Brief #83: Make marketing fun again

This content originally appeared on October 7, 2021 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. 
Subscribe here.

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe.

Today, we’re discussing…

  • How brands responded to the Facebook-pocalypse
  • Customer feedback matters more than you think 
  • #BrandCrush: Big Ass Fans 💘

How brands responded to the Facebook-pocalypse

“When events like [Facebook’s outage] happen, there is a small window of time when everyone is on high alert about stuff around it…” shared Sameer Kamat, CEO of TINT and Filestack. There is also a small window of time for brands to capture people’s attention

As Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp hustled to keep the lights on, social media users turned to Twitter for updates (and found themselves in a comical situation). 

Twitter quickly recognized the opportunity to stand out and posted “hello literally everyone” from the @Twitter account. A great article by Carmen Collins, Senior Social Media Manager for Cisco’s Talent Brand team, mentions how this sparked responses from major brands like McDonald’s, WhatsApp, Oscar Meyer, and Tim Horton’s (among others). For context, Twitter’s original tweet now has over 3 million likes, 785k shares, and over 100k comments. 

Twitter tweeted "hello literally everyone" and WhatsApp and McDonald's responded

McDonald’s even got some hilarious “customer feedback” (and engagement) out of this opportune moment – where a customer snarkily asked, “don’t you have ice cream machines to fix?” Talk about honest user-generated content. 

McDonald's responding to WhatApp with "it's the audacity for me" and a user shared asked "and you? Don't you have ice cream machines to fix?"

If there’s a lesson here, it’s this: don’t take social media too seriously. It’s okay (and encouraged) for brands to have a personality – but marketers should read the room before jumping into sensitive conversations. 

TIP: Practice social listening, trust your social media team, engage with fans, and have some fun

Customer feedback matters more than you think 

Speaking of social listening…

Seventy percent (70%) of consumers will consider customer ratings or reviews before making a buying decision, and at least 41% of them will read four to seven customer reviews to gain insights on a product.

For brands, customer reviews are a gold mine because if thoughtfully repurposed, this social proof can drastically improve conversion rates across product pages, emails, paid ads, and more. Customer reviews (and user-generated content) are also opportunities to improve people’s experience with your brand. 

A three star review on Dollar Shave Club saying "works great, but sprayer issue"

According to Marketing Dive, eighty-three percent (83%) of Gen Zers view online shopping as an experience rather than a mere transaction – and nearly two-thirds (64%) of Gen Zers want to keep buying almost everything online. 

Considering some B2C brands, like Nike and PepsiCo, have already expanded to D2C business models, there’s no better time to capture UGC and learn from customer feedback; these insights can be used to improve the brand experience and create content that turns customers into loyal advocates. 

After all, creating a great experience is about letting people know that you’re listening in the first place

What we’re learning

#BrandCrush: Big Ass Fans 💘

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Big Ass Fans *is* an actual brand (they’re the largest manufacturer in the world of HVLS fans) – and they’ve done a great job at turning negative feedback into something positive, which we totally dig. 

It all started with a brand-created TikTok video we accidentally stumbled upon. The video led with, “Believe it or not, not everyone is a big fan of our name” – and continued with a compilation of negative comments submitted by nonfans, including: “your name is repulsive,” “very unprofessional,” and “you should be ashamed.” The video has over 6.5 million views, 1 million likes – and it looks like TikTokers are “fans” of the name (pun 100% intended).  

The company even repurposes negative comments across their office walls to really keep things on-brand. Think of it as user-generated content and omnichannel marketing with a twist. 

Signs at the Big Ass Fans headquarters featuring negative reviews like "I wouldn't want to meet the people that work at this classless place" and "your company name is ridiculous. Grow up!" and "I take offense to your name"

On a more positive note, if you visit their website, you’ll also see they encourage customers to submit product photos alongside their testimonials – which adds a more credible layer of social proof. 

We’re still not convinced of the name… but the moral of the story is this: don’t forget to have FUN. 

Until next week!