Brands emerging on TikTok

With more than 800 million monthly active users, Tik Tok is taking the world by storm. What started off as a popular app with young adults to show off their creative side, Tik Tok has quickly become a new platform for brands to advertise in new and exciting ways.

Tik Tok have noticed an influx in marketing activity and as a result have recently launched an advertising process as well as hyperlinking capabilities for brands. However, marketing that has been taking place on Tik Tok strays away from the traditional sense of advertising and leans further toward creating brand awareness and interacting with the younger audience through funny videos and challenges specific to the app.

A number of different brands have developed marketing strategies that tie in perfectly with the Tik Tok culture and appeal to younger audiences. Some brands, such as popular shoe brand Sketchers, have incorporated their advertising strategy with the current climate and have pledged to donate 10 masks to front line workers in the USA for every video on Tik Tok that uses the specified sound and hashtag #danceformasks, with a total of 1 million masks being donated. Other brands, such as Nivea have opted to create Tik Tok challenges based around their own brand. The Nivea Splash Challenge has a total of 54 million views on Tik Tok and has seen users recreate the iconic Nivea splash in an attempt to be reshared on the brands social media channels and website. Some brands, for example MAC Cosmetics, have simply used the platform to show off parts of their business that their audience may not have seen before such as behind the scenes at runway shows.

The emergence of new social media platforms such as Tik Tok have forced brands to communicate to their audience in a way that they may not necessarily have done before. Brands are now engaging with viewers in a more light-hearted way with a higher focus on trends occurring online with some aiming to create their own through hashtags. The Tik Tok trend won’t be going anywhere anytime soon meaning that brands that opt to not adjust their marketing strategy may be left behind – especially in a world where hopping on trends while they’re still relevant is essential.

Instagram Stories’ New #Challenge Feature

Social media challenges have always been popular across many platforms, especially in recent years. Now, with more and more people staying home during COVID-19, many have been looking for new, creative ways to pass the time and Instagram may have done just that.

Instagram’s new challenge sticker has become for many a great way to interact with friends whilst still social distancing. Although Instagram challenges have been quite popular in recent years, there hasn’t really been an easy way to give and receive nominations for a certain challenge.

If you see a challenge that you like while scrolling through your friends stories, all you need to do is tap on the sticker which will take you to the Instagram stories camera where you are able to challenge and then nominate a few friends to take part in the challenge with you.

You can also search for challenges by opening your Instagram Stories camera, clicking the stickers button and selecting the #challenge sticker. Some of the most popular challenges include

  • #Untiltomorrow
  • #Drawsomething
  • #Pushupchallenge
  • #Plankingchallenge
  • #Coupleschallenge

While the world is currently living a quarantine lifestyle, there is a definite trend in fitness related challenges while people attempt to exercise from home – and everyone is loving it!

It’s safe to say that we’re big fans of the Instagram challenges! Which challenges have you tried out?

Playing Short. Thinking Long

It’s one of the great marketing pressure points. Juggling long-term brand building with the need to deliver short-term results. We’ve talked about it before and we’re certainly not alone, with the issue forming the focus of an iconic 2013 study from UK-based Les Binet and Peter Field, “The Long and the Short of It: Balancing the short and long-term effects of marketing.”

On the surface they may seem diametrically opposed strategies. But there’s growing evidence working on your short game may actually hold the key to driving sustained, long-term brand value especially in an age of digital disruption, fragmented media and complex multi-channel campaigns.

Look after your long vision.

One of the biggest watch-outs for Binet and Field was the rising tendency for many brands to use short-term metrics to measure success. By looking only at the immediate road ahead, they argued this has dangerous long-term brand implications, and we can only agree. Central to their reasoning was the inherent struggle between ‘head and heart’. Specifically, they found that rational strategies, while good at delivering quick results, are typically far less memorable than emotional ones. In other words, more emotive communications are a lot better at building awareness and deeper brand connections that, ultimately, translate into better profits. Short-term sales spikes may look good on a spreadsheet but, as Binet explained, ‘œemotion is where the really big profits lie.’

Strengthening the links between long and short.

It may seem a little counter-intuitive. But recalibrating existing short-term strategies can actually be an effective way to help drive longer-term brand value. In particular, bringing a more strategic and selective approach to your digital activations “classically seen as a short-term tactics” can help to build brands from the bottom up.

Social media provides the perfect case in point. While single interactions on Facebook or Instagram may only be fleeting in isolation, collectively they can create a powerful platform for adding long-term brand value. The trick, of course, is to be consistent in your message, tone and visual language, to leave a strong cumulative brand imprint over time. In this way, it’s a bit like a colony of ants. On their own, individual ants are small and can’t achieve much. But when they work together they can do amazing things and are pretty hard to ignore!

Creating frameworks for continuity.

One of the most significant challenges in the short-term vs long-term balancing act, is that long-term strategies, by their very nature, take time to build and show quantifiable results. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you stay the course. Trouble is, when marketing teams are prone to chopping and changing, previous learnings and strategies can quickly go out of the window. As marketers, and managers, it’s essential to find ways to retain knowledge and ensure strategic brand continuity beyond any single person. Establishing more robust long-term frameworks with empowered teams of brand custodians is a good place to start, rather than having a brand’s destiny resting entirely in the hands of any one individual (who, frankly, may or may not even be there in a year’s time). It’s all about reframing short-term campaigns and initiatives through the overlaying of a longer-term brand perspective.

Want your short-term campaigns to drive better long-term value? Contact The Marketing Syndicate today.

3 Must haves for Any Social media Strategy

Like businesses around the globe, chances are social media is occupying more and more of your time and energy, especially when it comes to marketing. This is no great surprise given the increasingly ubiquitous nature of social media and the endless ways we now use it to manage our relationships with family, friends, colleagues and, yes, brands.

Clearly, the implications of this are pretty seismic for marketers. It means having an effective social media strategy is no longer just a nice to have, it’s an essential part of modern business.

Of course, as we’ve already explored in previous blogs, getting social media right is a lot more complicated than just posting stuff on Facebook or Instagram. While every business (and industry) has its own unique social media landscape and challenges, there are a few things that remain true across the board.

1. Influencers work

Influencer Marketing is big news for younger audiences such as Millennials and Gen Z (born mid-1990s/early 2000s). If some, or all, of your customers are 35 or younger, it’s really something you should be considering. What is it? Simply fostering partnerships with respected brand ambassadors, aka influencers, to help advertise your brand or products, either overtly or subtly, via posts and videos their own existing social media networks. It can be a powerful tool as we know consumers tend to respond far more strongly to connections with people on social media than they ever do with brands. It’s more human, intimate and engaging. The key, of course, is finding relevant and appropriate influencers who are a good fit for your brand and its values. Financially speaking, the bigger an influencer’s profile and following, the more it’s likely going to cost to get them on board.

The perception of influencer marketing can trick many brands into thinking it is something that’s only meant for the big brands with the even bigger budgets.

That’s not necessarily the case, particularly with the rise of the micro-influencer. These influencers with a smaller audience, have a highly engaged following and make this marketing tactic available to companies of all sizes.

Micro influencers can be extremely cost-effective, especially for small businesses or brands that are looking to activate an influencer marketing campaign but can’t invest a big budget up front (or ever!). They are highly trusted and valued by the people who follow them, meaning they can be equally as valuable when it comes to promoting your brand.

2. Know your ideal Customer Persona

This seems obvious, right? Trouble is, no matter how hard we try it’s virtually impossible to ever completely know what your customers are thinking, especially when it comes to an intimate personal medium as social media. But, with the right type of research you can get a gist of the types of things your customers and prospects are looking for, then base your social media strategy on these insights. Creating a customer persona is an excellent way to do this. It’s essentially a personal profile that describes your ideal customer, which then allows you to more effectively target your social media to: (a) reach them; and (b) get their attention.

Some of things to consider when writing and refining your customer persona include:

  • Where do they work?
  • What are their interests?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where do they live?
  • How old are they?
  • How do they share content?
  • What do they enjoy?
  • What stresses them out?
  • What are their life goals?
  • What’s their family situation?

3. Make it Emotional

In a world filled with rationality and responsibility, many people use social media as an escape outlet. This is why appealing to people’s emotions is one of the best ways to engage them with your brand and your posts. Nowadays the most engaging types of social media content is emotive and immersive. As much as possible, make your posts dynamic, thought-provoking and original. By all means demonstrate creativity, but also invite your followers to get creative in the ways they interact with your product in a campaign. Make them part of your brand story too.

Ready to turbo-charge your social media campaigns?

Contact The Marketing Syndicate today.

The power of silly stuff

This week I discovered the new RSPCA NSW campaign for cats. It is called “Cat Ballads, Music to Improve the Life of Cats” and I found it funny and engaging. Not only is there an album and videos of singing cats highlighting responsible cat care, there is also a track and video created with scientists designed to calm cats and kittens in shelter environments, who may be generally stressed or left at home during the day. Goodbye Grumpy Cats!

This started me thinking about using humour in advertising.

Many memorable ad campaigns tend to be funny. Audiences like to be entertained, but not pitched to and people will pay more attention to a humorous commercial than a factual or serious one, opening themselves up to be influenced.

The key to funny advertising is assuring the humor is appropriate to both product and customer. The balance between funny and obnoxious can be delicate; and a marketer must be certain the positive effects outweigh the negative before launching a campaign. The best products to sell using humor tend to be those that consumers have to think the least about. Products that are relatively inexpensive, and often consumable, can be represented without providing a lot of facts, and that’s where there’s room for humor.

It is also worthwhile considering that different things are funny to different people. A commercial that leaves one person in stitches may not be as hilarious to someone else. The target market must always be considered. It is interesting to note that humor in advertising tends to improve brand recognition, but does not improve product recall, message credibility, or buying intentions. Variety is key, once a commercial starts to wear thin there’s no saving it without some variation on the concept.

Mark Levit of Partners & Levit Advertising writes “Humorous campaigns are often expensive because they have to be constantly changed. Advertisers must remember that while making the customer laugh, they have to keep things interesting, because old jokes die along with their products.” I wonder, as the world speeds up and digital advertising evolves, will this continue to be an issue?

If you want to check out the Cat Ballads Album, click here

You can also donate while you are there.

3 ways to improve every creative brief

How can you reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going?

It may seem pretty logical. But generations of creatives have been left to ponder this exact question over the years, faced with incomplete or confusing information about the challenge they’ve been tasked to solve.

Even if you’re fortunate enough to be working with highly experienced creatives, the result of this confusion is typically a lot of wasted time, wasted energy and, ultimately, wasted marketing dollars.

The key to avoiding these all-too-common situations is to treat your creative briefs like a road map, ensuring they’re always crystal clear, complete and easy for others to navigate. True, it will probably take you a little extra time upfront to do this. But the pay-off down the track will make it well worthwhile.

Here are three things we always try to deliver with our own creative briefings here at The Marketing Syndicate.

  1. Inspire, excite, motivate!

A motivated creative is a far more likely to be an effective creative. It’s your job to fire them up! From the language you use and the props you bring (did someone say snacks?), to your choice of location for the briefing itself, the more you can do to peak their interest and inspire them via the briefing process, the better their ideas are likely to be. Remember, they’re probably working on other briefs at the same time too, so you need to make sure yours gets plenty of love!

  1. Insight delight

Whether you tap into learnings from past campaigns, market research, customer focus groups or even the wider strategic direction of your brand, the best creative briefs are almost always rich in specific consumer insights. In fact, these are the exact things your creative team will most likely seek to leverage in their ideas. Avoid generic claims and sweeping generalisations at all costs, especially when it comes to writing your single-minded proposition (SINGLE, being the key word here.) Specific ownable insights are what it’s all about.

  1. Less is more

One of the most common creative briefing pitfalls is the temptation to overwrite them. It’s easy to think the more information you include the better. After all, you don’t want to miss out something important, right? Trouble is, when you include every conceivable detail the result is almost the same: confusion. There’s no surer way to stifle even the best creative teams than to overwhelm them with an avalanche of data. Think of yourself as an information filter. Cut through the clutter and clearly identify those key things and messages that are MOST important for your campaign to be successful, remembering it’s a very fine balance between including too much and not enough.

Ready to talk about your next creative brief?
Contact The Marketing Syndicate today.