None of these events should catch you by surprise, so be prepared.
The same planning can be applied to the myriad awareness days there are now. Look at one of the websites which list these days and you’ll soon find a number each month which you can use to create content around. Again, you can plan ahead for these dates and have posts pre-written and scheduled in.
Once you’ve populated your marketing calendar with these dates, savvy marketers will think about drafting copy surrounding events which might happen – or will happen, but you don’t quite know when…
Here in the UK, extremes of weather are a good example. Down in Kent, we haven’t had particularly cold temperatures or even snow over the past couple of years, but if you have a business which sells more product when temperatures are cold, it is worth having content pre-prepared to share – both on your website and on social media. Again, you could do the same for very hot weather. Chemists, for example, stock sun protection products all year round but demand will be particularly high in the summer.
In February 2022, the UK saw some significant gales. There are some businesses which 'benefit’ from this type of event – such as roofing and fencing companies – so, in theory the most organised of those will have copy ready to share.
Although it seems a little morbid, we know that the main news channels will already have content prepared for when a well-known person dies. These should be treated with care though… In 2014, the American actor Kirk Douglas’ obituary was accidentally published on the People magazine website with the header ‘Do Not Publish’ still attached… As it was, he died at the grand old age of 103 in 2020.
Of course, there are events which would seem very unlikely to happen – such as a pandemic – and we’d be surprised if any businesses had ‘pandemic copy’ ready to share. That said, those companies which have a clear PR crisis management plan, will probably have some boilerplate paragraphs in place to deal with any disasters which happen.
While most large organisations have layers of sign-off procedures for marketing campaigns and even pieces of content, some companies are more agile and brave. When it comes to social media, it helps to be reactive and embrace ‘real time marketing’. For this, you need to place your trust in your marketing team. However, it’s still important not to get carried away and to keep the brand in mind and make the right impression – while still grabbing that opportunity.
A few years ago, the lights went out during the Super Bowl in New Orleans and, within minutes, Oreo tweeted a simple image of one of its well-known biscuits against a dark background with the phrase ‘you can still dunk in the dark’. This single tweet went on to win awards.
Another biscuit brand, this time KitKat, responded to the news that the IPhone 6 was apparently bending in people’s pockets by responding with an image of a KitKat and the words ‘we don’t bend, we break’.
More recently, Aldi responded to the queues at airports. Somebody commented ‘if you got the Aldi staff to do security in the airport, everyone would be through in less then two minutes’. Aldi responded: "Passengers on flight 19.45 to Ibiza, we’re opening checkout 2 for you.”
It helps to have an eye on the ball to spot opportunities. Arguably, you don’t need to be a big brand with a huge social media team to do that, you just need to keep abreast of current events, perhaps setting some alerts for when key words are mentioned on Google.
Not only do you need an agile marketing team but they need good website support. Here at Target Ink, we are used to working with our clients to respond to fast-moving situations. During the pandemic, for example, we were called upon by a restaurant client to make regular updates when Covid rules changed.
This efficient response is made possible by our maintenance and support system, which means tickets are logged and any changes can be up and live within hours – backing up any current marketing initiatives.