Three years of a social media Sensation
Sensation is a well-known CSD brand in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since its launch in 2008, it has become a staple in nearly every bar and retailer’s selection. After over a decade and several rebrandings, Sensation’s image had changed, prompting the need for a fresh approach. Our client approached us and said: “We have new packaging, a new TVC, and we want to take this communication together with you to social media, connect with our target audience, and tell them this is the new Sensation. We want it to be a synonym for fun.”
- Social Media
- Tik Tok Strategy
After a thorough research that included not only looking into what Sensation has done so far on and off digital, but also in what context it was mentioned on various social media, including Reddit and Twitter, we focused on studying our target audience — Gen Z. To portray Sensation as authentic, fun and as one of them, we needed a complete understanding of their communication style, the language they use, shows they watch, and music they listen to. Their culture had to become Sensation’s culture. Having a few Gen Z team members helped too!
In the midst of all that, we realized that targeting Gen Z was not groundbreaking, but the thing is — many brands want to win them over yet no one is willing to adapt to them. While “Zadruga”, a Serbian reality show, topped Google searches in 2020 in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, no one was referencing it. The same goes with other aspects that brands back then refused to acknowledge, such as turbo folk music because it is considered distasteful, and Eurovision, because it is considered trashy while still remaining a guilty pleasure for millions to this day. We decided to cover all of these for a few simple reasons — they are out there, relatable, often considered a taboo in our culture, and brands seem to ignore them. But for Sensation to be authentic, it had to be realistic and break conventional molds.
These insights helped us in defining the key elements of tone of voice. It had to be bold and cheeky but never brash, relaxed but not sloppy, and fun but never tasteless. This was to be reflected in our copy and visuals but more importantly — in our community management, that is in our interactions with fans (and haters).
When the time to tell our audience about Sensation’s new packaging came, we decided to be quite literal about it and 100% honest. Because, let us be real — we are faced with masked and insincere ads across all possible platforms, so seeing a brand saying: “Hey, we got a new packaging. We worked really hard on it and, even though we know some of you really liked the old one, we want everyone to know this.” — really struck a chord with users, brought attention to the brand, and gave it a fresh image.
Niche is the way to go
Mass communication may have worked in the past, and may still work for mainstream brands or TV, but in today’s social media communities have evolved past it. It is impossible to cover all trending pop topics, so our goal was simple — we needed to find our communities within Gen Z and approach them by fully understanding their culture. We focused (and adapted through time) on subjects such as Eurovision, Taylor Swift, reality shows, 90s and early 2000s pop music, and internet culture. These areas, often overlooked by brands, became our expertise. In turn, our audience felt seen and appreciated, so they gave back by actively interacting with and sharing our posts.
See users as brand friends, not just social media profiles
Naturally, if we wanted Sensation to feel like a member of our target audience, like someone who talks with them instead of to them, we had to treat them like our friends. This meant remembering the names and interactions we had with users, referencing them, using them in our content, and nurturing meaningful connections. There have been users following Sensation since day one up until today and it was up to us to remember them and get to know them. It was not an easy task but one that pays off in the long run!
If you have an online presence, there is a big chance you have at least one hater. And that is okay because not everyone will resonate with you or your brand. We quickly realized there was no point in arguing with them or deleting their comments (fun fact: Sensation never hid a comment criticizing it, unless it had elements of hate speech toward someone else). Instead, we accepted them and responded like we would in real life. Surprisingly, we soon gained respect even from the most hardcore haters!
Boldness pays off
If you want to stand out, you need to be bold. When aiming for exposure and wanting everyone to know your brand’s new look and mindset, there is no better way to approach it than by making courageous choices. For Sensation, this meant referencing turbo folk and reality shows, while also being cheeky in the comment section. In return, we got increased reach, reputation, and more fans.
And all that effort translated into bomb numbers. Take a look!