Every day in the news, real life is comical. The comedy channel news shows walk that line well (well, most of the time).
Yes, the content is a bit twisted but I like the fact that they get strait to the punch line and basically tell it like it is – no censorship. It is up to me, as the viewer, to decide what crosses my moral line and if I switch the channel or keep watching.
We all have our own moral line that we draw in the sand, it could be a one word choice difference in being offensive or being too vanilla as to not even get one share.
As bloggers, marketers and just overall communicators I wonder where to draw that line in my job. How to be professionally risqué.
It’s like a tattoos and turtlenecks – it just conflicts – in a buzzworthy way.
If it was just some hipster in a black hoody you’d walk right by “banner blindness” we call it in advertising. When your goal is engagement and new customers you need to come up with ideas that will makes you stop and think for a second.
So let me get to the point with some clever ad examples. Bold or Brutal?
Remember when that Costa Cruise liner sank in the med and people posted their real-time experience on YouTube? ( incidentally I took that same cruise route – same but but luckily different month and could empathize with the incredibility of it all)
Every disaster in the news is an opportunity to cash in on people’s opinions. Social media is fair game and freedom of speech. So if you were a competitor cruise liner like Holland America (just picking some random Seattle-based company, not a true scenario) what would you do?
Some CEO in the cruise industry similar to Virgin Airways Richard Brandon, could get on his soapbox and tweet:
“On your way to the Caribbean, oops engine fire. FAIL.”
“Exactly how many ziplock bags are this cruise lines equipped with?”
= 5 billion retweets
Plane and island destinations brands might decide
to invest more in paid media, youtube video ads:
sink or fly,
sink or swim,
Showing a photo comparison of people bailing water on the ship
vs. a person in a pool, on a noodle, with a drink in hand.
In paid search, terms like sink, sunk, tug keywords would be expensive.
The term Cruise costs would be going up as advertisers learn about the tragic news. Spammers that are paid by lead have a huge incentive to go out and grab inventory, so it drives up the prices and they’ll be hard to get.
But you try to use paid search ads, driving traffic to a landing page with your benefits package. Holland America would have to pull all media: tv, radio would have to be pulled. You don’t want to risk all that money out there when people feel like cruises might not be safe.
In social media, engagement will go up, spinning the positives and efforts to help, social advocacy. We would see people jumping to a strong brand’s defense.
For Costa Cruise their reaction might be:
- Sarcastic negative comments, share other similar problems
- Positive responses in defense but these wont be as visible as the negative posts
- A response video with some positive customer statements and thanks to Costa Cruise message
Competitors would seriously think of doing a PR stunt and try to rescue the passengers. High risk but high reward.But then what is the safest route? One that provides no risk (or therefore no reward) to your brand?
The socio-moral high road… A conservative competitor would pull everything, the industry as a whole lost credibility. Stay quiet and wait.
Smart customers go out and buy carnival tickets for next year during this time because prices will drop and be the cheapest for the next year.
So what is your moral line in the sand? Which side do you play on?
If it has piña coladas, tequila shots and hurricanes you WILL get the short term reaction. But will that be the long term value brand advocate that you want?
It’s always a risk – too conservative = boring
Too controversial and you look cheap
- Know when to jump on the bandwagon and when you are too late.
- Stay ahead of the trends, make the trends.
- Follow your audiences lead and test the waters.
And then you have to consider audience personas and demographics when planning your social attack.
There can be an assumption and marketing stereotyping… Baby boomers want print, no social and are not tech savvy. But are they that way because YOU put them in that box?
I am sick of hearing people say they tested that before and didn’t get good results. They I asked about the test they ran and found out it wasn’t a valid head to head test. They meant to say they ‘tried’ that before and it didn’t work (with no results to say why).
Instead of talking to your older followers with the same old traditional marketing tactics – treat them with the decency and respect to give them a change. Try something out of the box, find your turtleneck and tattoos.
They’ll tell you if they don’t like It, they will unsubscribe. And if they don’t – really, do you want them anyway?
A wise person told me this week “get LOUD or risk being boring”. I’d rather be loud.
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I will teach you how to become a DIY marketer and agile startup business owner. There will be times you need an ad agency, I’ve work for them and appreciate the scale they have to offer.
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We don’t want your money – we want to start a revolt against mass media driven marketing and want to snag the smart people.