When the Jack Daniel’s brand became the first spirits brand to advertise on Twitter, we had one clear objective: we wanted to build awareness for the brand’s first new product in more than a decade. While many brands have used promoted trends to become part of the consumer conversation around trending topics, that conversation would be an ancillary benefit for us. We wanted the reach that a promoted trend could give us in exposing the new product, so our topic was #JackDanielsHoney. Here’s what we learned:
1. The objective needs to drive the strategy and tactics, as always. The strongest tool in our arsenal to build awareness for our new product is the strength of the Jack Daniel’s trademark. It had real stopping power on Twitter. When people saw the brand name in the words used for the trending topic, they noticed it. When we experimented with a topic that strayed from our awareness objective towards a conversation objective, and didn’t include the Jack Daniel’s brand name, we lost momentum. If the objective is awareness, use the brand name!
2. Keep it simple; don’t try to do too much at once. In a medium that boils everything down into 140 characters, folks aren’t expecting or wanting deep engagement. They want quick and relevant information. Our tweets included links to our Facebook page containing videos and a “story”; what many folks wanted was a simple explanation of the product. We should have sent them to a simple landing page with product photos and information, with links elsewhere if they wanted to go deeper.
3. Be flexible. Folks ended up using the words of our trending topic in ways we didn’t expect. And of course, that was great for us, because it did indeed create conversation, even though that wasn’t our primary objective. Some folks thought the product was a type of honey, and talked about putting it on their pancakes. Others thought it was meant to be used in answer to a female bartender, and still another group thought it was intended as a description of a southern woman. Each one of these threads gave us a chance to respond in a different way.
As Brian Phipps points out in this great post about Twitter strategy, twitter is a platform for shared discovery. Brands want to make sure that the discovery process is easy. And once they have discovered the brand, conversations can begin.