LONDON: Brands have a stark choice when creating a social strategy – create something that stakeholders approve but which is unlikely to make an impact or take a risk and produce work that makes people sit up and take notice, a senior Heineken executive believes.

“Going for great – that’s the only way to win in the long term,” according to Quinn Kilbury, Senior Brand Director, Heineken USA, and chair of the judging panel for the Effective Social Strategy category in this year’s WARC Awards.

“It’s certainly the only way to break through the enormous clutter that exists on social channels,” he explains in WARC’s new Social Strategy Report, which distils lessons from the social category of the 2017 WARC Awards.

In this world, he argues, brands aren’t competing against their respective categories but against everything else that’s out there.

So, “your brand needs to be the cute kitten”. That’s how to become part of consumers’ news feeds and be the subject of discussions between friends and families. “Your brand, your campaign, needs to be useful or it will be ignored.”

The 2018 WARC Awards, a global search for next-generation effectiveness ideas, are now open for entries until 12 February 2018. There are four categories: Innovation, Brand Purpose, Content and Social Strategy. Like all WARC Awards programmes, entry is free.

What form that usefulness takes will depend on the brand and what it wants to achieve. Kilbury’s assessment of the 2017 Awards entries was that few had managed to successfully combine a great idea with brand fit and social strategy.

“The winners made bold choices and were rewarded,” he says. “And none of them looked the same; they were unique.”

Another consideration for marketers is that budgets don’t necessarily correlate with success. “Some of the best ideas and executions had the lowest budgets,” Kilbury notes.

In fact, he suggests, big budgets may actually hamper your chances of success – because then there’s more to lose and a greater unwillingness to take risks.

Sourced from WARC