Buzz Marketing

What is buzz marketing and how can you do it well?

You may have heard the saying “it’s creating a lot of buzz right now” where a new trend or film appears that is building up quite a lot of reaction. For any marketing campaign, companies yearn for this type of hype and now we have a new strand in the world of marketing with buzz marketing. Today, the word on the street is a new marketing strategy and if you ever catch yourself passing on praise or asking ‘hey, did you hear about…?’, you’ll be acting as a marketer without realising it.

To update us on this hot marketing trend, Amy Stenson, social media manager at The Audit Lab, tells us everything we need to know.

What exactly is buzz marketing?

Buzz marketing comes from a form of viral marketing, whereby the promotion happens when a message is spread via social media or by word-of-mouth at a very quick rate in a short, current space of time. Hence the phrase ‘it’s gone viral’. Often the message or content is powerful or amusing, one that evokes strong emotions. It’s a brilliant way of spreading a message, campaign or video as to create that ‘buzz’, you’re not paying each sharer, you’re simply just impressing them enough to organically pass on your content or brand message.

Buzz marketing statistics

  • 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising
  • 88% of people trust online reviews written by consumers as much as they trust referrals from personal contacts
  • 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
  • Researchers found that a 10% increase in a word-of-mouth translated into sales lifts between 0.2 – 1.5%
  • 71% of people are more likely to buy when referred to by social media (HubSpot)
  • 43% of social media users report buying a product after sharing, favouriting on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest (VisionCritical)
  • Word-of-mouth has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54% (MarketShare)

Top buzz marketing examples

In order to create a successful buzz marketing campaign, you need to factor in these key examples and decide which route is going to work best for your brand, message, product or service. Many companies have created a buzz in very different ways and here are our top picks on the ones that have achieved proven results.

Creating a viral video

There could be many successful viral videos to choose from but there’s no better example than the famously competitive slot for the Christmas advert of the year. Companies, especially supermarkets, compete every year for the best viral festive video, often trying to stir up emotions from leaving you in tears to then have a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Example: Sainsbury’s 2014 Christmas advert which was set during Christmas 1914 depicting the true story of the First World War truce when British and German soldiers decided to exchange gifts and play football, marking the centenary of the First World War. Causing some controversy with critics calling it distasteful and exploitative, YouTube ranked the video as the highest viewed Christmas advert of that year in the UK with positive reactions from The Royal British Legion with Sainsbury’s helping donate around £500k to the Legion.

Using influencers

 Another way of using buzz marketing is by using ‘influencers’. This is where a brand will start off by giving their products, for example, to people who have many followers and who suit their brand. So for instance, a well-known fitness blogger or celebrity may be contacted by a healthy foods brand to be given a product for them to try out and shout out about to their thousands or millions of followers. Soon the buzz begins!

Example: Sun Peaks, a ski resort in British Columbia wanted to increase brand awareness of their top winter attractions and to show off the region’s stunning natural beauty. A campaign was designed by Travel Mindset to target adventure-goers in the Pacific Northwest by using one of Canada’s top adventure photographers and Instagram influencers, Callum Snape (@CalSnape). Combined with daily Instagram stories, short Facebook videos and breathtaking images, the influencer campaign drove 200,000+ article views, creating a massive spike in interest for the company’s target market.  

Creating something funny

This could be an original meme or picture, a question or commentary nobody has thought of before.

Example: Thinking outside the box, when KFC had a disaster of running out of chicken at the beginning of 2018, (after changing its supplier) the company decided to take out a full-page apology in some newspapers. Along with the apology, they put a cleverly, funny image of a KFC bucket with the letters rearranged to ‘FCK’ to imply an expletive you would make if you did indeed make a huge cock-up! This advert went viral on social media, which proved that PR disasters can be remedied and a lot of things can be healed with laughter.

Going controversial

With buzz marketing, one of the best ways to get people talking is to open up a divisive topic, but if a brand wants to comment on something controversial, they need to think very carefully about how they want to portray themselves. Nevertheless, if a company can stand by their message and makes headline news, this can create great awareness.

Example: One great example of this is when Gillette created an advert to flip their slogan from ‘the best a man can get’ to ‘the best a man can be’. The video commented on the theme of ‘toxic masculinity’ and received a lot of criticism for attacking men. Unsurprisingly, this caused a lot of debates with it making article headlines and garnering huge attention on Good Morning Britain with a few voices, including Piers Morgan criticising Gillette’s take on how men should be. However, many praised the advert as they saw it as opposing bad habits and celebrating what men can be, with ‘positive masculinity’. The advert immediately went viral, gaining over 30 million views and despite the backlash, data has shown that it had a great impact on appealing to a wider market, including women. Which, if you think of consumer trends and how women dominate consumer markets, this is quite an outcome as women may show more preference to this brand when buying for the men in their life.

Sending out a powerful message

Depending on the current climate, you may wish to pitch in and make a serious statement. This can overlap with controversy or depending on how confident you are with the message, it may simply just be a positive, thought-provoking message worth sharing.

Example: Over the first ten years of Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, sales for the soap company jumped from $2.5 to $4 billion and PR Week anointed it as the Best U.S. Campaign of the Past 20 Years. The campaign quickly became more than just a promotional advert for soap; it’s now a social movement aimed at making women worldwide feel better about themselves, and celebrating diversity in beauty and self-esteem. Videos online created a powerful and positive buzz to cut through the noise of overly Photoshopped and unrealistic beauty standards. 

Using FOMO (fear of missing out)

Nobody likes to miss out hence the trendy term ‘FOMO’, and from it appears another clever buzz marketing example; using a secret. Rather than putting everything out there, you may wish to share sneak peeks, previews and teasers to entice your audience.

Example: The best examples of this type of buzz marketing is when artists have an upcoming album or tour and they want to create a buzz for it by ‘leaking’ or showing teasers. Take Adele for instance, who didn’t believe in social media and wanted to make her new music release ‘an event’. During one of The X Factor’s ad breaks, some lyrics on a black screen appeared (in Adele’s branding) along with Adele’s iconic voice with no other information, just a 30-second teaser of one of her new songs ‘Hello’. Without her even having to announce online, everybody was doing it for her and created the hype of what was to come as it was unexpected and exciting, leaving you wanting more.

A final ‘buzz marketing’ example is the unintentional one! Often the viral hits are the ones that are accidental. Take this BBC interview for example where an unexpected guest appears… Even though this wasn’t in their plans, BBC has managed to make their brand and message on news about South Korea with Professor Robert Kelly travel worldwide with a little help of impromptu toddler humour. The video has racked up over 34 million views with even a follow-up interview with the professor, his wife and children garnering over 10 million views! So, maybe it’s something to think about; having the camera ready to capture those spontaneous moments that could go viral.

How To Do Buzz Marketing

My Random Musings

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: