How brands can be topical without f*cking it up

Brands are keen to be culturally relevant on social media but it requires a deep understanding of who you are and what interests your audience. CR explores how to get the balance right

The way we use social media has changed so much that it’s meant that brands have also had to shift and adapt to ensure they’re reaching the same spaces their customers are in. Previously social media used to just be another platform to talk about your products and promotions, but now brands are having to use their channels to create dialogue and community.

This has led to an influx of approaches that are typically variations of meme marketing, moment or topical marketing, and community engagement where brands create content that comments on topical events and happenings to engage with followers – the result, in theory, to appear more human and boost brand awareness. It is a risky strategy – while some brands have seen success, others have fallen flat, either misjudging the tone, their audience, or what they should be even commenting on.

Here, CR speaks to three experts about the dos and don’ts, and asks how brands can be topical without getting themselves cancelled.