If you watched the Super Bowl, chances are you remember the big Superdome blackout. And whether you believe it was caused by Beyonce or not, one thing is for certain – the time in the dark was key for a few savvy brands who jumped on the moment to create some of the most memorable advertising of 2013 thus far. When marketers take current and breaking events and use them in realtime advertisements for their products, they are culture jacking.
The perfect example of culture jacking from this year’s Super Bowl was Oreo. When the lights went out, Oreo took to social media and posted their now iconic “You can still dunk in the dark” message.
Central Ohio PRSA held a fun, interactive professional development event that let area PR practitioners put their culture jacking skills to work. Led by the extremely creative folks at Resource Interactive and Cincinnati’s Powerhouse Factories, we all learned a ton of information to take back to the workplace to make our own brands the most savvy culture-jackers out there.
First, always keep your target audience in mind, but be more flexible and target relevant conversations to become the culture jacking master. Tara Yavorsky, senior social strategist from the digital marketing agency Resource, stressed the importance of the real-time tweets when culture jacking. Step one should always be to cancel any scheduled tweets and man your social media channels with a real person. The process of targeting audiences and discussion topics based on breaking news is called the real-time shift.
Second, as Ashley Walters and Taylor Wiegert of Cincinnati-based Powerhouse Factories described, there are three methods that organizations can use to culture jack. The opportunistic approach involves focusing on cultural events and conversations in order to find ways to connect your brand to the environment. This is the most basic level of culture jacking. Next comes the reactive approach. With this approach, brands respond to consumers who encounter unmet needs with a conversational focus on building your brand. The final method of culture jacking is the proactive approach. With this method you offer unexpected support in an unexpected way. This is the best way to build rapport with an audience – and if you do it right you’ll create a culture of loyal fans.
Finally, be prepared and have a framework ready for the best moment to culture jack. Create and train a team on a process to handle real-time marketing situations. Be sure to assign roles, check on the approval process with your client and create set guidelines to decide when to engage in culture jacking.
A big takeaway that Tara, Ashley and Taylor offered is that not every brand can be Oreo. In fact, not every brand NEEDS to be Oreo. What is most important for any PR pro is to make sure that you are ready to culture jack at a moment’s notice, no matter what the scale. Always be listening to the conversation so that you can turn your brand into the culture jacking leader.
Culture jacking Champions: Winners of the culture jacking exercise pose with presenters from Resource and Powerhouse Factories.