Topic: Book Club

Sticky Situations: Strategy For Co's & Causes?

Posted by Anonymous on 500 Points
In marketing we can leverage the stickiness of others (be it a notable politico, celeb or biz mogul) to promote our own causes. And sometimes in very interesting ways. Look at the very sticky celeb that is Paris Hilton (ugh). Due to her drunk-driving incarceration, a recommendation I’ve made to MADD is to leverage the media spotlight as they’ve an opportunity to launch some sticky campaigns in support of their own cause (due to all the media frenzy, they have a better chance of media interviews, awareness, etc.).

I then think of the soon-to-be-released movie by Michael Moore (a documentary titled “Sicko” that takes a hard look at the U.S. healthcare system). I wonder if any new companies will be leveraging Moore’s spotlight to promote their own offerings (since healthcare plans are becoming a retail marketplace, it could provide quite an opportunity for new services, no doubt existing companies will need a plan to unleash some rebuttals to the film).

Point is, with all the ‘noise’ of competing ads and stories, leveraging the spotlight can provide VERY fertile ground for a companies and causes to unleash sticky campaigns of their own…and I often wonder why more don’t. Do these sticky situations offer an opportunity for sticky campaigns? Have you seen any lately that leveraged this strategy? Or have you spotted any situations where you wondered why companies didn’t leverage the spotlight in hopes of standing out (or sticking)?

Moderator Note: This discussion refers to the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath (topic: communications). Click the title to learn more. Then join the conversation. We'd LOVE for you to participate!
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  • Posted on Author
    "How many companies have thought through their own "idea triggers"? "

    Well said with the "triggers" nomenclature. The thing is, marketers have been practicing "scenario-planning" for some time but that's usually crafted around a competitor or a regulatory event. PR folks do "crisis communications" but they're not, by and largely, exercising any mobilization of the marketing troops WHEN an opp does happen. It counfouds me as they have a captive audience and it's rather inexpensive (especially with social media).

    I 'think' they are planning for a defensive strategy (e.g. a competitor calls them on something, a new law they're lobbying against) but they're not thinking OPPORTUNITIES.

    Marketing is about good strategy--absolutely. But it's also about steadfast action and this is where I'm seeing a lot of companies dropping the ball when they have a superior shot at sticky campaigns. We'll see what others have to say, thanks Dan ;-).
  • Posted by steven.alker on Accepted
    Dear Christina

    From my experience it depends on how morbid or otherwise the media event is perceived to be. Even a decent message capitalising on heightened awareness will fail and reflect badly on the originator if the sentiment is wrong.

    For example, a Scottish Company I used to work for manufactured flammable gas alarms for commercial, production and offshore applications. When a hotel in the Highlands blew up, because of an undetected plant-room gas leak, there was considerable publicity due to the death toll and the avoidable nature of the incident.

    So my Marketing Director wrote a sensitive letter to the CEO’s of all Hotels in the UK with details on how to avoid such a situation and a data sheet for our plant-room gas alarms.

    He might have saved some lives with his actions, but the hate mail we received for seemingly cashing-in on a tragedy ensured that we didn’t win any business. When the Piper Alpha gas rig blew, we were so sensitive about being accused of the same mistake again, that all the sales team were told not to openly mention it, or to refer to the competitor’s equipment which failed to produce an alarm in time to save the crew.

    The converse was true for an instrument company which manufactured thermometers for the production, transport and retail of perishable, fresh food. Every health scare, every food poisoning incident and every subsequent piece of legislation sent sales soaring.

    Horses for courses I guess!

    Steve Alker

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