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Random Acts of Branding: Sharing the Happy

Happiness is something we all strive for, as humans and as marketers. In today’s 24/7 digital world, we often get so wrapped up in negative messaging—politics, news, social media blunders and customer service—that we search for moments in our day that evoke happiness like cute videos of puppies, a captured random act of kindness, or a happily-ever-after news segment.

Brands are noticing this and taking advantage. And we’ve seen it work. The growth of social media in recent years means that it’s easier than ever for brands to get their messages to the right audiences. How that message is packaged is key.

Molson Canadian’s Beer Fridge, WestJet’s Fort McMurray Strong, Air Canada’s Gift of Home for the Holidays, TD’s Automated Thank You machines… The moments created by these brands were visibly special for those they engaged. Each moment is unique in its execution, but they all have one thing in common: they were captured and shared with a wider audience, reaching millions of viewers—viewers who are customers, and potential customers. These executions shared a moment of happiness, while increasing brand loyalty, awareness and affinity.

The executions by these brands were a wonderful surprise for those who experienced them first-hand, but make no mistake—they were carefully planned. From employee engagement to customer relations, content strategy and brand storytelling, carefully crafted experiences offer an opportunity to engage multiple audiences, across multiple channels, in a highly effective way.

But it’s not easy. If executed well, your brand demonstrates a commitment to your customers. If not, you risk being perceived as inauthentic and opportunistic.

So what does it take to create a successful execution?
 

Plan


First and foremost, build a concept that ties to your brand narrative and values. Consider all of the angles—Why are you doing this? What are your goals? Who are you engaging? How are you engaging them? How will you capture it? Where will you share it? How can you generate the most buzz? Are you engaging on social in real-time, or are you executing first, sharing later? What will it cost you, and what’s the potential return on investment?

These are all important questions to consider as you storyboard your execution and determine your strategy and approach.
 

Engage


This is a great opportunity to engage your employees. If your execution is designed to bring happiness to your customers, bring in your employees to deliver the cheer. Not only does it create a more authentic experience for recipients, it boosts team morale and engages departments across your company in your marketing strategy. While there are marketing benefits to this execution, at the end of the day, this is about tying your brand to a happy, positive experience.
 

Execute


Get to it! With a solid plan in place, and an excited team, get out there and make the magic happen.
 

Capture


At the centre of the brand examples listed earlier lies high quality video. Video allows your social audience to experience the surprise and delight moment from the comfort of their couch and it gives you the opportunity to share the happiness. Depending on the goal of your execution, video content could play two very different roles:

  • If you’re capturing and sharing in real-time, it serves as a follow-up recap video to compliment your real-time social engagement. In this instance, your video could be a combination of high quality, professionally shot video and more organic video—think footage captured from your team members’ smartphones.
     
  • If you’re capturing first, sharing later, you’ll want high resolution video, with strong audio quality, ideally capturing multiple angles and reactions. This is likely a greater investment, but if you’ve determined your ROI is high, it could be the right fit.
     

Share


There are many ways to share your content. From your social media pages to your website, to earned media pitching—the more channels you engage, the more eyeballs (and hearts) you can reach.

Your social followers are already invested in your brand. Share with them and encourage them to engage with you. Hashtags are easy ways to help your content build momentum online. Your social channels also provide an opportunity to boost your content. Small budget? No problem. Putting a modest budget behind your post to boost it can increase its reach considerably. Even $50 can go a long way on a platform like Facebook.

The best random acts of branding are those that genuinely demonstrate who your brand is, and what you stand for. They’re impactful because they’re in line with who you are as a company. They resonate because they fit with the experience your customers expect from your brand.

Random acts of branding have become a growing trend in recent years, but spreading happiness is something that will never go out of style.