Thinking Social / Value

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Yes, it’s a bandwagon. Hop on carefully. #Hadouken

It’s a chilly Friday morning in Washington, D.C. and the Social@Ogilvy team is ready for the weekend.  The head of Social@Ogilvy DC is out of the office, and we’ve all been reading about the “next-big-thing” — at least according to Mashable and BuzzFeed.

It’s called Hadouken. Some expect it will be the next Harlem Shake, and our team had to be part of it.

After a quick stroll to DuPont Circle and no shortage of puzzled looks from strangers as our group COO sent imaginary shock waves through the team, we got the perfect shot.

So, why bother?

When done well, a brand’s participation and contribution to a meme has the potential to invite its target audience to participate, share, and comment.

Our colleague Geoffrey Colon recently made the argument that memes like Harlem Shake and now Hadouken represent a sort of disruptive innovation in the marketplace that brands should be watching closely. Geoffrey explained that people are quick to participate in the fun when they’re able to put a personal spin on it.

For the Social@Ogilvy team in The District, creating a version of the new meme was a fun way to be in-tune with pop culture while staying true to the creative Ogilvy brand. We also brought along a few fun props (can you spot the shark?) to make it unique to our office.

When it comes to client work, we often have conversations about this sort of thing: how to stay committed to established brand values, but also be able to create engaging content and be part of the conversation online. John Bell, Social@Ogilvy’s Global Managing Director wrote recently that, to some extent, memes like this resemble social “movements.” It is no surprise that many brands would love to be involved in something that may be considered a movement.

But, movements and online fads have the potential to quickly turn into crisis situations and deciding whether to participate or even lead a movement can be tricky.

Brands can start by asking a few questions:

1. Does this reach and interest our target audience(s)?

2. Does this hurt or help our public image?

3. What are the potential dangers of joining this conversation (i.e. can our participation be misconstrued)?

4. How does joining this conversation lend itself to our broad engagement strategy online?

5. Can we do this well, and quickly enough so that our participation can lead the adoption of the meme?

That list may be longer for some brands and the answers may lead to not participating in some things.  But other brands may quickly see that having a little fun and partaking in the latest, greatest meme may make perfect sense.

Bandwagons exist to be ridden, and there’s always a new one around the corner. So find the one that’s right for your brand, and hop on.