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Riding The Wave: Marketing Yourself - Part 5

A key element of marketing is making it relevant by tying in with trends and ‘fevers’. Whether it’s the bakery who sprinkled their cupcakes with bright blue crystals for the last episode of Breaking Bad (google it) or the thousands of companies who go pink for Breast Cancer Week, don moustaches for Movember or hire footballers for their ads during the World Cup, every marketer knows it pays to ride the wave of a fever.

This is particularly relevant in the fast paced, obsessive world of social media. As Sohail Y, Creative Director with production company UK Vibe, says:

Stay current and create content with whatever the hype is at that point of time.

We once created a 15 second video for Facebook featuring Anthony Joshua (professional boxer) knocking out his opponent, put some music over it, posted it the day after his fight and it reached to over a million people, gained over 1.8k reactions and got over 200,000+ views.”

I always advise clients to react quickly if they can to the news agenda. Watch the news as you get ready in the morning and, if you can jump on a story with a fresh angle, jump head first. A survey released that morning says 85% of women feel guilty about eating chocolate. A psychologist goes onto Lorraine Live to chat about it. You – with your cupcake emporium in Leicester city centre – offer a free triple chocolate muffin to every woman who turns up and shouts to the heavens “I don’t feel guilty!” Social media gold dust and, on a slow news day, a great local story about women crowding into your shop bellowing to the rooftops with gleeful abandon (trick of the trade-you can set up a handful of friends to do that). Now that one’s off the top of my head (I was thinking about the chocolate waiting for me when I finish work – sorry, I’m a simple creature) but you get the point. React. Be relevant. I’ve had some of my best marketing ideas watching someone talk about a survey result on BBC Breakfast as I do my make-up.

Which brings me onto the hallowed PR stunt – gold dust if it works, an expensive embarrassment if it doesn’t.

Be confident in it before you do it. For instance, make sure you can deliver on promotions if the take up is high – many huge companies who should know better have their horror stories. The free electric toothbrush promotion at Waterloo station which resulted in police breaking up fights and helping hyperventilating people out of the crush. The free flights promotion which bankrupt Hoover. There but for the grace of God. Only offer what you can afford to deliver on, as you never know how well the promotion might be received.

Another great way to market yourself is to get involved in what is already happening in your community, especially when it comes making donations or fundraising. If everyone is swept up in a local fundraising campaign or doing the rounds of summer festivals, get swept up with them and be associated with the positivity and goodwill out there. Local businesses make themselves a part of the community by donating to schools, fayres, festivals, causes and charities. Can you donate your product or service rather than money? As Alan Chapman, writer, producer and musician with Rude Angel, a band with a mission to raise suicide awareness since losing lead vocalist Lianne Ashberry in 2015, advises: “Be kind considerate and friendly.

Remember always look to give as well as receive. Whatever you do, do it with a smile and positivity and love – whether you are on Facebook or Twitter, or giving out flyers in a high street.”

Riding the wave also means joining forces with others where you can to tie in with the likes of Mothers/Fathers/Valentine’s Day or a huge sporting event, royal wedding or national anniversary. Can you get together with another company to do a limited edition something or other? This comes with some words of warning though. Firstly, only join forces with other brands or media who share your target market. Secondly, be careful which other brands you associate yourself with: a negative association can be hard to shake off. Also, consider sponsorship. My dad’s small electrical firm once sponsored the local football team. Week in, week out, those chaps ran around in shirts emblazoned with my dad’s logo. My dad a) didn’t have a clue about marketing and b) was tighter than a Kardashian’s jeans. But he knew one thing – the name of his business popped into the heads of thousands of people throughout Leicester over the years he sponsored that team.

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