Social Samosa gets in conversation with digital media dwellers, understanding how candid (and even the not so candid) brand moments and conversations pan out on social media & why this communication phenomenon continues to be an integral Twitter marketing technique.
In July 2021, when Zomato tweeted a day prior to their IPO opening – the brand found immense support in users and other brands. There was Treebo bringing them ‘Dahi & Shakkar‘, GOQii asking them to keep a watch over their stress, and a few BFSI brands helping them spread the word around their IPO. The tweet chain led to many memorable brand moments.
Zomato IPO was a big moment for the Indian startup industry – and when brands came in to support their peer, it ignited a brand moment that was too bright to ignore.
What is it about brands interacting with other brands that makes it so endearing? And how do these brand moments happen? Who contacts whom? What are the mechanics involved? We try to find out…
Brand Moments – A Different Kind Of Influencer Marketing
Going as far back as 2013, brand banters or rather brand moments have been a recurring engagement tactic on Twitter – Honda’s smackdown with Oreo and a few others, the tete-e-tete between Old Spice and Taco Bell, or even Amazon India and Zomato’s exchange over the latter’s many changes in logos – examples are endless.
There could be many reasons that Twitter Brand Moments create a memorable experience – it is nice to see the brands we love interact like humans – all with emotions and everything. Or the fact that the corporate executives are ready to have a little fun on social media or just how funny is the social media team to have been able to think of ‘that’ so instantly.
“Most brands have an overinflated sense of the role they play in their audience’s life. Which is why – when brands don’t take themselves very seriously, it allows for people to view them more favourably,” shares Rohan Naterwalla, Associate Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney.
But, how do these brand moments come into being?
The Mechanism Of Creating A Brand Moment
Ashish Tambe, Executive Creative Director, Kinnect explains that it is a “symbiotic relationship” where a brand gets to tap into the other brand’s follower base.
“The symbiosis pays off as the involved brands ‘borrow’ the other’s personality and ethos by the association. For instance, if brand A is known for quality products, Brand B simply by its association gets put in the same league by the consumer,” Tambe tells us.
Brand moments are executed with communication and understanding amongst respective brands teams, with almost always no monetary transaction included.
“Most of the time, these kinds of exchanges do not have an explicit commercial angle,” Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Mirum India tells Social Samosa. “Often, these may be executed by an agency that perhaps works for both the brands. Even if that is not the case and the brands have connected for a social tete-a-tete of this kind, the engagement is usually between brands of similar strengths, and if anything, it is a kind of barter of value created for each other. The business of the brands is not to earn money as an influencer but from doing their own business.”
For instance, when Paytm congratulated Zomato before its IPO launch and the latter returned the sentiment before Paytm’s IPO launch – a conversation that managed to ignite traction, mainly because of how both the brands conduct themselves on social media on a daily basis – frank, fun, and conversational.
f money gets involved, the paying brand would expect numbers and deliverables in return, which often hamper the creative integrity of any marketing initiatives and not just a brand moment.
Brand moments and banters are usually initiated through the relationship that an agency shares with other agencies or a brand shares with other brands. An agency professional handling a certain brand may spread the word or simply contact the brand they want to interact with and initiate a conversation. In very candid cases, the system is way more spontaneous – for instance when the Zomato IPO tweet started blowing, the social media teams of interacting brands must have taken notice, drafted a response, gotten quick approvals, and send it out.
However, brand moments became a regular occurrence to the point that press releases on how a brand ignited a social media banter were a norm. Where does this leave Twitter Brand Moments as an engagement tactic?
Getting it right…
It is safe to say that brand moments still do create interest, in fact ‘brands interacting with brands on Twitter’ is a common Google search.
Tambe shares that the reason Brand Moments work is the desire to see it unfold. “When brands interact, it makes them human and just as you would like to know how your favourite celebrity thinks/talks, the same rule applies when a brand behaves like a person rather than a corporate.”
Similarly, Naterwalla explains that like most things in advertising, when it works, it’s charming and hilarious. “When it doesn’t, it reminds us of bandwagonism – an indictment of the very things we deem egregious about our industry.”
Thus, the idea would be to create conversations or participate in conversations that fit the brand’s personality, stance, tone, and even overall products and offerings.
“The fitment is the most important – choose the right brand to partner with,” Naterwalla adds. “Don’t try to force-fit or oversell the product. Be human – shed reservations about how the brand talks on an everyday basis and personify it. Less is more – don’t overdo the conversation and wind it up in as minimal responses from each side as possible.”
Mehta on the other hand shares that it is important to consider why consumers may find the banter interesting? Whether it is some behind-the-scenes information of interest that is being shared, or if there is wit or some humour involved? “There is a clear need to think through the reasons why the banter will interest consumers. Else, one ends up trying to ride a trend, but may end up looking embarrassing or boring.”
The idea is to own conversations. Did the interaction lead to free earned media, as a result of everyone talking about it? Did it help the brand’s affability? Did it increase your share of voice? “Were you able to spark a conversation, or even better, own one? If the answer to one or more of these questions was a yes, then you’ve been “effective,” Naterwalla concludes.