Committing Sharknado

Okay, sure I admit it. I added the “Sharknado” name to my column purely for the shock value and hope of trolling for clicks. However, unless you have been buried in scandals du-jour emanating from politicians far and wide you have no doubt heard a little something about “Sharknado.”

This phenomenon that exploded across social media in mid-July over a few days proved once again that Professor Harold Hill’s “(Ya Got) Trouble” theory was correct; “We’ve got trouble …”  (Yeah, go look that up if you are under 40).

For a movie that was so bad it was funny, the marketers and producers smartly knew they had to have a gimmick to get any sort of attention at all. The proliferation and domination of “#Sharknado” peppered every Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram account like thunderstorms  in Florida. You couldn’t get away from it; even if you knew nothing about the career-ending flick for a few ’90’s D-listers, you had to be attracted to the hot new buzzword about a killer new weather term.

So when launching your own new product or service that perhaps needs a little “attention” from a sleepy and highly distracted public, how can you borrow a little sizzle from the most ingenious gimmick of the year? Specifically, for your CRM strategies, try these ways to “communicate” a new product or change in service or some other “need to know” to your customer base.

1. Figure out a strategy that works for your brand’s personality. In essence, if your brand is a men’s clothing store whose tone is typically not funny or known for being humorous, perhaps now is not the time to create #FatGuyInALittleCoat. However, perhaps making every Saturday #SportcoatSaturday and being consistent with that will bring some attention and hashtag trending your way. Keep the hashtag on email, direct, web and other areas besides social for consistency.

2. Timeliness is godliness. Having a sharp, close eye on headlines, current events and social sentiments before you launch your CRM Sharknado is imperative. Consider the communications company that launched a very prolific social media video, hashtag and ad campaign about privacy the day after a prominent national story in the media accused the same company of misdirecting a database -- opening to hackers exposing millions of customers. Do yourself a favor and “look both ways” before crossing into this CRM Sharknado; just in case.

3. Make it memorable to Photoshop away the product blemishes. So read the between the lines; if the product sucks or will be a total dud -- at least make the marketing and CRM efforts memorable enough to “soften” the harsh lines of the launch. Let’s be honest, while “Sharknado” was an awful movie (the editing alone was a travesty unless you consider a scene showing rain outside the window and the cutaway showing sunshine out the very same window to be top-shelf efforts) you have to admit you kept watching; and so did many others. The Sci-Fi channel even admitted that the third showing of the movie got its best ratings overall. Moral of the story: the product was awful, but the marketing we remember. 

4. There is a difference between unique and cheesy. It goes without saying, the truly unique home runs in marketing and CRM efforts are few and far between but when it hits, it hits. Likewise when you try to be too clever, too predictable and basically try too hard, it shows. If you are considering the CRM Sharknado campaign ask yourself the obvious; “Would you pay attention to this campaign?”

Like anything else, it’s a gamble; you have to run it up the flag pole and see who salutes. However, the problem with frontierism is that you can also be standing out there in your newly discovered land all by yourself. (Just you and your database…)

In the case of “Sharknado,” I guess now is as good a time as any to mention that there is indeed a sequel coming and already being cast. I am thinking “Sharknado vs. Godzilla – The Ultimate Showdown” creating the hashtag: #ItBites.

1 comment about "Committing Sharknado ".
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  1. Scott Schafebook from Twelvefold, August 20, 2013 at 1:44 p.m.

    Yep - I clicked on this because of "sharknado" :)

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