Why having a brand positioned for speed matters
Millions of people viewed and talked about a major event this past weekend. And the companies with a brand positioned for speed attempted to use the resulting trending topics for content.
The event was Beyonce’s surprise release of a new song and video, Formation. Digital communication professionals were likely ready to leverage or learn from the planned event of the weekend, the Super Bowl on Sunday. Only the teams who’ve focused on having a brand positioned for speed were ready to evaluate and take advantage of the latest offering from Beyonce.
As a digital communications professional, there are hundreds of possibilities to be a part of social conversations on multiple apps every day. Identifying, planning for and executing the right opportunities helps a brand positioned for speed engage more consumers and affect sales.
One of the brands mentioned in the Formation video is Red Lobster, the casual dining chain sold by Darden Restaurants in 2014. The chain’s name became a trending topic, as were other phrases used in the song and video. For a few hours after the video dropped, there was no mention of the song, Beyonce or the buzz around it on the Red Lobster Twitter feed.
According to the chain’s CEO, the company didn’t have advance warning of the brand mention. They learned of it from seeing the name trend.
Even though the social media universe slammed Red Lobster for being slow to join the Beyhive formation, the brand still saw a 33% increase in sales on Sunday. That is a notable bump for a brand that had declining same-store sales in seven out of eight quarters just before it was sold in 2014.
Meanwhile another brand that was not mentioned in the song, found a way to ride the trend with a tweet. Southwest Airlines connected with one of the other hot phrases from the song, “I got hot sauce in my bag. Swag,” and found a way to connected it to air travel.
For communications professionals who want to grow a brand positioned for speed, the video and resulting conversation can be instructive. Before posting and joining a social conversation, especially a quick moving one, there are things to consider.
First, is it appropriate?
Having a brand positioned for speed is great and can deliver results. Moving too quickly and in the wrong direction can backfire. With this video, some of the content is too risqué for some brands. This is a great reminder to know your audience. What would your brand’s core audience think of the trending topic and how would that reflect on the brand?
If the trending topic pushes the envelope and your brand is known for that, it may be the right tactic.
What is the payoff?
Another consideration for a brand positioned for speed is what the payoff will be for jumping into a trending topic. Will this tweet generate buzz among your regular audience? Could it bring back fans or reach a new audience? Understanding, based on measurement and previous success, how joining social conversations can affect sales is what communications professionals can contribute.
Is your team tapped into the moment?
Think about your digital communications team. Are the people running the brand’s sites listening and following the influencers, trends and news that affect your brand? Do they know what it takes to build and maintain a brand positioned for speed? A team that didn’t quickly understand how big Formation was and why mentioning Red Lobster resonated, could have moved quickly and made a mistake.
Users viewed Red Lobster as slow to leverage the moment. The company still saw a positive change in sales, but if it was a brand positioned for speed, how much more could Red Lobster have driven chatter and sales?