Eugene vs Steve: What Social Media Managers Can Learn From These Two Campaigns.

Creating a fictitious character to enhance your brand, carry your message and provide your audience with something or someone they can relate to is an exciting and creative way to get your message across. But what happens when we lose sight of how people view our brand or company?

This was exactly what happened to First National Bank. How does a company change their positive marketing approach from “How can we help you” to “Don’t be a Steve” or “does [Beep] Bank offer you all of this?” I believe that these campaigns will do more harm than good in the long-term.

Talking down other banks has never been the best way to market your products or brand and I don’t see that changing, ever!

So what about Nedbank’s Eugene?

It seems like Nedbank had a look at what FNB did, made a list of all the negatives, and created the Eugene campaign avoiding all the negative traps other competitors fell into.

The Eugene campaign is funny, quirky and positive, showing a brand that cares and strives to help their clients manage their money better through the Nedbank’s innovations. It is impossible for viewers not to relate to Eugene.

Why do we like Eugene?

  1. He connects with us on a personal level that we can relate to -we all want to buy things we can’t really afford;
  2. He is always positive, not pointing fingers at [Beep] Bank;
  3. He asks questions we want the answers to- who doesn’t want help being more “Savvy” with their money?;
  4. He doesn’t give way prizes or phones etc., his concern is banking; and

Most importantly:

  1. Eugene (Nedbank) does not avoid addressing the tough challenges or pretend they don’t exist. “He” acknowledges them; however, the message delivered from this campaign is optimistic and it resonates the spirit of a “New South Africa”.

How can we apply this to Social media?

  1. Personalise your messages. This is a great way to get people to interact.
  2. Don’t step on people’s toes. Remember when you personalise something, people will listen and respond. Be aware of common social media traps, especially if you are trying to be funny. There really are quite a few Steves out there.
  3. Be positive. Facebook and Twitter aren’t like radios; people can respond on social media, therefore, don’t attract negative people to your website.
  4. Keep true to your brand. The “oompie” helping the young lad kick straight is still well embedded into millions of South African memory, just to be replaced by Steve? I’m sorry; I don’t think Steve was worth it.
  5. Be different. To stand out in the crowd, you need to do something different; Eugene & Steve did this and managed to capture the attention of South African.
  6. Keep your environment in mind. South Africa has been going through some tough times with Eskom struggling to keep the lights on, “recession” being the buzz word in South African Economy and, on top of all that, political issues.  How do we address these issues?
  7. Post with great care and understanding.
  8. If you are not sure, get a second and even third opinion.
  9. If your idea is funny, ask why. You need to keep our diverse country and their views in mind.
  10. Be a part of the solution. Just laughing and pointing fingers won’t help. The business you represent is a part of this country and needs it to work, act like it!
  11. Don’t be a “fake”. Luring people with prizes and gadgets, etc. will not buy trust. Long-term trust is earned, just ask Coronation.