Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 15, 2013

Real-Time Marketing: How Brands Successfully News-Jack

In today’s digital marketing landscape, breaking news occurs every minute — sometimes even in seconds — and we’re seeing more and more brands take advantage of this condensed news cycle to leverage real-time marketing, which is all about connecting what’s happening right now to your brand. Real-time marketing, or “news-jacking” as it’s sometimes called, is what good public relations always has done, but now we have the opportunity to leverage social networks and online conversations to make an impact in minutes.

Many brands have had success seizing upon a trend or breaking news story to connect with their audiences (Bertolli, Oreo, Nokia UK, and McDonald’s, to name a few), but it’s important to remember that in the quest to be fast, we also must be thoughtful, so we’re not just making noise but enhancing our overall brand strategy. For real-time marketing to be memorable, you must make sure you are talking to your core audience; otherwise, it’s a one-time event that may not be remembered by your brand fans.

Remember the following tips when implementing real-time marketing for your brand:

  • Always benchmark your real-time marketing opportunities against your overall strategy and make sure no activity is done in isolation — every tweet, video and Facebook post should align with the brand vision.
  • Build strong, trusted relationships with your agency partners so you operate like a well-oiled machine when opportunities arise. Incorporate listening and analysis into your approach to measure the effects of your real-time marketing efforts during and after execution.
  • Ask yourself, “How does this discussion matter more to my brand’s core consumer?” Tide was able to figure out the answer to this quickly, capitalizing on the use of its detergent after a Daytona 500 spill.

The media always will look to the news cycle for content, so be sure to listen actively and find the right opportunity for your brand.

Join Alissa Blate at the PRSA 2013 International Conference on Sunday, Oct. 27, for her session, “Real-Time Marketing: How Brands Successfully Culture-Jack the Big Moments.” Register here.

Alissa J. Blate is the executive vice president and global practice leader of MWW’s award-winning consumer lifestyle marketing group. She is known for the measurable impact she has made in achieving tangible business results for major brands, as well as for her success in building and managing MWW’s industry-leading global consumer marketing practice. She has more than two decades of experience in brand marketing, public relations and integrated communications with clients in the consumer packaged goods, technology, food and beverage, restaurant, retail, entertainment, sports and fitness, destination marketing, luxury lifestyle, real estate, financial services and automobile sectors.

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