What makes digital marketing wow-worthy? Exceptional branded moments that remind us what great marketing is all about. These moments inspire and delight. They surprise us with their timing, with their wit, with their heart. They remind us that, at the end of the day, all things aren’t exactly equal. They remind us that the Internet isn’t just one giant commodity exchange. That our loyalty and advocacy can still be earned with a creative flourish or a thoughtful gesture.
But before you can deliver wow-worthy moments you need to deliver on your brand’s basic promise. That’s nothing more than the table stakes to enter the game. If you can’t live up to your claims—if you can’t meet basic expectations—you really have no business spending a nickel on marketing. Why? Because each moment of truth will only yield disappointment—and disappointment spreads faster and further than delight.
When you can’t deliver on your promise, marketing can only hurt you.
But once you’ve cleared this threshold, these wow-worthy moments give you the branded edge, that minor advantage in the face of abundant alternatives.
What exactly is wow-worthy? Here are six patterns to consider:
- Situational—keeping an ear to the ground for the breaking moments that are worthy of reception and interception. Here, the goal is to demonstrate that you’re listening, that you care. The goal is to use data-driven techniques to capture lightning in a bottle. But be sure your response is consistent with your brand’s voice and values and timed and targeted appropriately. Otherwise, it’ll look tacky—or, worse, creepy.
- Human—revealing the man behind the curtain can help humanize a brand, particularly one that’s lost its humanity through years of growth. Over time, bureaucracy can form like layers of sediment, hiding the soul of a brand behind a thick veneer of formal, faceless process. Recall what made the brand successful in the first place and be that, again, with a modern twist.
- Transparent—in theater, breaking through the fourth wall suggests suspending the performance in progress to address the audience directly. Looking for moments to break character, to—as Ted Rubin likes to say
“make digital eye contact”“look people in the eye digitally”—is a reminder that you recognize that, despite the silly corporate façade, this is still an exchange between human beings. Even poke fun at it. Transparency is the first rule of trust and being open with your audience will make your brand more trustworthy.
- Inspirational—stand for something, have a point of view. Don’t sell your brand, sell your beliefs. The strongest brand relationships are founded on shared passion. How do you find your point of view? Start with your audience. What’s at stake at the intersection of your brand and their lives?
- Aspirational—speak to a desired future state. Show audiences what they can become, reveal their true potential. Better still: show them how to get there. Do this well and they’ll surely follow you.
- Funny—in this pressure-cooker age of overscheduled and always on, everyone needs small moments of relief, interstitial holidays from these more pressing realities. Find moments to make your audience laugh. It’s a gift they’ll appreciate—and likely remember.
The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.