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Is Agile Marketing Really Sustainable or are Brands ‘Dunking in the Dark’?

Blog Post Author – Kirsty
14th March 2017
agile marketing 17

With phones residing in hand or pocket at all times, and Wi-Fi access around every corner, the average social media user now expects the brands they engage with online to react to breaking news in real-time. 

Staying abreast of the news and reacting to current trends can be easier said than done in a business capacity. With regulations, approvals and multiple stakeholders involved in any given post.

Trends can explode and diffuse within mere hours, meaning it’s no longer a case of "tomorrow’s chip paper" so much as "this afternoon’s".

All too familiar is the heart-break in logging on to discover a missed hash-tagging frenzy.

So how can brands improve?

Hiring individuals for the sole purpose of managing social channels is nothing new. As social channels have developed and connectivity increased, 63% of marketing directors now indicate agility as a high priority in their social media strategy. That being said, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between cleverness and speed and not to compromise the quality of content for the sake of a quick turnaround.

There are, of course, tricks to make your brand appear more current by simply planning and scheduling your social media content in advance. Make use of specific calendar dates, like Valentine’s Day or Halloween, and prepare relevant content, or tap into more unusual topics if they fit your business' niche, such as National Burger Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Be ‘Proactively Reactive’

If there’s an upcoming event that can have one of a finite number of outcomes (e.g. a sporting event), prep for each outcome in advance then, when the time comes, simply publish the applicable content.

Similarly, if there’s something you know is on the horizon, such as the birth of a royal baby, brands can also create the illusion of agility by preparing content well in advance (usually by having a well oranised content calendar plan in place), ready to upload as the news breaks.

Quick-witted responses to unprecedented events are putting brands in the spotlight, such as Burger King’s response after the wrong contestant was announced winner at Miss Universe 2015...

...and, brilliantly, Miss Universe’s response to the more recent Best Picture gaffe at this year’s Oscars. [

When Apple announced its first range of vibrantly coloured iPhones back in 2013, Nokia, who had been offering similarly coloured phones for a while, sassily responded by stating that imitation was the highest form of flattery “Thanks, #Apple ;)”. This amusing comment managed to completely hijack the hashtag and overshadow Apple’s announcement.

It even managed to steal the crown as most retweeted brand, gaining more retweets than Oreo’s famous ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl.

The rise of the social media newsroom

Barclays has taken ‘moment marketing’ one step further, modelling its social media operations on that of a newsroom and, in doing so, cutting their publishing process from six weeks to three days.

Each week, an ‘editorial’ meeting is held to discuss key conversational points and statistics from across the business and content delivered within at least 72 hours of that session.

This new strategy was born out of a need to move from a ‘microphone’ mindset to one more focused on listening and reacting. A change which Barclays Interactive Marketing Director, Mark Brayton, claims has ‘transformed’ the brand’s communications.

As technology develops, the pressure on brands to consistently publish in-the-moment content is increasing. Is this method of agile marketing sustainable?

Join us in April for a webinar on the art of being ‘proactively reactive’, where we’ll be sharing a host of tips for keeping ahead of the curve on social media - more details to follow soon!

In the meantime, why not come chat with us at @contentcal_io and share your thoughts?

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