Though the evenings are lighter, the UK’s domestic political crisis gets ever darker. The struggle to market one’s business during such obfuscate times, is real. Yet, there are plenty of advantages to speaking out, if your brand is brave enough. Go forth and conquer the trolls — see below.
Stay true to your brand through the dark, political times
By controversially going where no brand dares to go, it’s possible to effectively resonate with audiences in real-time. Meaningful interactions will immediately set your business apart from the competition.
Stand out amongst thousands of corporate, automated personas, through engaging with online users. By doing this, you can rapidly progress from a brand which people like, into a brand which people respect, and shop. If you’re fast enough off the mark in delivering your comment or post during the second it all kicks off, then you’ll be top of the list. It can potentially attain huge interaction from simply being politically charged and quick.
Your brand can receive a lot of praise for making a political stance too. Online users know the drill when it comes to having a controversial opinion via social media; ultimate backlash. And so they’ll admire your renowned brand for putting it’s neck on the line. Unlike the majority of businesses who’re tweeting about their newest product drops, you’re using your platform constructively. Addressing real issues, which are impacting real people.
In fact, followers will go as far as to share their approval with close friends and family, whilst subconsciously turning into your number one brand advocate. It’ll start with post stalking, edge into e-blast opens, and rapidly transgress into sales, all within a matter of days — #obsessed.
Lastly, if your brand is being super politically active, then you may actually instigate change from requesting a call to action. For example, getting followers to sign a petition or to support a political campaign which you’re running. This can build huge momentum for your brand, influencing your following and engagement stats to go through the roof, whilst also having a positive effect on your sales. Audiences who feel brands are representative and ethical will opt for those, rather than those who aren’t.
So why aren’t all brands posting about our “monster raving Tory” government and no-deal brexit despair? Some have their reservations.
A recent survey undertaken by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) questioned 324 marketers: “Do you believe it is appropriate for your brand to take a stance on politically charged issues?”
The results unveiled that a resounding 78.6% of businesses don’t think it is. The reasons were: “It would have a negative effect on the company’s ability to attract and retain customers and partners.” (67.8%) And “It would make the company stand out in the marketplace in a way that was unwanted.” (59.5%)
Perhaps brands are still scarred from Starbucks’ miserable campaign back in 2015, whereby the multi-million dollar company set out to tackle racial divide. Undertaken during a time of intense racial tension in the US, they had their baristas scribble ‘race together’ onto their cup.
Needless to say, users weren’t convinced or overly inspired by Starbucks’ — slightly self-endorsing? — marketing hoax. But just because their political attempts flopped almightily, it doesn’t mean that yours will.
When brands take a stand and are sort-of successful
On May 17th 2019, McDonald’s in Edinburgh, temporarily suspended ice cream and milkshake sales. Far-right campaigner Nigel Farage was visiting the city as part of his political trail, and had already been decorated with milkshakes at earlier stops. Cue… Burger King!
Fast-food competitor Burger King controversially stepped in on the same day, to announce via Twitter that their sweet desserts would be on sale, leaving their followers eating out of their hands.
Despite BK’s tweet not pleasing everyone – this was never the intention – the post drew attention to Burger King’s values and morals as a company, and their products. It also proved that a multi-million dollar fast-food chain can care about the current political climate…unlike McDonald’s? BK’s risky move was rewarded with 20,000+ retweets and over 100,000 likes — that’s whopping!
Similarly, Marmite laid it on thick, with a recent advertising campaign which satirically referred to Brexit’s undecided, inconclusiveness.
The campaign also drew parallels between Marmite’s love-hate reputation and divisive in-out attitudes of the nation as it stands. The infamous spread racked up over 8,000 likes and 1,000+ retweets. Not bad for a stand-alone image when everyone’s always banging on about video content these days.
Avoid being controversial for the wrong reasons
It’s easy for brands to get caught up in “shock tactics” or ad misplacement, fuelled by a desire to be seen and heard by the masses. But, at what cost? Ensure your brand doesn’t end up on this infamous list of baddies.
It’s essential for your brand to avoid being brash, if that’s not what your product represents. As cliche as it sounds, it’s imperative for your firm to stay true to its branding – even if that does mean ruffling a few feathers.