How Brand Strategy Teams Capitalize on Big Moments

April 19, 2024

How Brand Strategy Teams Capitalize on Big Moments

April 19, 2024

Group Gordon’s Morgan Schare shares tips on how to plan around milestone events to enhance brand strategy.

Part of every brand strategy team’s annual planning process involves taking a look at the calendar to see what’s going on in the world. Awareness months, holidays, major sporting events, cultural milestones, and other happenings offer a prime moment of opportunity to capture the public’s attention.

If done right, brand activations coinciding with these big events are a chance for companies to be creative, demonstrate that they’re part of a cultural zeitgeist, and reach a wider audience. However, with so many voices jockeying to be part of the same conversation, it’s important that companies remain authentic in their brand strategy and plan ahead to capitalize on the moment successfully.

Planning matters in brand strategy

Choose your moment

Good brand strategy teams don’t jump on every opportunity they see. Find a way to tie what’s happening to your brand and design tactics that demonstrate why it’s relevant. Delta Airlines showed this principle in action through its smart strategy around the recent total solar eclipse. Recognizing the opportunity, Delta offered a unique path-of-totality flight in which passengers had the opportunity to witness the eclipse at 30,000 feet.

Theoretically, any airline could have done the same thing—but Delta got ahead of its competitors by offering a one-of-a-kind experience to its audience while demonstrating the brand’s relevancy during a cultural phenomenon that had already garnered widespread attention. The “path of totality” name was catchy and helped to generate excitement for the event. Delta’s marketing was so successful that it added a second path-of-totality flight to meet demand.

Think before you leap

As the big day (or week, or month) gets closer, brands feel pressure to act quickly, lest they miss the moment. But not thinking your plan all the way through can have worse repercussions than not acting at all. One example of a poorly executed campaign is Burger King UK’s acknowledgement of International Women’s Day in 2021. The company intended to raise awareness of gender disparities in the restaurant industry that disadvantage women with an empowering message. The result? The brand sent out a tweet that said “Women belong in the kitchen.” Needless to say, this statement was taken out of context and ridiculed—and the brand’s real message about a new scholarship program for female employees was buried in the chaos.

Thoroughly vetting any strategy, and understanding your audience, is key before setting your plan in motion. After sending the tweet, Burger King received backlash for its poor messaging and had to apologize.

Opportunities for brand strategy teams

The next U.S. total solar eclipse won’t occur until 2044, but there will be plenty of major events between now and then that might be the right fit for your brand. This year alone, we’ll see the Olympic Games in Paris, New York Fashion Week, and the US Open. Think about what might align strategically, thematically, and culturally with your work.

Remember, don’t be afraid to get creative with your execution and do your research as your plan comes together.