In 2013, Oreo won the Super Bowl. Sure, the Ravens actually took home the trophy, but the thing that really made a difference in the world of business (beyond causing Steelers fans everywhere to swear eternal vengeance) was the timely, lightning-fast response of Oreo’s marketing team to a less-than-desirable situation.
By contrast, this year, Beyoncé won the Super Bowl (sorry, Coldplay). All social politics aside, in her song “Formation”, she directly mentions Red Lobster, a shout-out that resulted in a 33% sales bump over the previous year’s sales on Super Bowl Sunday. Their response to the situation? A lukewarm, after-the-fact tweet that went up in the dead of night. Effective? No. And their attempt to recover from it was even worse. Sucks to suck, Red Lobster.
So, what are the takeaways from these scenarios?
1.) Know your Brand
Sure, most companies know their values, and they’ve taken the time to establish a company “voice”. But, to be effective, a brand needs to be a living thing. If it stagnates, you lose credibility. And like any living thing, it should have a personality, a point of view, and a rapport with the surrounding world. That brand persona should be evident in all aspects of your digital footprint – from your website design to the social platforms you choose to engage with, to the activities that you engage in from a digital strategy perspective.
Oreo was so dialed in that they were able to turn out a finished product in about 10 minutes in response to an entirely unanticipated event. Granted, they had a team of about 15 people on standby should something like that happen, but that doesn’t detract from how Oreo-esque the post was. Red Lobster, on the other hand, was scrambling, largely in part to the context of the reference. However, if they’d known their brand, they might have felt comfortable putting something out there that was a little more tongue-in-cheek than “Cheddar Bay Biscuits”
2.) Have a Flexible Digital Footprint in Place
Obviously, the catalyst for action for your business may not be the pressure of responding to an endorsement from an international superstar. But things like company growth, changes in service offerings, a personnel change, and even an office move can require immediate action. By having a scalable, flexible web presence, your organization is better suited to quickly respond to external or internal pressures.
Which will ultimately reflect better on you from your customers, prospects, and brand advocates? After all, wouldn’t you rather be thought of like an Oreo when it comes to your digital presence than a Red Lobster?