Isn’t it fantastic how in this day and age you can almost immediately react, adapt, create something new for your business, based on a piece of news, a campaign that has gone viral or a life changing event? Thanks to social media and online news, we can be constantly monitoring and riding the right wave. From a marketing point of view, it is refreshing to be able to experiment and try new approaches. And unlike popular belief, when something goes wrong – as long as it is not terribly wrong – it is possible to control the damage and move on.
A year ago, the ice bucket challenge, a campaign to raise awareness of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, went viral on social media, got loads of people that had never heard of the disease involved, celebrities took part of the challenge (and those who refused where criticised), lots of money was raised. Some brands – including biggies like McDonalds and Energiser were quick to use the opportunity to promote themselves, I mean, help with the ALS cause. Samsung went ever further, and challenged its competitors Apple and Nokia to take the challenge as well (watch the video here). And because it’s hard to predict how long a topic will be trending, the marketing teams have to be quick, bypass high management approvals, and go for it.
As with most of the things online, people tend to forget quite quickly about these things, which makes this “exercise” a challenge in itself. Big companies, global brands, they have the bucks, they have the teams, they have the brand to put these actions in place. They will select the right picks as overdoing it can also damage the brand, but they have the means to react quickly. Now how about small business? How can the small players take advantage of the immediacy of trends to help boost their businesses?
There is more than one answer to this question. One of them is “they don’t. Just ignore the buzz and move on”. Sometimes it is not worth the effort and the investment, just to be out there with everybody else. Does it make sense to your business? Is the topic something related to your brand or to your heart? Is it related to your clients? Luckily, there are ways to be part of it, without breaking the bank or diverging half of your team to implement it. Words, for example. You can write a nice/funny/powerful message on your Facebook page, you can donate money for a charity, you and your staff can form a team and run the half marathon to support a cause, you can share someone else’s story or activity that you think your customers will like.
For us, here at Clevertim, sometimes we like to have a giggle and wonder what we could have done around one of those moments, like with the ice bucket challenge, for example. “How about getting Tim, our mascot, to take the challenge?”. We have a laugh and focus on making our product better for our customers, implementing new features, reading reviews, asking for feedback. Because at the end of the day, if you don’t have a great product or offer a great service, what is the point in even promoting it?