Brands seek to respond in real time

7 February 2013

NEW YORK: Mondelez International and Virgin Mobile are attempting to enhance their real time marketing capabilities, a process which demands moving away from traditional models among clients and agencies.

During a blackout in the Super Bowl on Sunday, Tide, Procter & Gamble's detergent, made a rapid post on Twitter, the microblog, saying: "We can't get your #blackout. But we can get your stains out."

Oreo, made by Mondelēz International, was running a "war room" with agencies 360i and MediaVest for the event and uploaded an image of its own, carrying the tagline "You can still dunk in the dark".

This built on a campaign in 2012 for Oreo's 100th anniversary, where 100 pieces of content were uploaded on successive days covering global events from LGBT Pride Month to space exploration.

B Bonin Bough, VP, global media and consumer engagement at Mondelēz International, wrote in the Harvard Business Review: "The biggest challenge for brands that want to engage their consumers in real-time is that consumer conversations move at incredible speed due to social and mobile technologies."

"Making sense of that conversation requires rapidly sifting through vast amounts of data, but also making that data available across functions within the organisation in a way that empowers brands to translate social insights into actions."

Virgin Mobile, the telecoms firm, created a "brand newsroom" last year, and now holds weekly editorial meeting with BuzzFeed, the social news service, as it attempts to increase the speed of response.

Blogs and tie-ups with sites like BuzzFeed are used to supplement the branded Virgin Mobile Live platform, thus enabling the company to diversify its output to suit various audiences.

"It can be infinitely cheaper than doing a commercial on TV," Ron Faris, Virgin Mobile's director, brand marketing, told DigiDay. "You get more bang for your buck if you spend your money on good copywriters and designers who have a newsroom sense of urgency than a huge, million-dollar production."

Jim Cuene, senior marketing manager at General Mills, the food group, argued agencies must also be suitably equipped, from staffing to technology to their corporate culture, for this approach to work.

"Whether it's a shift in sentiment, traffic flow, response rate, or a spike in a specific metric, the agency has to be intuitive enough to know what matters enough to respond to," he said.

David Armano, manager director of Edelman Digital, the agency, stated this was a process far removed from pre-existing models. "Real time flies in the face of how traditional marketing and advertising work," he said. "It's not easy to plan or execute."

Data sourced from Harvard Business Review/DigiDay; additional content by Warc staff