5 key ingredients in creating successful brand recognition

When creating marketing material for your brand, there are some key ingredients that can help in virality, or in other words, make it so crash hot that people can’t help but to share or remember it.

Your branding foundation inevitably helps to lay the foundation on the type of content you can create that not only aligns with your brand’s tone but assists in recognition. Want to know more about that? Here is a throwback to ‘what the heck is a brand strategy and why you need one, by our friend Anita Siek at Wordfetti.

While we all know it takes a combination of things to make something work, we’ve listed below some campaign/content examples that made a great impact spanning back to what was considered two of the ‘first’ real viral campaigns of their time.

So, what do we consider the 5 key ingredients to be when creating for your audience? Timing, creativity, placement, social listening, and trending topics. We explain below.

1. Timing: Oreo

During the Super Bowl XLVII (2013) there was a blackout. The whole NFL stadium turned into darkness. Oreo capitalised on the moment. Knowing that everyone would turn to their phones (in the stadium and at home) while the problem was ironed out, Oreo jumped on Twitter and tweeted to everyone “Power out, no problem” with an image showcasing a cookie in dim lighting with the line ‘you can still dunk in the dark’.

A day after it was posted, the tweet accumulated around 15,000 retweets and 20,000 likes on Facebook. The image also garnered 525 million (USD) earned media impressions. Twitter followers increased by 8,000. Instagram jumped from 2,000 pre-game to 36,000 post-game, with 16,000 photos relating to the ‘Dunk in the Dark’ post uploaded to personal accounts. Now, keep in mind this is 2013, a huge response. (Valens Research, 2013).

By watching the game and waiting for an opportunity to seize, they managed to almost take the attention from the game itself with their clever and timely response. The key takeaway, when something big is happening, being the first to respond to something quickly that is the perfect concoction of both relevance and creativity can have a huge impact (hence trending content on socials).

Dunk in the Dark Campaign - Oreo
Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark campaign – 2013

2. Creativity: Carlton Draught

Possibly one of, if not the best, creative and impactful beer ads, or ads in general, ever made in my opinion. So much so that 17 years later, I can still remember it vividly, and the product it was selling. This ad was one of the first of its kind, almost giving meaning to the word ‘viral’. Keep in mind, this is a TVC (TV Campaign) PRE social media boom. I’m not sure what makes it so appealing, but it’s the combination of song choice, the battle scene vibes, the humour both visual and spoken, or the sheer scale of 3000 humans they had to manage to pull it off (extras from the Lord of the Rings movie at the time). I’m going to say all the above.

At the time, more than half a million people viewed the ad online before it got to TV screens! In the first 24 hours, it had been downloaded over 160,000 times (The Brag Media, 2021).

In the 2 weeks, post-release, the ad had been seen in over 130 countries and was covered by the press worldwide (Branding news, 2019). Remember we’re talking 2005 here, my boyfriend (now husband) had only had the internet for 1 year, on the other hand, I was an early adapter #1998represent.

Just watched it again, still awesome. Creativity at its finest.

It's a Big Ad, Carlton Draught Ad 2005
Click to watch Carlton Draught’s, It’s a Big Ad campaign from 2005.

3. Placement: Veet

This brings me to an ad by Veet, that I still consider one of my FAVOURITE and memorable print pieces. In 2009, Veet, knowingly realising that people, especially newspapers, would be talking about the departure of George Bush Jr, played their ace. They created a campaign banner with the tongue and cheek one-liner ‘Goodbye Bush’ for their hair removal cream.

Everything works, from the colours, the simplicity, to the sheer fact that they didn’t even need to picture the product for people to make the association. When you put the right message in the right place, to the right audience, at the right time, great things can happen.

Veet's Goodbye Bush Campaign
Veet’s ‘Goodbye Bush’ Campaign, 2009

4. Social listening: Footlocker

Now, in more recent times, the Footlocker Twitter response, which is a much simpler approach; social listening. When there is attention on a subject, especially when your brand name is thrown into the ring for whatever reason, it’s important to be on top of your game. In the below example we see a person comment a joke on Machine Gun Kelly’s attire, which just so happens to look like a Footlocker uniform (brand touchpoint FYI). Footlocker replies with a simple response that makes you smile. Was it out there funny? No, but they showed up when they were mentioned and people like the fact when brands act human. This makes them relatable.

Footlocker Response to Machine Gun Kelly x Megan Fox proposal.
Source: Twitter. Footlocker Twitter responds to fan on Twitter about Machine Gun Kelly proposal to Megan Fox – 2022

5. Trending topics: Lamb Australia

One thing is for sure, the ability to adapt and move away from previous goals was something a lot of businesses needed to do. Again, social listening or listening in general. The Australian Open and Novak Djokovic’s Visa had the whole of Australia talking about whether he should be allowed into the country. For a good few weeks, it was plastered all over the media. Lamb Australia decided to jump in on the action, creating a humorous billboard stating ‘Everyone’s welcome at our BBQ. Not Djoking. The irony in the statement makes it that much more hilarious, regardless of what side of the fence you sit on. The fact that they jumped onto the trending topic quickly made their ad relevant. It ticked all the boxes in regards to Australian humour, the brands tone, placement, memorability and timing, generating attention across the country.

Australian Lamb – OOH Campaign ‘Everyone’s welcome at our BBQ. Not Djoking’ – 2022

All in all, with the exception of the Carlton Draught TVC (considered at the time to be one of the most expensive ads ever made) these ideas are reachable to small to medium businesses. All it takes is listening and watching and adding a bit of creativity. When you understand your audience, placement should be easy because you KNOW where they will be. And, if you don’t, that is a good suggestion for you to research that exact topic for this year.

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