Spotlight on the C-Store Shopper

Retailers discuss ways of understanding, engaging current and potential consumers.

By  Melissa Vonder Haar, Tobacco Editor

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Inserting a brand into a timely situation in a witty, memorable way is certainly one way to get people talking about it, something Goldner describes as “real-time marketing.” Oreo memorably did just that during last year’s Super Bowl blackout, tweeting an on-the-fly ad pointing out “You can still dunk in the dark.” It was a simple campaign people remember nearly a year later.
 
“Most brands are not giving their social media the control to do that,” Goldner said, pointing out that a company must have a lot of faith in its social-media people to allow the kind of quick turnaround required for real-time marketing. Yet successful real-time marketing moves such as Oreo’s get the public talking about the brand—and sharing the content with friends, spreading the message much more quickly than even the most-liked Facebook page could on its own.
 
“When you have more than half a million followers on Facebook, only about 15% will see any given post in their feed,” said Goldner. “The way to up that number is to get your followers engaged and sharing that content on their own walls.” 
 
Real-time marketing isn’t the only way to get social-media users to spread a brand’s message: The best way to accomplish this goal is to develop compelling content. Goldner believes quality content will better engage consumers in the long run than coupons or value-driven campaigns.
 
“People are most likely to share something about a brand via content,” he said. “Successful consumer product goods companies aren’t just doing sweepstakes, but great content as well.” 
 
For example, Red Bull caters to its audience by producing extreme lifestyle content, including last year’s Red Bull Stratos campaign that had Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner freefalling in a pressure suit from 24 miles into the stratosphere—thus breaking the sound barrier—before safely parachuting to earth. Although the fall lasted only 10 minutes, Red Bull is still using content from the campaign, including a “What Felix Saw” video, shot entirely from the skydiver’s perspective.
 
Though this is probably a larger-scale project than the average c-store retailer would invest in, there are lessons that can be learned from its success. Goldner encouraged the retailers in attendance to look at their audience and their brand, then develop a quality, meaningful content strategy that speaks to both.
 
“You can’t have social-media success without a content strategy,” Goldner said. “Keeping up with the latest content is the No. 1 reason users follow brands.”

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