As you may well know, the marketing landscape over the last few years has changed. Push marketing is dead and gone, digital marketing is here to stay and content marketing is proving to be absolutely crucial to the success of brand evolution and lead generation.
But what is content marketing? Melissa Harrison, Allee Creative’s founder and CEO, defines it as “the creation of relevant content that provides value to your audience by engaging them, providing answers to their pain points and, ultimately, driving action.”
She goes on to note that the most important component of content marketing is that it always provides and encourages a two-way street of communication between brands and their audiences. Always.
Therein lies what can be the struggle; there are times when certain pieces of content don’t read the way they were supposed to or translate in the intended manner. Sometimes, even the most valiant marketing efforts backfire on the organization they were supposed to benefit.
For some interesting (read: important) examples of what not to do with your marketing strategy in the months to come (or ever), read on.
KFC, Colonel Sanders and Ultra Music Festival
Earlier this year, the Ultra Music Festival held its 21st annual event on the Miami, Florida island of Virginia Key. Each year, tens of thousands of people travel from around the world for this festival, one which artists and producers aspire towards through their entire career. It is an environment where peace, love, unity and respect (PLUR – a common acronym heard at music festivals) are valued above all else. Enter KFC, the American fast food chain, deciding this was the place to be for their newest brand positioning endeavor. They purchased a time slot at the festival, during which Colonel Sanders, KFC’s mascot, bombarded the audience with five minutes of advertising. Suffice to say, people were extremely upset, from those who paid to hear actual music… to the actual musicians.
Lesson #1: Know your place and stay where you’re relevant. Your #1 goal is (and should always be) to provide your audiences and customers with what they want – not an unwelcome interruption.
Pepsi, Kendall Jenner and the Black Lives Matter movement
Easily one of the biggest scandals to strike the marketing scene in 2017 starred Pepsi and the reality TV star Kendall Jenner. The soda monopoly created a commercial that included Kendall Jenner resolving a dispute between Black Lives Matter protestors and police officers by presenting one of the police with a can of Pepsi.
This is problematic on so many levels; including the involvement of Kendall Jenner, a white woman, being the cause of resolution in a very tense, racially-charged social movement. People were extremely put off by the ad and many accused Pepsi of belittling the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lesson #2: If you’re going to take a stand on social issues, do it the right way (and think long and hard about how you’re doing it).
IHOP or IHOB?
Remember when IHOP (International House of Pancakes) decided to take a restaurant-180 to market their burgers and dinner foods instead of pancakes and breakfast foods? When they announced this change, they were met with nothing but ridicule and criticism from their customers (and some not-so-subtle mockery from the already well-established fast-food joint for burgers, Wendy’s).
Lesson #3: Remember why you started in the first place and what you set out to do. If you’re going to make a big change, be sure you are not changing your entire brand identity.
Crafting quality content marketing strategies is an art and a science. It requires both an understanding of consumer empathy as well as a data-driven mindset. Mistakes like these do happen. What matters is what we learn from them.
Did we miss any content marketing snafus in our list above? Sound off in the comments! If you and your organization have found yourself in a bit of a situation, reach out. We are here to help!