In today’s fast-paced digital world, it’s essential to think on your feet and engage with your audience.
But let’s face it – some brands are better at this than others. We’ve all seen those cringe-worthy marketing attempts that make us shake our heads in disbelief. If you don’t know what you’re doing, your brand could end up with egg on its face!
Reactive marketing can be a great way to engage your audience and boost your online reputation – but only when done correctly. It takes finesse, intelligence and a nice blend of humor in marketing to navigate this tricky terrain.
So let’s take a look at how reactive marketing can help – and how it can easily backfire if not executed properly.
How Reactive Marketing Works
It’s an audience engagement strategy that sets itself apart from other marketing in that it is responsive to current events, news and trends. Reactive marketing builds on the existing conversation, allowing you to be part of the narrative rather than just a passive observer.
This strategy allows a brand “to get more attention and engagement because the content is timely and edgy,” said Tim Clarke, Rize’s Senior Reputation Manager.
While it may make some customers happy, it’s also a “risk that will offend others,” Clarke said.
This public relations or PR marketing strategy is driven by real-time content creation that gets your message out quickly and powerfully, such as:
- Other creative visuals
Because it’s agile, reactive marketing can put a positive spin on an otherwise negative situation, such as a reputation crisis. For example, a humorous tweet or video response to a criticism can help turn the tide of public opinion in your favor.
Proactive vs Reactive Marketing
While reactive marketing is an excellent customer relationship marketing tool, it’s not the only option. In fact, it shouldn’t be the only thing you should rely on.
You should use reactive marketing alongside proactive audience engagement strategies. This involves creating meaningful connections with customers and building a loyal following that you can rely on during times of crisis.
Here’s a comparison between proactive vs reactive marketing:
- Takes a long-term view of building relationships with customers. Proactive marketing often involves planned campaigns, such as for holidays and seasonal events.
- It is about creating loyalty and trust. Since it’s a long-term strategy, proactive marketing is more about gaining confidence and belief than making an immediate impact.
- Responsive to current events, news and trends. True to its name, reactive marketing is being “in the moment” and using creative visuals and content to respond quickly.
- It is about creating visibility and generating buzz. Reactive marketing is often used to do damage control or boost brand reputation.
In simple terms, proactive marketing takes a planned, systematic approach, while reactive marketing tends to be spontaneous and immediate. These two audience engagement strategies have different applications.
Planning should always be a part of your marketing process, involving data, research and insight. However, you must also recognize that the marketplace can be volatile and unpredictable. Hence, the occasional need for a more reactive approach to your creative marketing campaigns.
How It Helps With Your PR Marketing
Let’s go back to the main topic. Keeping up with current trends is challenging, especially when so much is happening in the digital world. You may want to shelve reactive marketing because of the sheer amount of work it requires.
But don’t be too quick to dismiss the idea. You’ll soon realize that reactive marketing helps you and your brand engagement strategy in many ways.
You Won’t Fade Away
For starters, the hottest topics and conversations today have a short shelf life. If you don’t jump in and be part of the discourse, your competitors will. Reactive marketing helps you stay relevant in the eyes of your followers, customers and prospects.
Engage Customers at Peak Moments
Customer relationship marketing isn’t just about fancy emails and offers. You can use reactive marketing to boost interest at the right moments.
For example, if there’s a controversy about your industry or something funny happening in the public domain, you can create content that speaks to them – humor in marketing works best here!
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Humans are naturally emotional creatures. That’s why it only makes sense to craft content that emotionally connects with them. This content comes in many forms, including:
- Themed visuals
- Humorous ads
- Thoughtful stories
All these audience engagement strategies, when done right, hits the tickle spots of your customers. When customers leave with a smile or laughs, that’s a customer satisfaction win for you.
Tips for Adding This Strategy to Your Audience Engagement Toolkit
Of course, there are a few things to remember when integrating reactive marketing into your brand engagement strategy. Here are a few tips to craft spot-on reactive online reputation management (ORM) and ORM marketing campaigns.
Tip 1: Create Content Based on Current Trends
And we’re not talking about random current trends here. Ensure they are related to your industry, brand or target audience. Not only that, but Clarke recommends that you understand your audience’s reactions and sentiments toward the topic.
“Pay attention to what people say and choose a popular but interesting position,” Clarke advised.
“It’s also important to not move from position to position quickly.”
Remember when Burger King promoted the re-release of Avengers: Endgame? That’s an example of how to create content based on current trends.
Sure, the movie isn’t about burgers, but its release is part of a larger cultural moment – and Burger King was there to take advantage.
Tip 2: Partner With Influencers
Aside from good humor in marketing, partnering with influencers is a great way to get your message out there. Going back to our Burger King example, they worked with Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. to increase brand engagement for both Burger King and Endgame.
Tip 3: Engage Customers in Real Time
This online brand reputation management strategy is more than just humorous ads and endless PR marketing stunts. You must also monitor real-time conversations and respond to customer queries and complaints.
Even if it’s unrelated to your product or brand, you can still use reactive marketing by responding with thoughtful comments. This shows that your company is listening, understanding and taking action when necessary.
Unexpected Creative Marketing Campaigns Done Right
Not sure where to start? No problem. Fortunately, the customer relationship marketing world is blessed with moments of genius when it comes to reactive marketing.
Oreo and the Super Bowl Outage
Let’s look at Oreo’s famous tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl outage.
The picture simply said, “You can still dunk in the dark.”
It was a simple yet powerful message that reminded viewers that they could still enjoy their Oreos even through a power outage – and it went viral almost instantly.
While Oreo didn’t have the chance to be part of the Super Bowl’s advertising lineup, they managed to take advantage of the moment and create a lasting impact.
The famous chicken chain is no stranger to reactive marketing. We can’t forget the 2018 U.K. fiasco when they ran out of chicken. Rather than staying silent, they took the opposite approach and went head-on into the controversy.
They decided to flip their name – KFC – into “FCK” to apologize to customers. The message, which was strategically placed in full-page ads in major newspapers, said:
“A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who traveled out of their way to find we were closed.”
KFC didn’t shy away from the situation but instead took responsibility, preventing a colossal reputation crisis.
Henri Vezina’s Work From Home Collection
The 2020 pandemic didn’t stop Henri Vezina from crafting clever, humorous ads and creative marketing campaigns.
Yes, we’re talking about those wild, outrageous pieces of clothing like a blazer-like bathrobe and a sweatpant suit.
The Canadian company tailored its content to the current times by creating quirky looks for people stuck at home due to the lockdown. It was an instant success that allowed Henri Vezina to build brand awareness and engagement during a global crisis.
Pitfalls of Reactive Marketing (and How To Avoid Them)
All marketing strategies come with risk, and reactive marketing isn’t an exception. Here’s a list of things you want to avoid to prevent starting or exacerbating a reputation crisis:
- Oversharing. Being too eager to share content could lead to misunderstandings and even offend people.
- Inappropriate Content. There are specific topics you should avoid regarding reactive marketing, such as politically sensitive issues or anything related to tragedies.
- Ignoring the Audience. Before creating content, you must understand your audience’s culture, values and preferences.
- Poor Timing. Make sure you are sensitive to current events and the resulting emotions of people.
- Unclear Messaging. Before publishing any content, review your message for accuracy and clarity.
It’s easy to commit these mistakes if you’re not too careful with your words, images and your general campaign message. So, before you hit the green button, consult with your team and think twice.
Enhance Your Online Brand Reputation Management Today With Rize
The success of your ORM marketing depends on your ability to be agile, creative and strategic. Reactive marketing humanizes your brand, strengthens relationships and boosts engagement with potential customers.
Ready to jump in? Rize is here to help. Our robust online brand reputation management solutions harness all the data from multiple sources so you can respond quickly when unexpected opportunities arise.
From managing your online review presence to monitoring social media conversations, Rize has you covered.
Take control of your ORM and enhance your brand reputation today.