Real time marketing means: Be human

By Louis Eksteen


When Oreo’s social media team tweeted its famous “You can still dunk in the dark” brand picture (or ad) during the 2013 Super Bowl stadium blackout, running the text “Power out? No problem”, many described it as a real time marketing triumph. (Not all agreed, as real time marketing can be more than simply capitalising on an event by being fleet footed and witty on Twitter.)

During the Super Bowl this year everyone tried to be in on the real time marketing game, with less success.

According to Twitter UK marketing director Bruce Daisley, marketers can plan for real time marketing. He says one cannot plan what exactly can happen during an event of public interest, but that “you can build your capabilities and your real time mindset to try to take advantage of them happening”.

But what is this real time marketing mindset marketers can plan for?

Humanise it

Being in conversation on social platforms essentially means being human. To win at real time marketing, brands need to act like humans on social media. This means understanding your brand personality as if it’s a real person. Tweet or post within this human framework.

Brands that do not identify strongly with a real human personality or do not display human traits, should stay away from trying to act as if they are real people on social platforms. Importantly, if every tweet, post or Instagram pic has to be approved by the social media marketing committee, forget about it. Your real time marketing efforts will fail. Rather try trusting a responsible team to do a professional real time marketing job, guided by a detailed brief.

There is a difference between making mistakes and failing with real time marketing. Humans make mistakes and sometimes tweet or say the “wrong thing”. So can brands. Within the brand’s personality, of course. Stay away from doing irresponsible or stupid things, just like in real life. But a miss type or slight awkward tweet or post can make your brand seem more human, not less. All within reason though.

The  best real time marketing is therefore left to an individual or small team who are empowered to be the voice of the brand at a specific time or during a targeted event. If quirkiness is part of your brand’s personality it helps, because of the nature of social.

However, if you’re a more serious or responsible brand, such as a wealth manager, rather stay within tighter boundaries. Just like you would during a client consultation.

Real time marketing checklist

Check these boxes for a successful real time marketing effort:

  • Brand personality definition with human traits
  • Individual or team who can fully live the brand as a person
  • Disband the committee and trust the empowered brand team
  • Make adequate resources and infrastructure available
  • Choose specific events and themes, but continue to engage at other times too
  • Plan for mistakes and acknowledge and rectify. Do not make excuses or ignore mishaps