But what happens when it goes awry, as it did this week for AT&Twho tried to convert this year’s 9/11 memorials into a promotional opportunity? While the brand likely had good intent, the backlash offers a great example of what not to do when evaluating real-time marketing goals.
If you’re brand is thinking about ways to deploy real-time tactics, consider the following:
1. Plan real-time messaging around events that tie back to your brand.
Look for holidays, national events or pop culture happenings that make sense to align with, and figure out how to create something that is both meaningful and that doesn’t cross the line of offensive. For example, check out what ADIDAS did during Wimbledon. Before each game Twitter fans were encouraged to guess where Andy Murray would hit the winning balls, on 9 zones of this opponent's side of the court using hashtag #hitthewinner.
2. Think past pictures
Tweeting real-time photos as incidents or events occur is certainly proving that being in the right place at the right time counts. But think about how your visuals can translate into a pitch or news. For example, Lowe’s brilliant “display of fireworks” on Vine around July 4th could have been used to pitch ways to liberate your home from leaky faucets and a roof in need of repair. Take it back to what you offer.
3. Show humility along with humor
No one can resist a brand that humanizes itself by merging humility with humor. Look for ways to show brand vulnerability. A great example? When Nintendo of America took to Twitter during the Oscars to share its opinion on Wreck-It Ralph being bypassed for an award.
4. Crowdsource your coverage.
If one of your strategies is to generate buzz around a new product, service or pro-social initiative, it’s imperative that you involve your key stakeholders. For example, when we produce Staples for Students each year, we integrate a celebrity component and encourage our pop culture icons and influencers to post content and engage with fans so that we can increase the chances of our event being shared and enjoyed in real-time.