A curious trend is taking place in the digital landscape of our country's brands. Firms, big and small, are increasingly taking to social media to post witty, cheeky and sometimes risqué creatives in their Facebook pages. Sometimes, it is being done as a response to an ongoing meme trend. For example, when the iPhone 11 with its triple back cameras was first released, a lot of people began making funny memes mocking the trypophobia-inducing back cameras. In no time, at least 25-30 Bangladeshi brands also waded into the conversation, trying to post hilarious creatives about the triple cameras and tying their brand along with it.
Such creatives, when done right, can generate considerable noise in the digital world and boost brand awareness via shares. However, it is also quite important for marketers to realize that a one-off viral creative Facebook post is just a small part of an overall digital marketing strategy for a brand. Firstly, creating a viral post is extremely difficult. No active Bangladeshi brand can claim to be making viral posts consistently. I say active, because, the only notable brand which did succeed here is George's Café, which is no longer operational. On an empirical level, you can realistically expect to have a creative of yours turn viral maybe once a year. So it is not wise to spend all your time trying to achieve that once-a-year success, especially when it leads to modest marketing gains overall (if not, George's Café would have still been in business).
Unfortunately, that is what some brands are trying to do. In recent times, we are seeing a serious uptick of online brands trying to post funny or witty creatives every chance they get. In most cases, they are failing. A friend who works in an agency mentioned that a new firm they are trying to on-board cited "making viral contents like Madchef and Cheez" as the top priority for their digital strategy. Few things will sound as ridiculous if you are a proper digital marketer.
Because the overarching aim of any brand's digital marketing strategy is not to post witty creatives but to engage in proper content marketing instead. You should not alternate your digital efforts between endlessly talking about your products and trying to go viral with cheeky memes. A digital brand is supposed to talk about customers and their needs. It is supposed to spend time trying to inform, educate and engage online customers. That forms the heart of content marketing in today's digital marketing landscape.
Content marketing is about creating and sharing content that can educate and enlighten customers. It is a long-term strategy of delivering high-quality content to customers consistently, which can help them solve their everyday challenges. In a world where brands keep talking just about themselves all the time, content marketing helps you show to your customers that you care about them and their pain points instead.
Content marketing can also be about great entertainment. One of the best local brands I can think of in this regard is Tasty Treat. Their YouTube channel is quite popular because it releases short films featuring renowned actors consistently. These 10-minute films do not talk about the brand at all. Some of these films are romantic, some are comedy. But the recurring theme is that, at some point in the film, the protagonists will dine inside a Tasty Treat outlet and carry out their conversations. It is subtle and not at all intrusive, but it is a brilliant way to incorporate their brand into a short movie. And best of all, the audience overwhelmingly enjoys the films. Many of the videos have 1-1.5 million views, so you realize how popular they are. Rather than trying to create one viral witty post on their Facebook page once a year, Tasty Treat is keeping its customers thoroughly entertained throughout the year through their brilliant content marketing strategy.
In conclusion, today's digital marketers must think beyond the allure of a viral Facebook post to create meaningful online engagement. If George's Café is any indication, simply producing funny creatives will not help you stay in business. To stand out from the noise, you need to deliver real value consistently to your customers. And that is what content marketing is all about.
Muhammed Asif Khan is CEO of Alpha Catering