All companies dream of having a viral moment- after all, it can take them from relative obscurity to the national spotlight. But what happens when that viral moment is unplanned, and occurs in a matter of hours?
Last week, Washington D.C.-based pizza chain &Pizza found themselves in this exact position. A CBS News crew filming in the U.S. Capitol accidentally caught an unaware Georgetown University student digging into their pizza in the background of a shot. However, instead of panicking &Pizza took the opportunity and ran with it, leveraging their brand effectively and providing a great example of a rapid response. Here are three ways for you to do the same:
Monitor Social Media- Viral moments start innocuously, but grow rapidly. Keep your finger on the pulse by monitoring social media for any mentions of your brand. &Pizza’s distinct rectangle-shaped box was a dead giveaway, and many loyal customers began flooding their social media with the video. Luckily, employees were on hand to grab this attention and run with it.
Act Quickly- The best way to take advantage of a viral moment is to get in on the conversation early. Social media proliferates at an incredibly rapid pace, so the sooner you can get your two cents in, the more likely people are to comment off of it. And speaking of two cents, the more you can show off your brand’s personality, the better. Not only did &Pizza respond to the moment on Twitter in a humorous way, they went beyond that and created the “Hallway Pizza” based off of their new social media star’s order. This effectively set them up to convert online traffic into in-store purchases.
Be Prepared- Often times, social interactions can get bogged down in the corporate ladder of approval. Make sure you have the authority to act on your company’s behalf, so you don’t miss a fantastic, home run PR opportunity. &Pizza’s ability to perfectly capitalize on the occasion landed them in The Washington Post, People Magazine, Business Insider, and on The Today Show being re-enacted by none other than Al Roker- all because of a well-timed tweet! They also received the coveted blue checkmark of Twitter authenticity as a result.
As for how the Hallway Pizza Guy, who’s now a meme, faired? He was offered a summer internship at CBS News. Three cheers for the power of the Internet!
In all seriousness- how many times are situations like this handed to us in the PR world? Don’t squander your good fortune, and make sure you’re set up for success the next time your company is the lucky recipient of a golden marketing opportunity. Now who wants pizza?