By Sammy Sadler, Agency Marketing Manager
We interact with media 24/7. Whether that is through traditional news platforms, smartphone notifications or social media – it’s difficult to avoid what’s happening around us.
As a result of new technologies, news is travelling faster than it ever has before. Citizen journalism is on the rise and we can source local, regional and worldwide news from social platforms, blogs and vlogs.
This immediate way of communicating has brought many advantages including reactive marketing. According to the definition, this type of marketing is a reaction to a particular situation or to competitor activity.
A crisis can appear at any time but even in 2018 you can keep potential brand damage to a minimum with reactive marketing. You can even use this style of marketing to your advantage to raise brand awareness through interacting with events and news.
You will have probably heard that last month KFC found themselves in a spot of bother after they were forced to shut over 600 branches due to a chicken shortage. Thousands of KFC fans across the UK were understandably outraged – a chicken restaurant unable to serve chicken?!
Following an explosion of anger and panic across social media, the fast food giant attempted to bring fans back onside with a humorous full-page advert in the Sun and Metro newspapers. A lone empty bucket with KFC rearranged into ‘FCK’ appeared alongside a full apology to all chicken lovers in the hope to limit any long-term damage to brand reputation.
And it seemed to work. The advert was met with positive reactions on Twitter and KFC have continued to keep their audience updated on social media with the latest light-hearted news on chicken deliveries and restaurant closures.
KFC aren’t the only company who have needed to call upon reactive marketing recently. Also in February, Oxfam were forced to use a full-page advert across national newspapers to issue an apology in the aftermath of allegations around sexual misconduct. Taking the form of a letter, the charity used the advert to publicly apologise and reassure both supporters and volunteers that “we are listening.”
In both cases of KFC and Oxfam, reactive marketing was a necessary tool to start the process of building brand reliability again.
On the other end of the scale, reactive marketing can be used to create a buzz around a brand by interacting with events. Oreo can safely take the crown for this one following their perfect reaction to Super Bowl’s blackout in 2013. The advert, which read “you can still dunk in the dark” alongside a tweet “Power out? No Problem”, received over 15,000 RTs and over 20,000 Facebook likes from around the world.
Snickers also got creative with their reactive marketing in 2015. Following Jeremy Clarkson’s exposed argument with a Top Gear producer over a hot meal, the chocolate brand sent the presenter a box of Snickers with their popular slogan “you’re not you when you’re hungry.” Sharing the stunt on their Twitter, they received over 4,500 RTs and plenty of praise from followers for “genius marketing.”
So whether it’s an unexpected crisis or an event that your brand can interact with, here are 3 quick tips for using reactive marketing.
Ensure you have a plan in place in the event of a crisis. Taking steps towards risk management and addressing any problems that could arise will keep everyone on the same page if something was to happen.
To start reacting, keep an eye on trending social media topics and awareness days to see if there is something you can get involved with.
We’ve established that news travels very quickly and that’s especially true if it is unexpected. Speed is crucial in a crisis but time should be taken to address the necessary next steps and social media channels should be closely monitored.
If you’re using your reactive marketing on the back of something that has happened, time it well. You’ll ideally want to appear when everyone else is still actually talking about the subject.
Spotted something that you want to react to? Take a respectful approach and question if it is a sensitive subject. Who is involved? The last thing you want is to bring unwanted attention due to a poorly timed campaign such as American Apparel’s ‘Hurricane Sandy Sale’ insensitive email to customers in areas affected by the storm.
If you need help with a crisis communications strategy or you are want to get more reactive with your marketing, get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org