The war in Ukraine is in the spotlight on the world stage, and Russia’s devastating military attacks on Ukraine occupy many people’s digital screens. So, unsurprisingly, you might begin wondering how to use moment marketing to make a positive difference in the community.
During a disturbing crisis like this, moment marketing isn’t about creating marketing material out of someone’s misery but delivering a timely message to make a positive impact.
Many brands in the past have successfully and unsuccessfully used moment marketing. You can use these examples to understand better what to and what not to do in your campaigns. (See the ideas for moment marketing campaigns and past examples at the end of the article) Before we head to that, let’s see what’s moment marketing and why you should consider using this approach to contribute to a positive outcome by being sensitive to what’s happening.
What is Moment Marketing?
Moment marketing is a marketing approach you can use during trending moments, whether it’s a global crisis, war, or any event your customers care about at a specific time. Sometimes it means taking advantage of ongoing events to boost your brand visibility and sales, while other times, it means joining the conversation for lasting engagement and positive outcomes.
Moment marketing isn’t always about growing revenue at a particular moment rather than sowing the seeds for future success and making a meaningful connection with your audience.
Why is Moment Marketing Important to Your Brand?
While you might already have a well-built marketing strategy for your brand with successful campaigns running, you might ask yourself, why should you suddenly turn towards moment marketing? Will your new campaigns relevant to trending moments be worth the effort?
Here are the key reasons why moment marketing works and should be part of your marketing strategy.
Moment Marketing Allows You to Connect With Larger Audiences
When you create marketing content relevant to events thousands, or even millions, of people care about, you’ll reach far more people beyond your audience. That’s because when you create relevant, to-the-point content in response to what’s going on in the world or local communities, chances are your subscribers will want to share it with others gaining far more attention than traditional marketing content. Besides, you can use trending hashtags such as #standwithukraine, which currently has more than half a million posts on Instagram. These hashtags allow you to position your brand in the ongoing conversation and reach larger audiences on social media. Moment marketing content is the only way to achieve this, and your posts appear in those users’ feeds who follow these trending tags around a specific moment.
Moment Marketing Content is Relevant
The second primary reason moment marketing works and is crucial to your brand is the relevance of moment marketing content to your audience’s interests.
Many of your customers are now wondering if World War III is right around the corner. Some are worried about a possible nuclear catastrophe in Eastern Europe. Others spend several hours daily watching the news and reading about Russian war victims in Ukraine.
Americans in many cities rally in support of Ukrainians. They collect donations and supplies for humanitarian aid. So even though they’re far away from the epicenter of the war, the conflict became part of many Americans’ lives.
More than 246k online users in the U.S. search for the term “Ukraine” on Google, while more than 40k search for Ukraine News. According to Google Trends, the interest in the search term “Ukraine” is at the highest point for the first time in the last two decades with a value of 100.
During unprecedented times like this, many of your customers’ needs, worries, and expectations are different from what they used to be before (when you created your marketing plan.) Maybe your content will no longer resonate with your audience. The only way to produce relevant content in response to ongoing events is to create moment marketing campaigns.
Relevant content will produce much more engagement and shares on social media platforms, increasing your brand’s visibility and allowing your brand to be part of ongoing online discussions.
Moment Marketing Campaigns Show Others You Care
Common concerns unite the nearly entire world, and if you don’t address any of them, your brand will come across as ignorant or a company that doesn’t care.
Sure, we might have missed Russia’s invasion in a tiny Eastern European country Georgia in 2008 and a five-day first European war in the 21st century. But now, even small cities like Charleston are raising Ukrainian flags, its citizens are wearing Ukrainian-themed clothes, and carrying signs to support the largest all-European country. Is there even a slight chance you don’t know about the ongoing war? Probably not. Therefore, if you don’t produce any content related to the conflict, your brand isn’t taking even a tiny action. In contrast, creating moment marketing campaigns means knowing and caring about the issue many of your customers worry about.
Ideas for Moment Marketing Campaigns
Now that we have emphasized the importance of moment marketing for your brand, it’s time to discuss what you can and shouldn’t do in your campaigns.
Support the Cause
The first thing you can do is help the cause and promote your campaign online. You can do this by donating X percentage of sales to charity funds, or agencies such as UNICEF in Ukraine, providing life-saving support to people in need. You can also donate to Red Cross Ukraine, providing humanitarian aid to war victims and helping war refugees. By doing so, you’ll allow your customers to contribute to helping war victims while shopping for your products.
We understand not all companies might have enough resources to sustain their business while helping others. If you can’t directly donate from your brand’s sales, you can use a different strategy. One can be offering your customers to pay full price on discounted items, and the amount they will pay on top of the reduced price will directly go to charity funds. That way, consumers can choose between helping war victims or buying goods at a reduced price.
Another step you can take is organizing local charity events, whether raising funds or collecting humanitarian aid. Not only will you support the cause and help people during the crisis, but you will also get publicity, appreciation, and online mentions, all beneficial to your brand reputation and visibility.
Offer Free Consultations to Refugees
Not all companies have products to sell, so if you provide services war refugees might need at the moment, you can offer them for free and promote these free services online. Luckily, you won’t need to fly overseas to provide these consultations with online communication tools but use software like Zoom to meet the victims who managed to escape the epicenter of the attacks.
If you are a therapist, immigration lawyer, or doctor, your free consultation can mean more than a donation for those who need it. More than 2 million Ukrainians have fled the country. They are dealing with various health concerns or worries while seeking refuge in other countries. In addition, the war trauma on Ukrainian refugees leaves them with an increased risk of mental health implications, such as anxiety and depression. If you think your company’s services can help with any of these concerns Ukrainian refugees are now dealing with, offering free consultations is one of the best ways to help them. Promote your free services online, ask your clients to share the link and send it to those in need, and use trending hashtags that might help increase the exposure to your content.
The war is traumatic, including for those who watch it on their digital screens, not to mention victims directly affected by the war. One of the ways you can help others and positively impact the community is by raising awareness about depression and suicide rates by having a “mental health month” as part of your marketing campaign.
You can share advice and resources on your social media and website and maybe even donate to institutions that provide education and support to those affected. By doing so, you’ll help your customers and prospects deal with the issue and show them you care about the war as well as its consequences on their mental health.
Examples of Moment Marketing Campaigns
After WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak a global pandemic, stores soon were sold out on essentials due to panic buying. One of the world’s largest toilet paper producers, Cottonelle used moment marketing to deliver a direct message to relieve consumers’ concerns and discourage them from bulk buying. Instead of trying to sell their products during the crisis, the brand urged people to “stock up on generosity.” The company launched a campaign, #ShareASquare, in partnership with the U.S.-based non-profit charity United Way. The brand allocated $1 million and one million rolls of toilet paper for United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. Moreover, every time customers shared the hashtag #ShareASquare the brand would donate an additional $1 up to $100K.
When the pandemic started, Ford was one of the first brands to acknowledge the gravity of the current moment. As a result, the company shifted the content of its ads to summarize its actions during past global-scale crises. For example, the brand recalled building military equipment during World War II. Fast forward to 2020, Ford manufactured medical equipment in short supply to help the world fight COVID-19. Ford’s ads, “Built to Lend a Hand” and “Built for Right Now,” embrace the company’s century-long commitment to its consumers and mission.
Oreo – Dunk in the Dark
Although not crisis-related, Oreo’s dunk in the dark is a textbook moment marketing campaign in marketing history.
In 2013 an unexpected power outage during the Super Bowl was an equally unpleasant surprise for everyone, including those at the stadium and marketers watching the game from their couch. The 30-minute outage stopped the play for 34 minutes giving social media marketers enough time to seize the moment and use the true power of moment marketing.
Oreo was a true winner of the marketing Super Bowl with its famous tweet “dunk in the dark.” While companies spent millions of dollars running ads during the game, Oreo pulled a marketing triumph with its simple message. During the outage, Oreo’s marketing team posted on Oreo’s Twitter account, “‘Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” The tweet made its way to marketing history, and it’s one of the most successful examples of the moment or real-time marketing. The timely tweet got more than thousands of shares and soon became viral.
Miracle – Twin Tower Sale
Not all attempts of using the power of moment marketing turn out successful. One of the best examples of unsuccessful moment marketing campaigns is “Twin Tower Sale” by Texas-based mattress brand Miracle.
Not only did the ad campaign not bring success to the brand, but it soon became the reason for the company shutting its doors and closing down the store.
Before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, their ad appeared to parody the national tragedy. Their commercial featured three store workers. While one of them was narrating about the twin sale, two workers in the back collapsed into two mattress towers. The narrator joked, “we’ll never forget,” while facing the camera. Unsurprisingly, furious social media users stormed their Facebook page with negative comments. The commercial made its way to marketing history as one of the most unsuccessful examples of moment marketing.
“We take full responsibility for our actions and sincerely regret the hurt and pain caused by this disrespectful advertising campaign,” said the store owner Mike Bonanno in his statement before permanently closing the store.
Moment marketing is a popular marketing approach you can use to build brand awareness while making a positive impact in the community by delivering the right content at the right moment to your audiences. However, keep in mind that it can also create negative publicity when done insensitively, like the above-discussed example of Miracle. Therefore, avoid using tactless content; remember to be genuine and use quality content to spread your message when it most matters to your audience.