It goes by the names of “trendjacking”, “trendsetting”, “moment marketing”, and more, but agility has become more than just latching on to social trends to come up with witty brand posts. For many brands, it’s a way of life and a great way to engage with its audience.

So how exactly does agility work? Commune’s Ros Juan, Angkas’ George Royeca, MullenLowe Philippines’ Raffy Bariso, and Gigil’s Jeano Cruz told us how during the IMMAP’s 7th General Membership Meeting.

“Agility is a combination of processes, shifts in mindsets, even talent and client and agency relationships,” said Bariso. Both client and agency must be both willing to invest time and effort, and be willing to these trends head on, added Cruz.

“It’s not simply being reactive. It’s knowing that your brand can keep its ear on the ground and ride on the wave of a current event,” Juan said.

For Royeca and Angkas, agile content is a way to humanize the brand and engage the audience “like they were our barkada.” “You wanna talk about something else rather than your business or your product that will allow you to connect with them,” he added.

While agility is having the ability to quickly identify and create content riding on trending topics on social, it is also having to develop certain qualities and practices that can make brands engaging and authentic with its audience on social.

Agility is having flexibility with brand tone, what the brand can say, what it can’t, and which moments it can or should not identify with. “It’s having that discussion with the client of how much can you approve or not approve. It’s really flexibility,” added Juan.

As speed and flexibility are essential, both brand and agency must be able to agree on guidelines that can make the process faster. This is where investment in the process comes in, according to Cruz. Both brand and agency must first take the time to know their strengths and then put in time to quickly produce, give feedback, and approve content.

It also takes an innovative mindset and bravery to be agile. Royeca’s Angkas social media team has been known to come up with funny, witty, sometimes crass, but highly engaging content that especially connects with their audience and customers. “I don’t curtail that [content]. If you curtail that innovation, the next time, may kaba na ‘yan sa dibdib,” he explained.

However, he warned against being trigger happy and going against what a brand stands for. “There are guidelines that we need to set. You learn along the way. And your social media team needs to know that they’re not always going to get it right, but if you don’t get it right, you’re not gonna get fired. Unless you really, really, really didn’t get it right,” he enthused.

The way to go, according to Royeca, is to have a middle ground where the brand is agile and flexible enough to respond and engage with the audience while protecting the quality of the service or product. “In Angkas, we have gutter humor, but we don’t fear it diminishes our product. There’s a holy trinity for us: we have social media where we engage with our audience; we have our marketing where we market our quality, our drivers, our service; and we have the really serious stuff which is regulatory. No matter how much ‘belat’ or ‘pangit’ we call our audience, it doesn’t really alter the two other serious sides,” he explained.

Bariso summed it up saying that all of these efforts on putting out agile must contribute to giving the customer a more pleasant experience with the brand in total.

Yet, learning how to be agile is really in practicing it. The panel gave samples of their favorite famous and infamous agile content from brands.

Juan recalled Grab’s recent gaffe with its Bea Alonzo-Gerald Anderson-Julia Barretto post. “Akala ni Grab Angkas siya by being irreverent in the post,” she said, referencing Angkas’ famed brand of humor. “Tamang-tama when I checked Angkas, they have responded already. Grab grabbed that moment to be first. But you have a chance to be a very good second if you react in the right way to the first,” she said.

“We grabbed Grab’s moment. We latched on to what they said and that became the moment. Nobody wasn’t talking about Gerald Anderson anymore. They were talking about Grab and what Angkas responded,” Royeca added.

Royeca also cited Angkas’ banter with online news publisher Rappler when the latter reported the court decision to allow the motorcycle-hailing service to continue operations ahead of the brand itself. “There was a big conversation between Rappler and Angkas on Twitter, and everybody thought it was pretty cool because this news organization got really humanized and they started having a tit for tat,” he said.

Bariso’s example was their efforts for 7-11 during the elections. The GULPihan content-turned promo came from a trending “suntukan sa Ace Hardware” event page put up by some enterprising people on social. As engagements soared on social, 7-11 decided to offer freebies and discounts to voters showing their indelible inked fingers.

For Cruz, Muji’s P345 tabo post was the perfect opportunity for their client, Orocan, to jump in on the conversation. “Muji went with a P345 tabo — ang mahal! We realized we had Orocan stuff in the office at sila yung legit OG Pinoy tabo. So we responded na sige, magkano lang ba tayo? P34 lang so ito, kapag binili mo, may P300 pa kasama sa tabo. We were lucky because the client was so willing,” he shared.

With all the funny and witty content capturing the laughs and hearts of social media, there were those that really missed the mark.

Royeca’s team at Angkas learned it the hard way. After coming out with a highly sexual post, lots of people on social have called out Angkas on going too far. That’s when Royeca and his team realised that the post was inherently wrong, and they apologized. After building a strong relationship with their audience through all the times they were shut down, Angkas knew they had a responsibility to their customers.

“Because we have a deep relationship with our audience, they allow us to make mistakes. And when we apologize, there are no fanfare, no pretensions. We just said, ‘it’s wrong, we’re sorry.’ And it was a real sorry,” he said. “When you become very famous, you also have some responsibility. There are kids who see our content. You have to be a little more discerning in how you communicate,” he added.

At the end of the discussion, the panelists stressed the importance of knowing the strengths and values of the brand, having a discussion between client and agency, and the flexibility of the brand to be able to be truly agile — and to be able to come up with content that will truly engage the audience.

Cruz summed it up saying that the most failed cases of agile content is not just getting a negative response, it’s getting a cold swipe up. “Hindi sila magre-react. Hindi nila ibibigay sa’yo yung right na ‘yon.”

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