stand out in increasingly competitive markets. To put it another way, at the foundation of real-time marketing are methodologies and solutions that enable data enhancement and personalization of communication.
Personalization, which has the ability to engage and attract like no other element, is therefore crucial to the success of Real Time marketing initiatives.
Although social networks are by definition the best channel for keeping conversations alive, getting feedback on strategy while it’s in place, and taking timely action to resolve any crises, real time marketing is multi platform and omnichannel. The use of multiple channels makes it possible to look at the market from a holistic perspective, to take advantage of all opportunities to rework the brand’s value proposition.
Thanks to the interactive experience (ix) line, Doxee provides a series of tools dedicated to multichannel digital communication with which it is possible to create and manage customizable, interactive content and add value, in real time, on data, content, and personalized storytelling. With video, it becomes simple and immediate to communicate with empathy, capture the user’s attention and excite them, regardless of the specific moment in the journey they are on. With an interactive website, the user progressively gains self-awareness: he can independently consult his own data, search for updates on specific topics, and make payments.
To transform the different moments of communication into a current and engaging experience, the best solution is to combine personalization and an omnichannel approach.