Remember that the buzz marketing strategies you employ must be tailored to work for your brand so that they connect to and are recognized by consumers. While unique strategies are attention-grabbing, sticking to efforts and elements that are relevant to your brand will ensure that your marketing efforts become top-of-mind, rather than a passing interesting video or antic in the street that is soon forgotten.
Creating the Buzz
There are many unique buzz marketing strategies that can inspire conversation around a brand, but our current favorites include real time, viral videos, and guerilla marketing strategies.
A real time strategy uses the events currently happening around you to promote your brand in a relevant and interesting way.
Example: The National Hockey League (NHL) used a current event in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to relate to their audience – hockey fans – ensuring that their real time effort was a relevant reflection of their brand.
After an incredibly successful, award-winning campaign for the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL elected to bring back the “History Will Be Made” campaign with a real time twist to generate buzz around the 2011 event. The first “History Will Be Made” campaign earned the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs the most viewers in over thirty years and the NHL hopes to continue to build on that success by integrating this real time component. Each day during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL, using the format of the other “History Will Be Made” ads, integrates a key moment from the previous night’s playoff games to create a new ad. While the original “History Will Be Made” campaign was built around iconic hockey moments meant to illicit a sense of nostalgia from fans, this real time addition of current games takes that emotional reaction to another level: inviting fans to relive the triumphs and the heartbreaks from the previous night and keeping them engaged in the competition and spirit of the playoffs.
Videos that go viral, or that incur enormous popularity, do so by being shared in extremely high frequency via the Internet.
Example: Seeking to promote a common daily use item – body wash – allowed Old Spice some freedom with creating a relevant campaign. Old Spice decided to market its product with a spokesman that demonstrates that a man can be “anything” he desires, as long as he uses Old Spice body wash.
Aiming to revitalize its brand, Old Spice created the 2010 “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” television spot starring former National Football League player Isaiah Mustafa. Mustafa is now known as the “Old Spice Guy”—a suave, shirtless Casanova, peddling body wash in ridiculous settings; even atop a white stallion. Old Spice’s ad gained millions of views even faster than President Obama’s presidential victory speech, and has had more than 31 million views on YouTube alone. Old Spice then continued to capitalize on this viral video’s success by taking to social media, establishing the “Old Spice Guy” as Old Spice’s persona and soliciting questions from bloggers and twitter users that were then used as material for further viral videos. For example, Old Spice created a video of Mustafa giving relationship advice to a Facebook user who asked for “suggestions on finding a guy worthy to buy Old Spice for.” As a result of this campaign, brand awareness skyrocketed and Old Spice’s sales went up 107% in the months following.
A guerilla marketing strategy can be based on inventive, imaginative attempts to grab attention from a crowd, generally in a public place, in order to generate buzz.
Example: Encouraging people to run, rather than drive, on International Car Free Day is consistent with the message of an athletic shoe brand. This “holiday” gave Nike the perfect, relevant excuse for an attention-grabbing guerilla marketing campaign.
One of our favorite examples of a successful guerilla marketing campaign is Nike’s International Car Free Day “boot.” On International Car Free Day in the streets of Prague, many people found their parked cars with a cardboard Nike “boot” on their tires (mimicking what a police officer would use) and a “parking ticket” on their windows, advising them of International Car Free Day and recommending that instead of driving, they “run on air” – a Nike slogan. Although reactions of drivers and passersby ranged from exasperation to humor, the point was made and the general public across the globe was buzzing about Nike. As a result of the success of this campaign and Nike’s many other guerilla marketing efforts that are integrated with more traditional marketing techniques, Nike’s brand awareness continues to rise. Today Nike’s main Facebook page has over 4 million fans, while its various other product-, sport- or location-based Facebook pages each have anywhere from 16,000 fans on the Nike Running Spain page to 6 million fans on the Nike Football page.
The Rules of the Game
While the success of each of these buzz marketing efforts can be attributed to their innovation, it is important to emphasize that they are only truly winning because their efforts are brand-specific: the message, content, and method of communication are each a reflection of the existing brand.
As relevancy and consistency are so important, it is impossible to begin these unique buzz marketing efforts without having a clear picture of your brand. Integrated marketing firms can help you take a step back to establish the important elements of your brand. For instance, what the expectations of the audience are, what message is most important to convey, and how it should be relayed. Only then is it possible to understand the essential components of a buzz marketing strategy, so that the effort is pertinent and engaging and will reflect your brand in the best possible way.
By shaping these unique, attention-grabbing buzz marketing strategies to fit your brand, you can capture the coveted consumer word-of-mouth spotlight and increase brand awareness and sales.